I’ve mentioned my love for Peter Drucker here before. He’s the only guy who made it on my list of top 10 business books twice.
One of his greatest gifts is seeing the long term implications of new technology. Early in the life of the internet he predicted massive changes to the way we live and the structure of society. At the time, most people were talking about how email would kill the postman. Drucker accurately saw more profound changes coming. He predicted that we would be working remotely and that this would have a major impact on the way we live. He’s a big thinker.
In early November there’s a gathering in his name in Vienna (and online) called The Global Drucker Forum. This year’s title is: “Claiming Our Humanity – Managing in the Digital Age.” I’ll be attending online. The sessions are organized around the idea of how new technology is changing our society (again). The main focus is artificial intelligence and machine learning. That’s a big part of what we do here at Vendo so, of course, we’re interested in being part of this conversation.
As with any technological advance there are evangelists and luddites. We clearly see the benefits of AI (why else invest millions in developing it?) but we’re definitely alive to the risks. AI is increasingly controlling human behavior and there is a decreasing need for workers in traditional roles.
Here are some of the questions they’ll be asking:
- In a technology-driven economy, does management need a fundamental makeover?
- How can digital technology be leveraged to augment human capacity as opposed to automate and replace it?
- Can we achieve breakthrough innovation across the board creating new opportunity for people?
- Based on the new technology infrastructure – is a new economic order in the making?
- What is the role of the public sector in this secular transformation?
After reading countless Drucker books – and attending my first ever business class with the man – I feel like I can make a prediction about the Forum. The consensus will be that more powerful tools require greater clarity of intention. Practical steps will need to be taken to make sure they benefit rather than harm society. That’s a broad prediction, of course. I’m looking forward to the detailed perspectives and insights of the different speakers.