Monday, October 9, 2017

Dr. Faulkner: LQ

“What the world needs now is love, sweet love.  That’s the only thing that there’s just too little of.”  If you recognize that as the lyrics to a song and remember the original Dionne Warwick version, then you have been around a while.
Jack Ma is the founder of the world’s largest retailer.  Alibaba is the Chinese e-commerce giant that made Ma worth nearly $29 billion.

In a recent address at the Bloomberg Global BusinessForum he made two really important points.
First he made the point that we must embrace technology and develop the skills to use it effectively.  We must not fear technology and fret over the possibility of lost jobs.  He illustrates that the invention of the steam engine was predicted to cause the loss of jobs as was the automobile and electricity.  All resulted in changes in jobs but not net loss.  We can’t train to out-smart or out-work technology because a “machine never forgets, never gets tired, never sleeps or drinks.”

His statement reminds me of the Ballad of John Henry.  Again, if you remember this you are likely getting a little “long in the tooth.”  The story is of John Henry, a steel drivin’ man who won the race against a steam powered driver but ended up dying as a result.

The lesson is that we must embrace the technological changes surrounding us and teach our students how to use and capitalize on them.

The second of Ma’s points is somewhat surprising.  He offers that while we can’t beat technology in many roles there is one area where we humans can excel.  It isn’t IQ (intelligence quotient) or even EQ (emotional intelligence).  It is LQ.  “The quotient of love, which machines never have.”  Ma went on to say, “A machine does not have a heart, machine does not have soul, and machine does not have a belief.  Human being have the souls, have the belief, have the value; we are creative, we are showing that we can control the machines.”  Our feelings of love result in justice, creativity and our ability to empathize deeply and respond wisely. 

So while we teach technology we must also teach the uniqueness of humanity.  Ma says that we shouldn’t create machines to be like humans and not try to make humans like machines.  “Let humans be humans.”

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