• rachelkellynz

What It Means To Be "Human" In A World of Technology

As the Master of Ceremonies during the 2017 New Zealand CIO Summit, I opened the event by introducing myself as: "I'm Rachel, and

I'm the Human that will be guiding you over the next 2 days"

I closed the summit clarifying how seriously I take the word "Human" as a means to describe me. That one descriptor is missing from my bio because it is always assumed and often taken for granted.

We have a future in which the advancement of technology will force us to look very hard at what it takes to be human.

To consider what is important in our journey, our 'squiggly line', and our ability to contribute to the world using technology as a tool. The importance of collaboration, co-creation, inspiration, and creativity.

These elements all require a spectrum of emotion and acknowledgement of our own individual weakness, that is overcome by working with people who encourage you to be the person you actually are, while they complement those parts that you are not.

By leading through doing the right thing, not just 'managing' by doing things right.

My own technology journey into machine learning and my thoughts on creating a kind and thoughtful artificial intelligence (AI) has exemplified how important it is to, not only be a good parent to my 4 and 6 year old, but also to the AI that we are working on - how it nurtures people’s experiences by keeping humans at the very heart of everything we do. As a byproduct of this process, I have learned to embrace the person I am and shed off the stiff, stoic personality I felt I had to become working in corporate America.

It is because of the countless hours spent considering the birth and nurturing of an artificial intelligence, I have had to consider my own "Human". I have realized that I can be kind, authentic, love to laugh, be really smart AND be an incredible technology leader. Those are also "Human" attributes I'd like to emulate and nurture in an artificial intelligence.

But much like the human condition, we have to also expect the dark side of our nature - to which we can try to mitigate through the code and counter-algorithm measures. We must face and accept that it will exist because we (the creator) are also incredibly flawed.

I hope the by-product of any technology design and application in your own professional lives helps you to consider your very personal – and very human - journey too.

Thank you to those women and men who are looking, and have found in me, another kindred spirit on the Human-technology journey.

Be the best version of "Human" you were born to be, and if it sings a song in your heart…go change the world.
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