Leadership In A Technologically Advancing World

There is rapid advancement and evolution of technology. Kevin Kelly’s (2016) TED talk points to and predicts technological movements in the future. Kelly (2016) sees “Cognifying” – the quest to make things smarter through Artificial Intelligence or A1 – as one of the major trends at present and in the next 20 years. He believes that this trend will lead to the next Industrial Revolution. Weinberger (2011) suggests building infrastructures of knowledge based on his analysis of the Internet and technological trends. My hunch is that it is very difficult to predict how technological trends will ultimately evolve. We can have ideas as Kevin Kelly explains (see Schmitt, n.d.) but it is difficult to know or predict how these trends will evolve accurately. We have not been successful at this in the past when the trends were not that many, it will be difficult as well now. The possibilities are humongous. Currently, the Millennials are determining a lot of trends in technology. 20 years from now, there will be others after them whose choices and preferences and cultures may be different from those of the Millennials and we are not really sure what their thrust would be, no matter how we try to predict.

Leadership in a technologically advancing world where technological change is so rapid that it is difficult to accurately predict the trends and necessary skills requires us to be persons who are constantly learning. This, I believe, is a very important leadership skill needed in such a world. This is described by what Kevin Kelly calls “Becoming” (Schmitt, n.d.).
Similarly, Weinberger (2011) explains that to reap the benefits of the Internet more fully, we have to ensure that we educate everyone so as to equip all – irrespective of class, social relationships, etc – to make them more able to be ready for the changes that the mega trends (Schmitt, n.d.) will evolve into.

Closely related to the ability or capacity of on-going learning (and the capacity of one’s organization is structured in such a way to facilitate this) is the capacity and ability of leaders to keep open and dynamic minds. The openness is what is required for one to be able to be curious about new technologies. It is also what is essential for collaboration and networking with staff and other organizations in a highly networked world of the future. Dynamism is necessary to embrace better technologies that have the capacity to be more effective in responding to our needs and the services we deliver. Kevin Kelly (2016) alludes to this when he explains that in 20 years time, the technologies we currently use would have been outdated and much better ones would have been produced.

References

Kelly, K. (2016, June). How AI can bring on a second industrial revolution. Retrieved from https://embed.ted.com/talks/kevin_kelly_how_ai_can_bring_on_a_second_industrial_revolution

Schmitt, L. (n.d.). Short take – The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 technological forces that will shape our future. Retrieved from http://www.theinovogroup.com/the-inevitable-understanding-the-12-technological-forces-that-will-shape-our-future/

Weinberger, D. (2011). Too big to know: Rethinking knowledge now tht the facts aren’t the facts, experts are everywhere, and the smartest person in the room is the room. [Kindle version]. Retrieved from Amazon.com

10 thoughts on “Leadership In A Technologically Advancing World

  1. You’re right in stating that it’s difficult to predict the trends and skills needed for the future. Who knew that when Steve Jobs predicted a computer in every home back in 1983, it would evolve into a computer in every pocket or pocketbook thirty-five years later? How can Weinberger’s five ideas about networking of knowledge help us stay current and adapt as technology changes?

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    • Thanks for your remark. Weinberger (2011) points out five ways we can “make the networking of knowledge the blessing it should be” (p. 183). These ideas can help us also stay current and adapt with technology by making access to appropriate and important Internet resources and information easier. Also, they make it possible to adapt the information received on the net. Furthermore, they suggest appropriate ways to ensure that as many people as possible develop skills needed to use the Internet effectively.

      First, “Open Up access” (Weinberger, 2011, p. 183). He argues that access to Internet resources, journals, books, should be made open and easily available. The Creative Commons is an example of such open access whereby people make it easy for others to use one’s work without necessarily asking for permissions first. This enhances knowledge and avoids the restrictiveness of the copyright process. When access to Internet resources are open, it makes it easier for us to reach, use and apply them.

      Second, “Provide the hooks for intelligence” (Weinberger, 2011, p. 185). This is the quest to create a metadata that is more all-encompassing in collecting the data on the Internet. This will help data on similar resources on the Internet to be more easily linked if they were written say in the same way, say, using the Semantic Web. The capacity to aggregate data from different sites will be quite useful in an internet with a superabundant information. Aggregation and easy access to data provides more authentic real time information. This can help us stay very current with the latest information and data. This can also help us map and follow technological trends. With the knowledge of the movement of technology, it is easier for us to plan on what to learn, how to lead our staff, and how our organization needs to adapt moving forward.

      Third, “Link Everything” (Weinberger, 2011, p. 188). Linking things, especially with the help of hyperlinks, basically help us learn more about whatever we are interested in on the Internet. It helps link knowledge, and reduces the time spent surfing information aimlessly. It also helps in authentication by showing data or authority where information used to authenticate a statement were taken from.

      Fourth, “Leave no institutional knowledge behind” (Weinberger, 2011, p. 185). The Internet provides a platform to link institutional knowledge (which can be discriminatory, selective, leave out many and fall into the temptation of becoming an echo chamber) with the rest of the world via the Internet. The Internet can make a lot of knowledge generated at institutions accessible to the rest of the world via the Internet especially through platforms like “OpenCourseWare” (Weinberger, 2011, p. 186).

      Fifth, “Teach everyone” (Weinberger, 2011, p. 191). The networking of knowledge will be encouraged if everyone is given the skill they need to use the Internet. Weinberger (2011) recommends that “we need to educate our children from the earliest possible age about how to use the Net, how to evaluate knowledge claims, and how to love difference” (p. 191).

      Reference

      Weinberger, D. (2011). Too big to know: Rethinking knowledge now tht the facts aren’t the facts, experts are everywhere, and the smartest person in the room is the room. [Kindle version]. Retrieved from Amazon.com

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  2. I agree that it is difficult to accurately predict the trends and skills that will be required as technology advances but in my research this week I came across an article about building smarter cities. The gist of the article was how a digital footprint was being analyzed, and the data about a person’s preferences, behaviors, and knowledge was being used to generate recommendations that empower better decisions. I believe research like this will be relevant as technologies advance for organizations. As trends and skills change organizations may be able to use this research. I wonder your thoughts on linking everything. Do you think to hyperlink everything will have a positive or negative effect on organizations in the future? Do you think tracking an employee’s links will allow organizations to predict trends or skills?

    SONeal

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    • SONeal,
      Thanks for your observation. There are a lot of benefits when organizations are able to have access to data about peoples’ digital footprints. This will help provide them with more relevant services and save time. I think that our digital footprints (and those of others) are already being used by Amazon and other online platform to suggest items we may like to purchase. On the one hand, it may be effective in planning a city, based on preferences and desires of individuals. On the other hand, as I noted last week, the concern is privacy. I am concerned about using my personal information and knowledge about me, that I didn’t wish to give out willingly, to manipulate my choice. Is it helping me make a better choice or is it sneaking into my head and manipulating me to make yet another purchase that I really do not need? Politically, could it be used to manipulate my basest instinct of fears to act in a particular way?

      As you can see, although I see the benefits of tracking our online behaviors (and soon, our behaviors in other spheres of life), I also worry about the manipulative impact of these socio-economically and politically. Furthermore, it could be an ethical question about tracking an employee’s online behavior. But if the employee has granted the appropriate approvals, then, this could definitely be helpful for the organization.

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  3. Hello Edletech,

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts this week about leadership challenges in a technologically changing world. I don’t know about you but when I was reviewing this week’s material, I could not forget that a good portion of the world is not connected to the internet and is not taking part in Kelly’s (2017) next industrial revolution or at least they are not participating yet. Perhaps if the five ideas from Weinberger (2011) are implemented then more people will be connected and will use those connections in a positive manner. You are correct that Weinberger’s (2011) idea of educating all is an awesome approach to connect more people but I think we still have a long way to go infrastructure-wise to even develop the capability of internet connections for billions of people without reliable power supplies and basic communication connections. Do you think that perhaps our leaders in the technology world and futurists like Kevin Kelly should take a break from thinking about the bleeding edge of the digital future and instead focus on connecting the other parts of the world? Ben Hammer

    References:

    Kelly, K. (2017, January 12). How AI can bring on a second industrial revolution. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/IjbTiRbeNpM

    Weinberber, D. (2011). Too big to know: Rethinking knowledge now that the facts aren’t the facts, experts are everywhere, and the smartest person in the room is the room. New York: Basic Books.

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    • Ben,
      I emphasized Weinberger’s (2011) idea of need for the education of all for that reason. The world will benefit much more if we invested time, energy and resources in ensuring that everyone benefits from the potentials the Internet has to offer. The potentials are massive for the whole world. But, there needs to be a deliberate attempt to ensure that we invest in the rest of the world that are not being fully served or being left behind in the Internet age. The good news is that Internet has the capacity to better democratize knowledge.

      Reference

      Weinberger, D. (2011). Too big to know: Rethinking knowledge now tht the facts aren’t the facts, experts are everywhere, and the smartest person in the room is the room. [Kindle version]. Retrieved from Amazon.com

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  4. I’m going to tag on to Ben’s comment about teaching everyone. I fully agree – we need to make sure everyone has access to technology in order to be taught! Aside from that, as we try to teach those who do have access to technology, where do we start? What do you feel should be the minimum level of knowledge we should strive for if we indeed want to “teach all?’ And how might we go about doing that? It seems like a daunting task, given the many levels of “tech savvy” that are currently out there.

    Thanks,
    Andrea

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  5. Andrea,

    It will be a daunting task to embark on educating all in the use of the Internet, computer and Information Technology. However, with commitment and a concerted effort (personnel and resources), it is possible. Weinberger (2011) mentioned three things he believes need to be taught, and I think they are relevant starting points. It is like teaching people to read and allowing them to explore and grow at their pace. He explained that “we need to educate our children from the earliest possible age about how to use the Net, how to evaluate knowledge claims, and how to love difference” (p. 191). This knowledge should also be extended to everyone else who lacks this knowledge already. Teaching all, I believe, will involve making use of our existing educational infrastructure and network. This will make it easier for far more people to be reached.

    What needs to be taught are basic skills. The basic skills are building blocks for development by different sets of learners in the present and in the future.

    Reference

    Weinberger, D. (2011). Too big to know: Rethinking knowledge now tht the facts aren’t the facts, experts are everywhere, and the smartest person in the room is the room. [Kindle version]. Retrieved from Amazon.com

    Like

    • Thanks – I agree! Our schools are already “on the case,” and I believe that the students of today are in remarkably better shape technologically than the rest of us who didn’t grow up using cell phones and computers all day. So I guess the real challenge is to educate those of us who fall in the middle – we didn’t grow up with it, but we need to know about it. We need to catch up with the people younger than us so that we don’t get left behind when they get out into the workforce!

      Thanks,
      Andrea

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      • Katie,
        Getting buy-in is always a challenge due to the time required to learn new programs. Moreover it becomes more difficult when staff feel that the digital technology they are being asked to learn is more or less unnecessary/unhelpful. When a technology is essential for work, and the staffs see its importance for meeting their targets and serving their clients better, it becomes easier to get buy-in from them. Furthermore, it is important to consider the needs of the staff in introducing new technologies so that it will be such that responds to their concerns. One thing that the digital age is teaching us is that on-going learning is a requirement to be effective in everything we do. Helping create that mindset, and recruiting staff with such mindset may be helpful for an organization.

        Currently, I work in an organization that does not need a lot of changes on the technology they use to be effective. When I worked in a school, the challenge you mentioned was a challenge we also experienced. There were some little incentives created for staff to encourage their adoption of the technology.

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