People, the Ultimate Technology
The essential technology for the new millennium
is the most complex technology ever conceived. It is not Windows
or Unix, or the internet, or a programming language, or some
type of artificial intelligence. It is people.
If you are a technology junkie, you may laugh,
but consult anyone involved in the robotics industry and they
will assure you that the cost and complexity of emulating just
10 percent of the capabilities of the human finger are astronomical
and that such emulation may be physically impossible. And thus
the questions beg to be asked: Are we futilely attempting to
replace human beings with an inferior technology? Can a creator
imbue greater capability into a creation than he possesses himself?
I propose that our primary role as technology creators
is not to recreate or replace the human being, however challenging
that task may be, but to offer tools that optimize this already
marvelous creation. I propose, perhaps contemptibly, that man
must not become the slave of his own creation.
While business is transacted with a user interface,
business is conducted with a human interface. Business is conducted
between two people or two organizations of people because you
have a relationship with that other person or organi&SHY;zation.
You cannot conduct business with a computer, because a computer
is not a legal entity nor is it a living entity. The computer
may assist you in transacting business, but it cannot conduct
business unto itself The classic and enduring sign of business
being conducted successfully is the handshake, not an email or
a fax. The transactions that follow the handshake can take any
form required, but you need the human interaction first.
It is ironic that the primary reason that the internet
has exploded has not been e’commerce or the ability to buy or
sell anything on the internet, but rather that people can communicate
by sending email or chaffing online. As I recall, Hollywood made
a movie named You’ve Got Mail, not Your Order Has Shipped.
Technology has not changed or reduced the need to communicate,
it has simply provided alternative methods to do so.
Businesses that succeed in the new millennium will
be those that avoid technology backlash and employ their human
resources in the most cost effective and customer interactive
manner That means always using the talent and creativity of
the human person whenever applicable and using technology to
optimize the human person not to supercede them.
Any company can throw technology at a business
problem. However, successful companies will provide a combined
technological/human interfaced solution that treats the customer
as a person and not as a number. Let me put is more plainly.
The company with the best human interface wins. If you can make
the human interface better with technology, great. Otherwise,
your technology is failing.
To close, I would like to add a final thought.
The creative reality for a technology company is not often the
rush it is proposed to be. The reality of the chip manufacturer
is a stale clean room with nearly total sensory deprivation.
The reality of the programmer is life in front of a phosphorescent
piece of glass, plastic keys, and an artificial mouse. The reality
of the cell phone manufacturer is an endless rack of circuit
boards to be assembled into an endless line of plastic cases.
Ironically, in the ultimate form of creation, where human begets
human (the pinnacle of technology), we have pleasure, not with
sensory deprivation, but with sensory exhilara&SHY;tion. I ask
again, Can a creator imbue greater capability into a creation
than he possesses himself?
Contact Jim Witschger; CEO of Technical Djfference,
Reprinted from the January 2000 issue of SOFTWARE