Having visited here 20 years ago for the last time, I’m now staying in Vienna/Austria since the last Wednesday. Taking the opportunity to attend this year’s “Global Drucker Forum”, I decided to check what’s going on in this city. Last time, I had the feeling that this city on the Danube was the mixture between the eastern communist and the western capitalistic blocks and therefore underdeveloped. As I then lived in Germany after the dramatic unification, this feeling was somehow dramatized in my mind and never goes away. However, my adaptive unconscious leads me to pay a visit here again to check whether it remains so.
To be honest, this Vienna’s image since the Cold War can’t be found out any more. The city has been completely digitalized, and this is, from my viewpoint, exactly why the forum has picked up the issue “Claiming Our Humanity – Managing in the Digital Age” as the main topic to be handled in this year’s session.
Furthermore, I’ve been extremely surprised and inspired indeed to hear what the majority of panelists say in the forum. They are rather pessimistic vis-à-vis the future development of artificial intelligence (AI) by saying its possibility is technologically limited. Touching upon so-called “singularity”, they firmly believe there must always be a room for the human being to overcome AI’s offensive to the daily life. Henry Mintzberg, legendary professor of the McGill University, referred even to his fear of human communities’ disappearance due to excessive digitalization (sic!). The audience applauded his comment.
Yes, of course, this is obviously opinion expressed from viewpoint of those who are professionally engaged in (industrial) human resource management. If all the problems were to be solved by AI, they would lose their jobs immediately. As the audience, we should keep it in mind.
However, this experience here in Vienna was extremely astonishing for me from Japan, while almost all the Japanese media tend to simply claim almighty AI and undoubted singularity towards the future. They pretend even as if there were no “western talented experts” who oppose to the idea of almighty AI. This is not true. For those experts from both US and Europe who got together in the forum, the story of “almighty AI” is “an inconvenient truth”. We should always be aware of the fact that the leadership in the advanced economies except for Japan is divided into two groups in this regard: “AI is welcome”, the optimist says, while the pessimist stick to the position, “AI must be limited”.
Seeing is truly believing. I now feel I just found the very reason to visit the city of Vienna at least once a year from now on. If you also want to get to know the truth in the global community, just follow me. Otherwise, you never grasp what’s really going on in the virtual and conventional realities.