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Tim Leberecht

The Business Romantic Society

"We were dreaming of flying cars, we got suicidal robots"

AI and suicidal robots

A multiple TED speaker and technology industry educator, Tim brings his philosophical view to our ‘in over our heads’ technology driven world.

Is the human-digital history one of disappointment?

Silicon Valley big tech was going to deliver a more inclusive, more connected and more democratic world. What did we get?… Facebook!

After number of major data / privacy scandals have we come to realise that the price of the connected world is very high! Loss of data sovereignty loss of data autonomy.

There is a lot of talk of humanisation of tech, humanisation of business, human centred design, human centred experiences. But the focus is on convenience and optimisation.

If you can describe your job in one sentence, chances are you won’t have one for very much longer!

Tim’s fear is not that humans are replaced by smart machines, but that we ourselves become smart machines. Embedding technology within us to track our every movement. Allowing corporations to track our actions and emotions to ultimately manipulate them.

Social conditioning in the workplace is available now, (Don’t worry be happy) app analyses facial expressions while you use a PC and if you stop smiling it deletes the previous hour’s work!

The question is not whether machines will be able to think, it should be whether humans will still be able to feel. When everything is measurable, predictable and can be engineered, are we losing the magic of unexpected encounters?

We have been here before. The Romantic Movement - poets and philosophers revolted against the age of enlightenment – scientific rationality. We need a new Romantic Movement.

Romance is what makes us human against the backdrop of exponential technology.

If machines take our jobs, then humans must do the roles that must be done beautifully, that take care, empathy, imagination and love.

We must follow the rules of enchantment – the rules of the business romantic.

  • Do the unnecessary – embrace downtime. – The unnecessary often has meaning and value.
  • Create Intimacy – make things that not only look good, but feel good. People are constantly referencing their mobile’s, but we are lonelier now than ever before.
  • Suffer (a little) – Convenience in everything we do is removing the human need to suffer (a little). So why is that people still want to swim in iced ponds, or walk on hot coals?

Humans are still looking for danger, high emotion.

We need romantics in our organisations – Passion instead of ‘Liking’. Innovation is human.
We must combine the potential of technology with our humanity then we can be not only exponentially more productive, but also more human. That is the future of industry.

Watch the full presentation

Watch the full presentation from Tim Leberecht (23 mins.)

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