As new technologies are used
to boost performance, measure outcomes and control the proper execution of company processes, how can humans find a sense of meaning in their work? Does the automation of the workplace signal the end of the dominance of human intelligence, which will now play second fiddle to pure analytical thinking?
This outcome is far from sure; despite our imperfections and limited cognitive abilities, human beings remain the primary strategic asset for companies.
Gentle dreamer, inveterate idealistic, rebel… being called a “poet” is seldom a compliment in the world of business. And yet, today the art of playing with words to elicit emotions is being carved out a place in the conformist corporate world. In fact, two parallel trends are emerging.
The first involves the use of poetry as a defense against dehumanization. This is the hobby-horse of the English poet David Whyte , who is breathing lyricism into leading companies as a way of stimulating employee creativity and empathy. A similar approach has been adopted by Vincent Avanzi , a chief poetic officer in France, who sees verse as a tool for promoting cohesion and commitment to a shared vision.
Paradoxically, a way with words is also being devoted to the humanization of… machines, especially chatbots and other virtual assistants. In addition to the countless engineers working on conversational algorithms for Cortana, Siri or Google Now, there are also entire teams of wordsmiths — poets, authors and scriptwriters. Their mission is to raise the language skills used in artificial intelligence to make it more acceptable to humans.
The road, however, is still long: if you ask Siri to recite a poem, the reply today is: “Don’t you have anything better to do?”
Read the full 3-part feature: “What does human vs. machine intelligence mean for work?” with:
- Interview with Chad Wan, HR manager at BBK Electronics :
“BBK Electronics: putting humans first”
- Step-by-step guide:
“How to encourage human values in your team”