This post originally appeared as part of the series leading up to the 7th Global Peter Drucker Forum – “Claiming our humanity – managing in the digital age”.
In his famous “Plenty of Room at the Bottom” lecture, the physicist Richard Feynman arguably seeded the concept of nanotechnology. While there is technical debate on Feynman’s actual role in catalyzing specific nanotechnology research, his more general point as implied in the title of the lecture is clear: there is no reason we should overcrowd in selective pursuits, intellectual or otherwise.
Almost six decades later, we appear to be doing just what Feynman implicitly cautioned against. We are cornering ourselves in the narrow view that crowds man and machine onto the same tasks. The latest witch hunt is underway and gaining momentum. The witches are the rapid innovation in robotics and computing, slated to replace humans in performing increasingly sophisticated – i.e. “white collar” – tasks and so displace jobs across the employment spectrum.