"Humility Is the New Smart: Rethinking Human Excellence in the Smart Machine Age"

Jul 18, 2017

On this edition of our show, an interesting if rather unsettling discussion with Edward D. Hess, who is a co-author of the newly released book, "Humility Is the New Smart: Rethinking Human Excellence in the Smart Machine Age." As was noted of this volume in a detailed appreciation posted at the online San Francisco Review of Books: "What will be the percentage of jobs that technology will replace in the United States during the next two decades? Estimates vary but not that much. There seems to be a consensus: a range of 45 to 50% between now and 2037. Meanwhile, life expectancies will probably increase 12 to 15% by then.... Whatever the nature and extent of the new technologies may be, humans will have to be able to do what machines cannot or out-perform them. Also, humans will have to develop the skills necessary to collaborate effectively with those machines. Edward Hess and Katherine Ludwig focus on what they characterize as 'The Smart Machine Age' (SMA) and also on the development of 'SMA Skills' -- thinking, innovative thinking, creativity, and the kind of high emotional engagement with others that fosters relationship and collaboration. Yes, humans must be well-prepared to partner with machines but also with other human/machine partnerships. Extensive research conducted by IBM indicates that, for example, Watson or a Global Grandmaster cannot win a chess match against Watson and a Global Grandmaster working as a team. This should come as no surprise. In this volume, Hess and Ludwig offer several valuable insights as to the nature of great leadership. One of the most important qualities is humility. Why? 'Because we know from scientific research that two big inhibitors of quality thinking, learning, and emotionally engaging with others are our EGO and our FEARS. Studies of high-performance learning organizations confirmed these findings. To mitigate ego and fear and exceed at the highest level of human thinking and emotional engagement requires a new mindset that embraces humility'.... Those who read this book will be much better-prepared to succeed in the Smart Machine Age by avoiding or overcoming all manner of challenges and barriers to the development of skills needed.... Think of this book as both a survival kit and an operations manual that can help almost anyone succeed during a unique period when the global workplace has become more volatile, more uncertain, more complex, and more ambiguous than at any prior time that I can remember. Accelerating personal growth as well as professional development will become even more essential in the years to come."