This was sent to me by email. I am trying to track down the URL to reference it properly, but for now, enjoy.

EDS logoEDS’ Jeff Wacker: Interactive workplace scary — in a good way

POSTED:03 May 2005, SOURCE: Edmonton Journal
Gamers could rule the world when the Next Big Thing comes down the technology wires, according to futurist Jeff Wacker.
Wacker calls it autonomics, and it will have as huge an effect on our lives as the last Big Thing — the personal computer — the Texas author, lecturer and bison rancher told an audience at MacEwan College on Monday.
Autonomics is an intelligent, instinctive system that interacts with us rather than merely responding to our commands, the same as the body reacts when you start running by increasing the heartbeat and oxygen intake, Wacker said.
And interactive games are a great way to teach people how to manage this scary future, he said.

“Games are a good way to learn experiential modelling, and gaming is the model of how we will run our businesses in the future. Our businesses should all be run like games.”
Autonomics is already with us in some basic forms, especially in hospitals.
An electronic tag worn by surgeons is read by the “room,” so the lighting is automatically set to their preference, and their favourite music starts playing. The “room” will also respond to information or requests from the surgeon.
It will eventually make the desktop keyboard obsolete for the average worker, and on a broader scale will allow companies to be run by a mathematical computer model able to use real-time information to make instant decisions, Wacker said.
Workers will follow a pre-determined “optimal” way to do routine tasks, but will be able to devise better ways to do it as they work.
And if that sounds like a frightening world, it will be, Wacker said.
“It’s not all good, but it will happen. Economics are driving it to happen”
because technology is speeding up our world at such a fantastic rate that it’s difficult for humans to keep up, Wacker said.
Computer capabilities are doubling every 18 months, and the amount of information is doubling every 12 months. Yet human brains are limited in what they can handle at any one time, he said.
“We thought change was the only constant, but change itself is constantly changing. You can’t even figure out what’s going to happen, because it’s already happened.”
The solution is an extremely fluid business computer model, built for quick adaptation to changing markets and future trends, Wacker said.
“If I get a half- to one-per-cent edge on what’s going to happen, I’ll make a fortune in Las Vegas, and you can make a fortune in business.”
A key element will be to train people in certain tasks as they are doing them, rather than ahead of time, when they might forget some of the information, Wacker said.
“It’s like having a grandfather looking over your shoulder telling you how to carve wood.”
And the old adage “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” will be replaced by “if it ain’t broke, break it,” because we’ll have to change rapidly without waiting for something to break, he said.
Wacker and his colleagues at global IT giant EDS will have a book out in November on how autonomics can be accomplished. But he stressed the change won’t involve taking away people’s free will. They will be given guidance to do repetitive tasks, and be encouraged to think about a better way to do them.
And there will always be jobs that can’t be automated, such as a masseuse, he said.
“There will always be the need for human touch. We crave interaction, and we won’t allow technology to rob us of our basic humanities. Human beings will be a major part of the future, but it will be a unique part.”
Not everyone will be able to cope with the changes, and governments must play a major role in making sure they don’t get forgotten, Wacker said.
It’s not a new phenomenon, he said. The invention of the steam engine reaper put many farmhands out of work, but they were able to find jobs elsewhere.
But governments must start planning for it now.

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