Read Dr Jordan Peterson’s Warnings on Technology Before Your Digital Transformation
If a few years before the 2020 pandemic hit the world, Linda wouldn’t have eliminated the need for her building inspectors to travel back and forth to the office, to transcribe, to digitize, to send for approval, and then to store their paperwork, who knows the impact it would’ve had on the 60100 employees responsible for almost all of Quebec’s residential developments under her organization’s influence.
As a director of preventions in one of Canada’s most important associations of licensed construction professionals, Linda acted in a remarkably insightful way. Just as most of our partners, her goal wasn’t to be part of a successful digital transformation story, she simply saw that the technology to work more efficiently was accessible. (Read the business case here)
No matter when or why we question the way we do things, technological pivots in a company will have unpredictable impacts on people’s daily lives, our economy, and our environment.
This leads to a profound question we should stop and ask ourselves:
Should we innovative just because we can?
Henry Ford thought he simply wanted to make cars in a faster way, yet ended up doing much more, according to Dr. Jordan B. Peterson.
And when it comes to profound questions, it seems like there is no way to not stumble on this famous psychology professor of the University of Toronto and his opinions for better or worse. This article roughly paraphrases his views on technology and Henry Ford, which he goes on to say:
“The assembly line absolutely transformed the entire planet, because it brought in the era of mass cheap manufacturing.”
In one of his lectures, Peterson said that Ford made “a very effective way for transforming the atmosphere”, and the fact that cars happen to take you from point A to point B might be completely irrelevant compared to the fact that it was the internal combustion engine and its rapid distribution which completely changed the fundamental chemical structure of the atmosphere itself.
The car and its accessibility completely transformed cities: It blew out the rural community. Everyone moved to the cities. It made all the cities built around the automobile but then it had this tremendous political and economic significance too. A car is not just a machine, it’s also the idea that you could own something that would get you and only you from somewhere to somewhere else without ever asking anybody for any permission. Freedom & independence.
Just as with digital transformation, we can’t just take the car and leave it’s other implications behind.
When you change the way things are done, like an easier way to own a car or to getting from point A to point B in a more independent way, un-intended values and beliefs are built into that innovation, and that is what you end up distributing.
This isn’t to sound negative, rather to consider that adopting a new way of doing things, will inevitably be imprinted with intended good intentions as well as unpredictable results.
Innovative decisions can be taken in reaction to all kinds of pressures.
Events like the coronavirus, the expectations of investors or customers, the reputation or status we chose to uphold for our career or our workplace are compelling reasons to act. Sometimes we innovate because we have the capacity or need to do things better.
Some wait to secure their organization’s future in reaction, others like Linda, do it proactively.
Technology started with the use of tools, and agriculture, which ultimately divided us all into 2 groups: Those who use technology and those who don’t. One group ends up with more benefits than the other.
Let’s move on to digital improvement instead of transformation.
In Dr. Jordan Peterson’s spirit, if you break down the true meaning of “digital transformation” word by word, where transformation means taking things from one state to a different one, and digital is defined by electronic technology that generates, stores, and processes data.
So, don’t just change things to change them, focus on improvement which is defined by taking things from one state to a better one.
The moment when better is simply not enough, we need to stop improving, and start innovating.
You don’t need to be first, like Linda. You can be second and quickly get there with all the resources that are available to you, today.
To conclude, consider Dr. Peterson’s warnings and hints to us in this video about silicon valley, facebook, google, self-driving cars, and AI.
 Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tP92vNAbp1c
Let’s make sure that we are aware that what we are building, will reflect and amplify us, so let’s make sure we stay ethical.
Technology is like a rock: you can use it to grind flour, or to hurt someone. It’s your decision, and the only decision that matters is your next one.
Note: The opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of nSpek, Néosynergix, its employees or its subsidiaries.