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Business Leaders Continue To Focus On New Technology, Not People

Why does technology trump (pardon me) the value of people? I'll be so bold as to suggest an obvious answer: The notion of competition has been not so subtly pounded into the minds of men (who remain the vast majority of law firm and other business leaders/equity stakeholders), for pretty much all of their conscious lives. Life consists of only two kinds of people (so the argument goes) -- winners and losers.

Respectfully, I don't agree. I also don't agree that focusing on new technology (as important as that may be) is the key to "winning" the business competition. I do believe that two things can be true at the same time, and "winners" today should focus their attention on both technology and people-- people who interact with, and act upon, the information that technology gathers, assesses and summarizes.

Why can't our leaders walk and chew gum, at the same time-- why can't they focus on two things at once? Presumably, they can-- so why don't they do so? Looking (for the moment) past budgetary implications-- because they distract attention and lead to conversation that inevitably pits the value of "walking" against the value of "chewing gum"-- the underlying question remains unanswered: Why?

Why does the choice have to be either/or, instead of both/and? Do we have to mask fascination with new technology as something that is falsely conflated with concern about people, by pretending it will make life easier? The reality is exactly the opposite-- technology does not make life easier. It actually increases demands and expectations-- exponentially.

Dismiss me as an ignorant luddite, but at some point, our leaders    -- all of us-- need to recognize the human cost of new technology, and address that cost as a matter that's every bit as important as "winning" the business competition.

There will always be new ways to improve the proverbial hamster wheel, but don't forget the wellbeing and mental health of the "hamsters"!


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