This week I decided to listen to Learning Uncut the podcast by Michelle Ockers (@michelleockers), Karen Moloney (@karenmoloney) and Amanda Ashby which was on “Democratising learning through curation” in particular how one learning and development team of one of the big four banks in Australia curates content on behalf of their business.
I have been thinking about the importance of curation for the individual in a world where AI serves us up any information, resource, and network we need at the point of need when we need it since coming back from Microsoft Ignite, a technology conference in Orlando.
The Death of Media Literacies?
While over there, I saw a demonstration of Microsoft’s Project Cortex which basically, floored me because on the outset I saw that it would make redundant now some of the (new) literacies at work that we used to search for, filter and analyse information. (Well some would argue that they’re not exactly new literacies for workers who may still spend their entire work in email and never used social technologies at work for their work)…
(a) #hashtags – no need to tag content as the system will find what you’re looking for (well, at least serve you up something to consider)
(b) Boolean Search Operators – unlikely to put AND/OR and stipulate search parameters in some clunky way – simply hover over the word or type in what you’re looking for or ask it
(c) Subscribe – will the question of the importance of subscribing come up in a workforce when AI can serve you up the latest newsletter, podcast, bit of information?
(d) Share – what’s the point of sharing when the system can do it for you – or in fact, people can ask for it?
(e) Follow – what’s the point of following when the system can just let you know who’s worth following?
(f) Bookmark – pointless exercise now.
Can you see where I’m going with this? What’s the point of these (new) media literacies when you have systems serving up information to you – and the risk of dumbing us down in the process?
Of course, I’m being melodramatic and I’ve taken it to the ‘nth’ degree.
So how can we help explain to employees the importance of these new literacies if they’ve never had a chance to use them – or understand them – and now rely on information served up to them without question?
(Love them or loathe them, these media literacies made me THINK ABOUT MY THINKING. They helped me critique information that came to me and allowed me the opportunity to DO something with it. Do I want to bookmark it, subscribe to it, reply to it, share it. etc. Media literacies above were the mirror to my thinking – it made my thinking VISIBLE).
If you’re wondering if I’m against AI – I’m not. However, I do see it as another means of being able to find what we are looking for, when we need it to help us do our work in the best way possible.
I am a believer that this technology is simply another tool but we shouldn’t delegate our thinking for us. There’s still a heavy level of investment for us to critique information, find new information, make sense of it and create some new value from it.
Microsoft’s Project Cortex will be rolling out in 2020 across some organisations. Also a recent discussion with my boss, Paul Woods (@PaulWoods) on a fortnightly podcast I create as part for the Adopt & Embrace Academy community where the focus was on how this technology is becoming smarter and sophisticated but it doesn’t detract from the need of us losing our ‘humanness’ in interactions with others and how we approach our work.
I’ve still got to formulate some ideas about what it all means but I’m thinking it still goes back to helping people build the skills they need to be mindful of the information that is served to them by tools and technology and to just “not accept it” without doing something ‘with it’ – such as thinking about it, contextualising, reflecting, making meaning from it, recreating something new from it and then sharing that. If anything, we will need more content in this form than less but how do I help others see that this will help them in their work and life especially when the ‘quick and easy’ solution of what is served to us is deemed the one and only solution to many?
However, what’s the danger that we STILL don’t change our behaviours. When everything is so easy for us – and when our time at work is busy – WILL WE DEVOTE TIME AND SPACE TO THINK & REFLECT ABOUT OUR WORK AT WORK?
There were also a couple of articles that made reference to similar themes that I read this week.
First one was “Learning for a Living” and another article by Rob Briner called People Analytics: It’s Something But It’s Not Enough recently also linked this (although his was around Evidence Based Practice). As I read his article, what was going through in my mind that the organisation will be using only organsational data to make decisions so in effect, where we had TEAMS or DEPARTMENTS work in silos, the risk is that the entire ORGANISATION work in a silo. He says:
Looking at our own internal organizational data about our people is fine but if we only look at that, then we’re ignoring at least three other crucial sources of evidence. Incorporating other sources of information provides a fuller picture, not only providing important information about consistency or contradiction, but also helping us know whether what we find is important or relevant to the people involved. In other words, by using multiple rather than single sources of evidence we are more likely to both understand and deal with problems.
So in effect, we STILL need the very human skills of curation, critical thinking and sense making. It cannot be done for us or to us – there’s still a level of effort required to interpret, analyse, question, contextualise, and link. That is something that people in work need – and must do together with the tools like AI or else something like this happens….
If executives don’t have time to understand an issue, they should not be executives. Busy does not equate to important. Stop the fallacy of dumbing-down briefings for executives. If they don’t have time, I walk out https://t.co/Y1ziT7vFHC
— Harold Jarche (@hjarche) December 10, 2019
Here’s what I had curated on Project Cortex in Wakelet