People and Technology – To what extent is integration too far?

We’re here, but it is high time to move the focus from technology as a field to the spectrum of human beings and society. How should we change people to transform technology and how can technology advance us towards a better society? We urge a focus change.

Today, we live in a thinking developed in an industrial society for 200 years. That thinking has, to some extent, changed over the last 20 years with the technological developments that have taken place. But for the next 20 years, we will have to adapt to what the research reports now point to, mainly which refers to the fact that a plethora of different jobs will be replaced by digital and automated techniques. Are we really this exchangeable?

The upcoming technology will create new advanced jobs. There will be completely new demands on our education systems. The Foundation for Strategic Research, SSF believes that more than every other job will be lost within two decades in countries like Sweden. It is somewhat simplified that professions that require creativity and human interaction will remain, while employment in other professions over time will decrease sharply. The question is whether we will get along with people.

Already today we see examples of technology developed in a way that does not *cough* end us fully. As both the supply and complexity of technology have become more extensive, it is significantly harder to succeed with today’s investment than it was a few decades ago when the bulk of our current welfare and infrastructure was built up. In order to succeed in investing today and in the future, we need to be better at integrating different technology components with each other and with the business it is intended to benefit. Significant preparation and analysis is needed.

There is no shortage of development capital, innovations or a range of technical tools and solutions. We have fossil-free cars, ethanol plants and wind turbines. But it takes more to get all these technical puzzles together. Integration is the next major development step, and it concerns both human-human and human-machine. Advanced technology costs and we underestimate the introduction of advanced systems. We tend to only count the cost of the various technical pieces of puzzles and forget about the integration. I’m not referring to the recent steps in Sweden where passports are being switched over to microchips, that has already caused a global backlash and many Swedes themselves are questioning the dystopian nature of such a drastic change which mirrors something out of a Black Mirror episode, not something you’d expect from Sweden to say the least. 

Phase 1 is to find the technology, and there we already are, though, of course, the technology will continue to evolve. Phase 2 is more complicated – the introduction of technology; integration. Phase 3 is critical and it is the acceptance and to have all this new technology bring value to society as well as accepting that there are new game rules that apply which require other strategies. This places demands on everyone, but in particular is the courage and foresight required by our decision makers. Basically, development is about producing more with less resources, whether resources are minerals, energy or working hours.

If we are not going to be hands-on in 20 years, then we need to find a way to reward technology, simply a few returns that will benefit all. It is not enough to buy a technical solution. The ability to integrate different technology parts and functions into a whole must exist. Decision-makers must see the whole of society and think outside the box. If the mandate to work with the whole is not within your own organization, initiatives must be taken for cooperation with other organizations. Do not wait for someone else to take this initiative.

Evolvera – always changing, always evolving.

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