2020 - the year of the lemon?

Updated: Jan 1


As the year of the lemon comes to a close, a question worth asking: was there any lemonade to be found, let alone made? For me, one deep-seated understanding was reinforced:


Technology has a long way to go before AI become OI (organic intelligence)


In the past year, hundreds of millions of people have been spending more time with technology than ever before, in some cases, I’m certain, more time with technology than people. For some people, this temporal space has been a better place to be, for other people this temporal space has been a hellhole. For all, spending this much time using technology should expose some of the underlying patterns or algorithms of online social and shopping media.


Like liking, or perusing one click in more detail. This behavior leaves a trail of cookie crumbs equivalent to “show me more” because we all know, past behavior is the best predictor of future wants or needs, therefore that’s how the algorithm is programmed to work. Work so well, it does, that liking or perusing something that is negative, or false, or harmful wont fool the algorithm; the recipe for future surfing is baked in: ‘show me more’.




More of the same means less of what’s different. Let me say that again: more of the same means less of what’s different. THIS type of algorithm isn’t designed to teach you something new, challenge your beliefs or nudge you into your discomfort zone, it does just the opposite: it codifies our confirmation bias, and confirmation bias sells comfortable things. HR people should loath confirmation bias for enumerable reasons, not the least which is because organic life is antifragile while inorganic machines are, at best, robust. The entire internet in fact was built upon the mechanics of redundant systems, but redundancy is not antifragile, life is. Left to their own devices, people using machines is what make those machines ‘seem’ lifelike, add a shot of confirmation bias to that meme and you don't just have a recipe to sell things, you have an addictive recipe to sell thing.


A lot of people think HR can be codified or automated. I would say, if something – anything! can be programmed, it was never associated with the secret sauce for life in the first place. People working in HR or people who hire HR people based upon the algorithm that HR is transactional or mechanical are right. Conversely people working in HR or people who hire HR people based upon the algorithm that HR is human, they too are right. And that is the math of antifragility: two models can both be right, as life-less models, but only one can get better with time.


Thank you 2020 for giving me the hindsight to reminisce upon that extremely sour lemonade, I am better for having overcome the experience.




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