human

When Digital Becomes Human

In recent years we have seen various technological evolutions which include the internet of things, robots, drones and artificial intelligence. These advancements in technology are having not only a huge impact on consumers lives but also business models and the relationships that businesses have with their customers.
 
The likes of Uber and Airbnb have been well documented in the past with regards to their business models and these two companies are referred to again in the book as companies who have placed digital at the heart of their business and subsequently transformed the sectors in which they operate. Other more traditional businesses such as Disney and Burberry are also highlighted for how they have embraced digital and enhanced the quality of relationship with their customers.
 
Any technological advancement that ultimately enhances the customer experience can only be positive, but at what stage during this experience do customers want to interact with humans as opposed to technology?
 
Robots and smart computers are becoming increasingly clever, but where their strength lies is very much on the rational side of the brain - providing facts and useful information. They are not yet clever enough to be able to express the same level of emotions that a human can. Whilst robots and smart computers continue to not possess strong emotional capabilities, humans will always have a key role in developing and maintaining relationships with customers. Humans have been developing emotional relationships with other humans for centuries and this is something that we crave, need and thrive on.
 
Whilst reading this book, it became apparent that companies don’t need to replace humans with robots. The smartest companies will utilise robots for administrative/functional tasks that enables humans to focus on what they are best at doing.
 
A good example of how robots and humans could work together is in the publishing world, where factual articles such as the reporting of sports or company financial results are being automated through technology, which then allows journalists to focus on writing articles that require emotional depth.
 
Some might argue or hope that robots never completely replace humans, but some scientific research suggests that computers will possess the same capacities as the human brain by 2032. If that happens, one computer will be as smart as one person and if technological evolution continues at the same pace, one computer will be as clever as all the people in the world by 2045. Some of the technologies that we have seen in movies such as The Matrix and The Terminator are not that far away from becoming a reality. It does make you wonder what the world will be like to live in when you fast forward to thirty years time.  
 
The truth is that we don’t know if some of the predicted technological advancements for the future will ever become mainstream. Some may simply remain niche and never get significant traction with customers.
 
I found this book a fascinating read and would recommend to anyone who is interested in understanding how both traditional and digital-first businesses are embracing new technologies and transforming their relationships with customers. 

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