12.2 Quantum inter-relationship thinking
If thoughts shape actions, our thoughts about how we frame the next age will shape what we get from it.
A slow realisation seems to be happening, that the arrival of code’s propelling a digital tsunami of change across commercial and social landscapes. It’s a tidal wave that’s been variously described as we look to create handy shorthands for it.
‘The fourth industrial revolution’ is a World Economic Forum description. ‘The second machine age’ or ‘next machine age’ are others.
But to grasp the nature of a new age (and of change itself) in its entirety, means we cannot reference it simply through the narrow confines and definitions of the times that have come before, which is what both of these descriptors do.
Part evolution, part disruption, the essential nature of the change we’re dealing with today comes because we live in a wired world for the first time human history. And this new world is radically new because there’s a brand new element, a new ingredient working alongside human life > code.
Code’s allowing us to create scripts informing how things interface with each other in utterly new ways. With this, what matters now is not the machinery but the inter-relationships. In the wired (and the wireless) world we are becoming exponentially connected.
This is an age of connection. From privacy switches being flicked by Facebook and backdoors being opened by the FBI, crowdsourcing, hive minded organisation and the internet of things springing up around us, the dynamic shift in the sociological landscape happening here is not about more machines; nor, when things are automated, is it about heightened concepts of industry.
The crucial, different and determining factor that the digital environment creates and that is enfolding us today is that we are all connected, how ideas intersect, how we fuse (or not) with technology, and how we deal with personal and geopolitical boundaries when the world is dynamic and agile.
This connectivity is not just technical, it’s relational. And it’s about new forms of relationships and inter-relationships happening at compound levels.
In this world of quantum inter-relationship, old ways of dominance and winner-takes-all narratives don’t quite work the way they used to.
If we assume the shift the digital economy brings is about more machines and industry, all we’re doing is overlaying old industrial age attributes onto a brand new and very different paradigm and short-circuiting the potential.
If we forget what the essential nature of change is, that is to say that change is different, we won’t step forward into a new era as well as we might because we will be failing to be as open and receptive as we might be to new thinking.
The connection economy is about win:win as the outcome, balancing resources to make the most gains for the greatest numbers of people, and harnessing ecosystems and systems thinking in order to use biometrics and data well and to manage them holistically.
Since James Lovelock’s Gaia theory opened up human awareness about the connected nature of biological ecosystems, our connectivity has been increasing thanks to technology, making the case for a ‘whole planet’ management approach.
The digital capabilities and the ever-increasing amounts of data we have at our disposal have been reinforcing the idea that connected intelligence and collaborative networking are new critical success factors we must begin to employ, and rapidly.
So, whatever the economics or other drivers that are part of the digital age, if this is a forever recession, it’s because old business managment models no longer work as they once used to in this now-friction-free world built around new forms of connectivity and interaction.
It’s perhaps why reactionary talk of boundaries going up is current. If barriers and walls being mooted go up and nations quit out of conjoined states like the EU, as we are considering in Britain, it’s because we haven’t found a way yet to create and fashion global coexistences, given how joined up thoughts, actions and the consequences of them now are.
If thoughts shape actions, framing the next age as primarily about connection makes a big difference to the value we will get from it. Connection management will promote ethics and governance discussions around how we form global inter-relationships and business models that work well and can co-exist without endless fights for a singular dominant narrative and market share races to the bottom. It will frame what we write in terms of general AI and the code that acts on our behalf as our world becomes increasingly digitally scripted and automated.
Thinking about the next age as one of quantum inter-relationships will shape the nature of the collaboration and the value of co-existing with code, and the human benefits we can derive from it.
Picture credit: http://poetry.house/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/beautiful-sound-waves.jpg