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Speed is over-rated

“The time clock in villages is slow”. I was talking to an agro entrepreneur 9 years back. He was explaining how things happen at their own pace in villages, compared to cities where speed is critical.

The industrial revolution and consequential city development focused on building things really quick but longevity or sustainability was not much of a consideration. It suited the time of global poverty and wars and post-war development.

Machines suddenly became the baseline for human productivity. Speed and hours of working became really important. If human beings cannot be fast and efficient, then their job gets automated. In a way, humans have been competing with machines for survival in the workplace, for a century now!

Coming to the age of AI, as long as the machine is slightly better or almost as productive as human beings, your work will be automated. And the speed at which these virtual machines will be built and used will be far greater than how it happened with physical machines. There’s no point in competing in terms of industry standards of productivity anymore.

Our focus should be on intelligence that’s truly unique to us, that cannot be machine produced. Finding big patterns with very little data, connecting dots across domains, understanding what other humans want and need, effective communication, building close-knit communities — these are the ones that cannot be taken away from us. And to perform any of these, the focus cannot be speed. The focus needs to be learning, emotional exploration, deep-diving into self and intuition.

In the future, we will spend a lot of time absorbing data and processing it and very little time to deliver outcomes. We will be the thinking partners for machines to execute.

If you are focusing a lot on the speed of execution or on long working hours, you’ll automatically prioritize less deep things because they can exhaust you sooner. Neither of these will help you in the future when what’s productivity for human beings will not be based on machines. It’ll be based on what humans are truly capable of and extracting that potential.


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