Communicating through 0’s and 1’s

Reducing human interaction to a string of digits – the great misconception.

In an already highly digitised environment, corporate environments need to mindfully adapt their approach to engagement, with employees, stakeholders and customers.  The approach that needs to be taken is wilful adaptation.  This means that corporate environments should only progress with digital advancement if they have sufficient resources, capacity and capability to manage developments that come with the advent of AI (Artificial Intelligence) and the 4IR (4th Industrial Revolution).  

A simple example is activating social media platforms, when as a business you do not have the capacity to respond to your audience.  It is far wiser to not engage on social media at all, than to be seen as an unresponsive and unengaged business.  In addition corporates need to understand the implications of instant, messages that are not in-line with business values can have devastating consequences for corporate reputation.  Businesses should also ensure that implementing advanced communication platforms should never replace person-to-person communication but rather compliment it.  This is often where corporate environments fail.  Social media should never take-away from existing constructive stakeholder engagement platforms. 

It is less about the exchange of human intervention for AI and far more about being mindful of the impact that the removal of person-to-person engagement has on the psyche of the individual in a corporate environment.  Already, there has been a significant reduction in telephonic and face-to-face communication, which has been replaced by e-mail and instant messaging, with the addition of even more instant highly advanced sharing of information, the risk for a person to process information becomes greater as technology develops. 

In an already highly digitised environment, people are currently unable to cope with the large amounts of information churned out daily, thus we are already living in an environment where people rapidly scan information for personal applicability and taste.  This has already greatly impacted the advertising industry as it is almost impossible for individuals to pay attention.  Often this high overload of information is why employees and stakeholders believe that corporate environments fail to communicate, there is far too much information for employees to constructively extract meaningful information. 

The added concern with the dramatic advancement in technology without acknowledging the disruption to human relations is that people are already so consumed with digital that they forget what it means to look someone in the eye while having a meaningful conversation.  The more accustomed people become to reducing interaction to words on a screen, the more removed they will become from the spirit of humanism.

In order to protect good corporate cultures, business leaders should therefore apply wilful transcendence that is aligned to the strategic intent of the business. 

Deirdre Tholet

SMC Incorporated

083 324 3163

deirdre.tholet@smcinc.co.za

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