humans working socially

Automation is that jagged little pill you can’t get down no matter how much water you drink.  The text that follows is taken verbatim from Harold Jarche’s site.  I can’t improve upon it.

A lot of traditional human work is getting automated, by machines or software.

I don’t know how much work will be automated or what sectors will be hit the hardest, as estimates by all experts vary widely. But I do know that people make bad computers and very unhappy robots. Therefore we should not compete with the machines for the type of work they do well, requiring — perseverance, compliance, intelligence, and diligence. There are some human attributes that machines are not very good at — intuition, empathy, creativity, and social intelligence.

As machines do more repeatable processes and even complicated work, people have to look at what we do best. Working socially, we can address barely repeatable processes for complex situations and over time make parts of them repeatable for the machines to handle. In addition, when we combine the analytical capabilities of machines, we can develop machine-assisted processes and tap into machine expertise in order to do even more complex and creative work.

In my opinion, this is the future of work. To prepare for it people have to develop social learning skills in addition to working in this machine-augmented world. We will have to play nice with other people, and play well with the machines. If a workplace is not optimized for humans working socially, it will be left behind.

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Jess Wade’s Quest Can Be Anyone’s Quest

Academic writes 270 Wikipedia pages in a year to get female scientists noticed

Jess Wade is a scientist on a mission. She wants every woman who has achieved something impressive in science to get the prominence and recognition they deserve – starting with a Wikipedia entry. “I’ve done about 270 in the past year,” says Wade, a postdoctoral researcher in the field of plastic electronics at Imperial College London’s Blackett Laboratory.

 

Yowsah. 270. I have tried four separate times to submit a new article in Wikipedia and have failed. What’s her secret?

– choose topics from your own personal experience
– let your passions be your guide
– find analogous spaces someone else is doing and model that.
– Champion a book.
– Get local then go global.

Here are some additional suggestions I found in other articles:

-Run a wikithon.
-Scroll through Twitter.

Here is a quote of interest where she models part of her process:

The Twitter account @blackphysicists has helped me find heaps of African-American scientists who are wiki-worthy. Then I spend a couple of hours searching for impartial sources—citations written when they’ve won an award, news reports about their research, announcements when they receive promotion. There are heaps of newspapers archived online for free, which helps, especially when trying to work out women’s maiden names. I love when I can find where they went to school, what their parents did and who inspires them—that sounds weird I know—I think it helps readers understand that scientists are just normal people who found something they love.

Lastly, here is a gathering of links that I filched from the net using Zotero and Dropbox.  If you don’t like all the text just follow the hyperlinks out and about.

 

Mapping User Experience to the University Experience in #Mapvember

UX Mapping Methods Compared: A Cheat Sheet

I stumbled over these handy user experience maps this morning and thought about how useful they might be in my teaching, learning, and research.

Empathy maps: designed to help folk understand the mind of the user.

empathy map in four quadrants with user in the middle.

I could use this at the end of the semester to understand how my students navigated the semester-long research paper we write. I have no idea how my “users” experience the most time-consuming and constraining activity in the course. This could help.

Customer journey maps: describes the path a user takes in adopting a particular product or service.

journey into adopting (or not) a product or service

My department could use this in exploring how our students adopt the English major and how that journey works from inside the student. I suspect that the journey we lay out for them and the one they actually follow are quite different, complementary but different. We just revised our curriculum. This might be a qualitative way to evaluate whether the path we are requiring is one that those who are taking it signed up for.

Service blueprints: much like the customer journey maps, these apply to teachers/employees. These maps help to uncover the how and where we ‘touch’ our learners/customers. They would work in conjunction with the customer journey maps.

We could use these with new teachers to help map out where they see these ‘touchpoints’ and compare those maps with what the department sees as the touchpoints. I think these maps might be fleshed out using tools like Dave Snowden’s Cynefin Framework/SenseMaker techonology.

Experience maps: these take customer-journey maps and apply them across user types and user products. You use these maps to make generalizations about user experience. In this image, the experience mapped is “pregnancy”.

Since the purpose of these maps is to understand a general human behavior, I might use them to explain the arc of a course and the learning behaviors it might generate in students. The follow up would be whether those behaviors were actually generated in the users. This map is quite a bit fuzzier and more abstract than the others, so perhaps it might be used in planning or revising a course syllabus and then making readjustments on the fly to the course as required. Used in conjunction with empathy maps?

Maps like these are often guilty of the sin of ‘making complexity legible’. Or as James C. Scott says, they destroy the “metis”, the local knowledge, or at the least they valorize this legibilizing over local, folk knowledge and concepts. Entering with an awareness of this bias, I think that what could be revealed would allow teachers and admins insights that might lead to a ‘re-messification’ of the various ‘fields of users’. We could make our blind spots legible with the end goal being to make the relationships more natural, more like what we find in the margins of fields. Rich. Diverse. Messy. Convergent and divergent.

That is the idea I took from this foray into UX. Anybody need a really interesting research project that might be turned into a consulting business? Maybe this is it. There is a UX conference in Washington, D.C. in April. If I can find $5000 I might go. A big investment, but maybe a worthy career move.