I had some conversations with a friend about the future of post-pandemic corporate work in light of technological evolution.
Before the Industrial Revolution, work tended to value people’s contributions with muscle power. Most of the value came from physical manipulation activities.
Then came the Industrial Revolution, with machinery that reduced the relevance of muscular effort by automating a major part of it. Most of the value at this point came from symbol manipulation activities. We valued and value the contribution of people, expressed with their brains.
Now the digital revolution is under way, with Artificial Intelligence, Big Data and the Internet will slightly reduce the dominance of brain effort by automating a significant part of repetitive tasks.
But machines are lacking in heart, consciousness, empathy.
We will value the expressed contribution of people’s hearts.
We have trained muscles for physical manipulations, we have trained brains for symbol manipulations, we will have to train hearts for empathy and humanity.