In the 1800’s Jacquard introduced the loom and we think, “well there go all of our jobs making clothing!” We can’t imagine anyone but the very wealthy can have more than a set or two of fine clothing. Or even think about the rise of companies like Levi’s and H&M or entire new industries to organize clothing, or wash and take care of clothes. Never mind that the Jacquard loom uses these little cards with punched holes as instructions and may soon inspire us to create the age of electronic computing.
The rise of automation has always driven new forms of work since the beginning of humanity. Though each time a new era is born it seems like the technological shock will end work. We have seen this before, and we’ve even come up with solutions that helped us dig out of the “valley of dread” that the new shock has precipitated. Consider this, each time automation has brought us to a peak of job growth we’ve responded with an investment in education. When farmers in the United States began to see that they wouldn’t need all their kids on the farm, they created a groundswell effort in Ohio called the high school movement. When the first electronic computers where invented to break cryptographic code during World War 2 and we had a large veteran population returning home, the country invested in the GI bill and paid for every veteran to go to college, heralding in the computing era.
Now we have the rise of the cognitive age. The anxiety this time is at a fever pitch. Ultimately we have crumbling infrastructure in the developed world and non-existent infrastructure in the emerging world. We will need more things — that fit us better, and waste less — than ever before. There is plenty of work to do, but our own biases and methods of learning may be standing in our way. Come and explore the potential for machine/human learning and play as a new way - a means of helping individuals and organizations thrive with enhanced cognition as a new human right.