Reputation and The Future

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The future is most likely to be dominated by human being’s outsourcing of intelligence. I read it somewhere that we are all nodes in a communication network. We are all like individual containers which hold a specific configuration of information. Our individual behaviour is ultimately determined by this information we have in our heads. As we accumulate more information, that information changes, and so does our behaviour. Communicating with others is the most effective way to update our software, so to speak. It is true to a large extent.

But if it is true, then what about the emotion called the ego? The human ego (call it reputation, need for self-actualisation, or whatever), has proven to be one of the prime causes behind human evolvement. One strives for success in physical, spiritual or material objectives to evolve into a bigger ego. The successful campaigns, brands, companies, raising of children, number of friends or any other work has ultimately a personal ego driving it in the largest scheme of things. If it is our intelligence that makes it happen, then what will happen when we outsource this intelligence to machines? After all, we humans are proven to be data storage systems and our intelligence is primarily the efficiency of retrieval of data by the system called a human being. What will happen to reputation if communicating with others is considered as the most effective way to ‘update’ our software?

This argument pre-supposes many things that may sound scary as on now. Thanks to Artificial Intelligence, Machine Intelligence, Big Data, Augmented Reality, Robots, etc., human being’s future would be crafted by technology in future. Alexa today helps you dance or sings nursery rhymes for your toddler. You can invest from your mobile phone, can seek a life partner online and do several things more. These diverse functions of outsourced intelligence are all trying to do just one thing, making human lives easier to live. That is presuming that everyone in a country is tech-literate. The ever-widening digital divide in a country like India, according to me, is the biggest challenge for her planners. Vote banks and money banks on either side of digital divide may prove to be catastrophic.

Making lives easier also includes addressing the ego needs. While delivery mechanism would change, it would remain a primary prerequisite for the growth of any individual. Who, where, why and how about the reputation (or ego) would change. What may not change is the need to build reputation. Because a human life without an ego will be boring and would stunt its growth.

It may take a decade or may be more, but Alexa’s successful reply to this request will surely haunt PR practitioners of tomorrow.

‘Alexa, please build my reputation’