Leadership and Non-Organic Intelligence

Prof. Pierre Casse and Elnura Irmatova

A new form of intelligence?

“I don’t think the robots are taking over.  I think the men who play with toys have taken over. And if we don’t take the toys out of their hands we’re fools”

Ray Bradbury

There is one major innovation that impacts the new world in the making and it is the so-called artificial intelligence! Human beings have invented a new way to organize our individual and collective lives on this planet. This a new revolution and it goes beyond the “digital “one.

It is also, let’s face it, a new way to challenge and move on with our understanding of reality including, of course, ourselves.

We prefer to call it “Non-Organic Intelligence” (NOI) even if we still do have a major problem with the word intelligence. Maybe we are wrong to qualify the abilities of the algorithms as intelligence. It could be beyond what we call intelligence. Here we go again “humanizing” what we have invented!

We are talking about algorithms which can be defined as systems that can collect information (e.g. Big Data processing) very quickly, connect them in various ways (e.g. AI Big Data modeling and analysis), diagnose a situation, and finally outline potential solutions (Problem-solving and decision-making).

We can claim that a human being is an algorithm to some extent. Some people will even go as far as saying that people (we) are “Obsolete Algorithms”. The argument they use is that non-organic algorithms can collect and process data much faster and much more effectively than any human being. Are we, again, getting beyond ourselves?

A leadership dilemma?

“Unless mankind redesigns itself by changing our DNA through altering our genetic makeup, computer-generated robots will take over our world.”

Stephen Hawking

What leaders are going to have to learn is to use (and, yes, trust) the new form of data processing and decision-making. It is not -in our minds-a question of controlling the power of “artificial intelligence” (it is already beyond our human control) but establishing some active partnership with it (we can call it “hybrid intelligence”). A partnership that will be characterized by an integration of inputs coming from both parties resulting in a new alliance between human and artificial minds. We did experience that in the past (to some extent and in a different form) when we initiated a partnership between the human mind and the machines, we invented…

Human beings will bring to the table their intuition, emotions, and ethical views, and, much more important, a unique perspective of life (the meaning and value).

In short, the use of non-organic intelligence would

  1. give quick access to a great amount of data;
  2. provide an interconnected and logically reliable analysis of facts;
  3. identify and suggest various options for decisions and actions.

Leaders must keep the ultimate power to decide with human ethics in mind (Is it good for us? Is this what we want). It is not going to be easy…

Non-organic leadership?

“I believe that at the end of the century the use of words and general educated opinion will have altered so much that one will be able to speak of machine thinking without expected to be contradicted.”

Alan Turing

Let’s now examine some major changes that NOI is already bringing to the way we live and work together.

In Businesses

It seems that NOI is taking over many industries such as Transportation, Finance (Banking), and Health (surgery) just to name a few. It is already clear that we are becoming more and more dependent on help, and, in some cases, the direction is given by computers and their programming.

Here are some examples of the pluses of non-organic inclusion in our lives:

Finance- Quicker and safer operations,

Transportation-Safer flights, better and faster deliveries of products,

Health care - new machines to diagnose diseases. Accelerations of the creation of new    vaccines,

Security systems – safety on the road and in our cities,

Customer services – Better knowledge of the customers’ needs and expectations.

We are not (yet) dependent on the NOI. We can still ignore it. It seems that we can apply the solution suggested by the algorithm or find another one ourselves. At our own risk!

But is it true? Think about the cost (economic, social, psychological) of ignoring what the NOI is claiming or suggesting.

In Organisations


Most organizations are struggling with three major issues:

  1. How to redistribute the work between people and NOI. That challenge has a tremendous impact on the recruitment of people as well as on the separation of some workers, employees, and managers who have become “Obsolete”.
  2. The financial issues are all connected with the obtention and use of capital in a world where it seems that money has been redefined and its management is largely impacted by the use and control of NOI.
  3. The major redefinition of business and its operations with the growing impact of the new media companies such as Amazon, Microsoft, Meta, Google.

We must also keep in mind that the use of algorithms in teams and organizations brings up many new ethical issues. One of them is for sure the notion of responsibility. Who is still in charge?

In Society

But maybe the most important impact of NOI is on our ways of thinking, feeling, and behaving. Another revolution of our human cognitive power. There is no question (in many people’s minds) that non-organic intelligence is in the process of altering our ways to see the world and our position in that world. Not only are we experiencing a series of changes but in many cases, they are subtle, unconscious, and also a major source of (conscious or unconscious) resistance.

Yes, most people (including, of course, leaders), do not have a good grasp of what is happening and feel threatened by the changes offered (imposed?) by the NOI opportunities. Leaders must expect some strong resistance to change with its positive and negative dimensions.

The new “invisible hand”

“They are led by an invisible hand to make nearly the same distribution of the necessaries of life, which would have been made, had the earth been divided in equal portions among all its inhabitants”

Adam Smith

It seems true that the NOI is pushing us in new forms of being (individually and socially). Once again, we are experiencing a revolution in our human existence. Nobody can predict what’s going to happen to us and yet we can certainly state the following:

  1. Non-organic intelligence is just what we need to face the major life issues that we have created through greed and damaging (largely unconscious drives). Yes, there is a possibility that we have missed a “turn” in our evolution as living beings. Besides its numerous benefits, there is a negative scenario we must face e.g. the reduction of privacy in our human lives. Are we getting into the famous “1984” way of living?
  2. Our survival as a species requires a dramatic change in the way we organize ourselves at the international level. The challenge is Time! We do not have much time left to re-invent the way we manage our collective life on the planet. Do we?
  3. Pessimism is not going to help us survive and make sure that the next generations will have a chance to live better lives. A new type of leadership is in order. Up to us all to redefine it and fight for it.

Maybe the new invisible hand will take care of it. Does it care?

Flash Survey

We asked Mr. Eoin Banahan (Adjunct Professor (Organisational Behaviour), Managing Director, RoundRose Associates Ltd) to share his views on the points presented in the article:

“The ongoing advances in so-called “non-organic intelligence” is a key feature of the evolving Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR). Technological advances in the combination of big data, sophisticated algorithms, and cloud computing are opening up exciting opportunities for the future in every sphere of life. However, as with every technological revolution, there are risks to be identified and addressed as we progress. We have learned a valuable lesson from the past: Whilst we may slow down the pace of technological progress, we can never stop it. 

The authors are quite correct in highlighting the fact that such technologies are forcing us to question many of the fundamental assumptions that provide a foundation for our understanding of the world in which we live and our place within it, as one species amongst many. The anxieties we feel as a result are real, but we must not allow such fears to cloud our imagination. This is not the time for hysteria. 

Ongoing advances in “non-organic intelligence” provide us with the opportunity to address complicatedness more effectively but our continuing evolution depends on our ability to create and innovate, both of which are products of complex adaptive systems in which behavior is emergent. The challenge of complexity, as opposed to complicatedness, will continue to require organic intelligence rather than AI.  

Therefore, the focus for leadership must be directed towards how such technologies can help us collaborate more effectively, in addressing the complex challenges, and foreseeable risks to the survival of our species, which the light of scientific discovery continues to reveal. Leadership is the critical influencing mechanism which ensures the emergence of creativity and innovation in complex adaptive systems, and we have good reason to feel confident that “non-organic intelligence” will not change that dynamic”. 

PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED AT: https://sloveniatimes.com/

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