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Are We in a Race Against the Machine?


One could ask whether we, human beings, are in a race against the machine, but where can we source a satisfying answer? A man has made several discoveries and inventions, and improvement is made consistently every year. Computerization has taken control of almost all significant activities man has been performing before. Look around, the computer is all over, and our lives now depend on them. A man has trusted the computer more than what he could have produced with his efforts.

However, in as much as computers are superior to man, it is the man who creates them and programs them to function in a particular manner. They use instructions and commands to produce results and therefore a slight mistake in instruction result to a total mess. They use the principle of garbage in and garbage out. When it comes to problem-solving, the human brain is much superior compared to a computer, as the mind can always find an alternative way of solving a problem. Any change in the programs that perform a particular task results in resetting the computer system and feeding the required instructions to solve the problem.

The human brain is capable of accommodating a wide variety of information as compared to computer memory. The unique feature that makes man superior is emotions. Emotions enable the human brain to meditate, opening the mind to a vast realm of potential. For instance, anger makes one start thinking of new ways how to get revenge. Curiosity leads to efforts to satisfy it, leading to discoveries and the generation of new ideas.

Computerization, on the other hand, has many different features that are superior to those of the human brain. Regarding speed and data retrieval of relevant information, machines are obviously the sure deal. They can never let you down here. Several innovations have been made on devices ranging from ground to space or universe (Brynjolfsson, Erik & McAfee, pg 53). Robots have been innovated and are capable of performing diversified functions.

The concept of man versus machine tends to be most precisely sensed during economic recessions and delicate retrievals. Even as men sit in silence, they are hurt by the fact that some jobs have gone for good, being taken by machines. For example, controlling warfare weapons is done using computers. This shows the extent to which technology is restructuring and slowly consuming our economy. Improvement in the performance of devices continues to threaten even the jobs that were thought could not be automated.

“It’s time to reinvent the formula for how work is conducted since we are still relying on a very 20th-century notion of work” (Hagel & John, pg 22). Here, the latter emphasizes people taking the initiative to use their creativity in response to unanticipated events. He goes ahead and states that “the race against the machine” should be reframed to “race with the machine.” We need to look at how machines can help improve human effort rather than replace it. It can, therefore, be seen that technology is not the problem but how institutions are designed and the activities for which it is intended.

It is true that technological advancement does not benefit everyone in the community. For instance, uneven incomes as well as little employment opportunities. The latest technological progress has preferred only a few groups of skilled individuals and probably increased the accrual share of the gross domestic product in terms of capital and labor. The stagnation in income is not because of a lack of technological advances but because of our institutions and skills that have not employed rapid technological changes.

Computers can be described as universe machines as they have applications in almost every industry and duty. Digital technology now performs mental tasks that are exclusively for human beings. Furthermore, various sectors are trying to make discoveries so that they can remain relevant in the mix, but that is not the solution to race against the machine (Denning, pg 29). Instead, people should come out from their hiding places and face the reality that racing should be with devices.

While computers remain superior in data processing, consistency, and speed, they lack awareness and originality and cannot perform when instructed to work outside the predefined programs. They work interchangeably with humans in that humans perform well when computers are weak. Therefore, the focus should be on increasing human capital by ensuring that people have the most needed skills to participate in current technological inventions. Also, improving the rate and quality of organizational innovation could help in racing the machines. These are the most fundamental areas that must be addressed to curb the issue of the race against the machine.

In conclusion, the race against machines proves to be a sensitive issue that needs a quick intervention. Its consequences manifest in both the individuals who invent them and those who do not participate. But it is also evident that in as much as machines prove to be superior, their creator, that is, a man, is still much ahead due to his ability to think or having emotions that trigger the thinking process. It is exhaustively discussed that the only way to fight the race against the machine is to employ the “race with machine” mechanism.

Here, the focus is on two key areas: organizational innovation, which focuses on the processes, structure, model, expertise, skills, and investments in complementary human capital. This is key as it entails mental development. They include investment in education and critical skills required in the current technological setup. These are the potential mitigations for the race against the machines and initiating a race with machines.

Work Cited

Brynjolfsson, Erik, and Andrew McAfee. Race against the Machine: How the Digital Revolution

Is Accelerating Innovation, Driving Productivity, and Irreversibly Transforming Employment and the Economy. Lexington, Mass: Digital Frontier Press, 2012. Print.

Denning, Peter J. “The Profession of IT: Learning for the New Digital Age.” Association for

Computing Machinery.Communications of the ACM 57.9 (2014): 29. ProQuest. Web. 20 Mar. 2018.

Hagel, John, and John S. Brown. The Only Sustainable Edge: Why Business Strategy Depends on

Productive Friction and Dynamic Specialization. Boston (Mass.: Harward Business School, 2005. Print.



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