This is the third part of a three part series on cyborgs in the workplace. If you haven’t read Cyborgs At Work Part 1: Are you for real? and Cyborgs at Work Part 2: The Technology, I suggest you start there.
Cyborgs in the workplace might seem like a distant reality but personally I don’t think we are far off a significant tipping point when it comes to personal technology. It seems that many individuals and organisations are already investing heavily in mobile technology, primarily in smart phones but increasingly in tablet computers such as iPads and Android tablets.
From the work I have done with organisations it seems that much of this investment in mobile technology is being undertaken without a clear objective and no real understanding of what the technology makes possible. As a result there are many examples of stalled iPad pilot programs and a general frustration amongst users as to how to get value out of the devices they have.
Like many new technologies, including the current debate in Australia about the NBN, it is not always clear what benefits will deliver. But this is a small hurdle and with a bit of training, support and time users will identify amazing opportunities to apply mobile technology in unique and valuable ways. I think this will be the tipping point. Just like the problem gambler who’s addiction starts with one big win, I think that when users experience their first big boost to productivity and effectiveness they will immediately start looking for their next ‘hit’.
Unlike other competitive activities, such as elite sport, there are no rules against performance enhancing technologies in business. Once mobile technology moves from the early adopters to the early majority there will be a massive pent up demand that will drive us towards a more seamless integration between people and technology. In a couple of years, as users search out the next big boost to personal effectiveness, wearable technology such as Google Glass will become more common work place. And once you have seen your colleagues walking around with something like Google Glasses on their face most wearable tech will become acceptable.
Given that we already live in a society that is obsessed by its mobile devices this future might seem like a scary prospect. My feeling is we are currently too caught up in the novelty of technology but as we find more and more practical applications for it we will start to see it more as a tool than a toy. As someone who uses mobile technology in my business every day I can vouch for the fact that I rarely want to use it in my down time. In fact I am far more conscious of work-life balance and other quality of life issues than I ever have been previously.
For most, this new world of work is just around the corner, and for some, it is already here. The only question left is ‘what type of technology you will be using when the cyborgs come for your job’?
Photo Credit: XPRIZE Foundation via Flickr