A great headline – though sadly not mine.  I stole it.  To be fair to me, I’m just making a point; it was far easier to lift it from another article than to use my imagination – but am I wasting what sets me apart?

I recently read about a very interesting idea related to the ever-growing predominance of artificial intelligence and machine-centric automation in our workplaces; The House of Beautiful Business.  It is an initiative based on the premise that as machines take over more a more of our jobs then we, as humans, need to re-evaluate our purpose in the business world.

“As machines take our jobs and do them more efficiently, the only work remaining for us humans will be the kind of work that must be done beautifully rather than efficiently”

The initiative was created and run by Tim Leberecht and some like-minded partners, and they held a ‘pop-up’ event in Barcelona recently to coincide with the Mobile World Congress. Leberecht is the author of ‘The Business Romantic’, is an acclaimed speaker at Ted Talks and a regular writer and event-creator for this very idea.

Fundamentally, he doesn’t want to fight the growth of AI but instead ask the question of what we can offer that machines cannot. What advantages do we have to offer? For him it comes down to our basics; our ability to feel, to transcend and to imagine (not just predict!). Our ability to hope, create illusions, and develop entirely fictitious worlds, says Leberecht, separate us from animals or robots.

“It is paramount that we don’t surrender to a reductionist market-based view wanting us to believe that the wonder of life is a simple economic equation”

It’s an interesting view – and I tend to agree with it; some of the most innovative and loved products or businesses throughout history have not just led directly from existing conditions. Innovations by nature don’t arise from just incrementally building on what we already have – they come from crazy, out-there ideas where someone has thought beyond what can be predicted.

For me it’s the ability to surprise which is key. Positive and intelligent surprise.

We live in a ‘click and paste’ world where so much information at our fingertips leads to a predominance of plagiarism, fake news based on half facts, re-shared tweets, re-posted Facebook messages and even classic movie remakes with endless sequels. At a time when we should be thinking more and more about what makes us stand out, our behaviours seem to be pointing the opposite way.

-          Tariq





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