It has been a delightful week I must admit. Normally, my week starts on Friday, meaning your Friday is my Monday and your Monday is my Saturday. Yes, I kinda re-arranged the whole thing. That’s the whole reason they call me weird.
The symptoms of what would be a thought-provoking feverish sort of week started with a delightful message (Thursday last week) from SWVL, ‘You know what beats a discount promo? A free promo. Use promo ‘4FREE’ and get 4 free bus rides completely for free’. And just like that, I could head anywhere around Nairobi for free.
SWVL is an Egyptian bus transport service that offers commuter service at affordable prices (relatively, including other types of costs apart from financial), while maintaining high quality and safety standards. Though I had the app on my phone for quite some time, I wasn’t just ready yet to fork out 200 bob for a route that normally costs me half that amount.
On Thursday though, my dear friend ‘free lunch’ came calling and the whole of me shouted Amen! The selfish parts of me wished that they had rides to Mombasa, but that was just a greedy opportunist who had just forgotten his principles. What struck me, anyway, was the kind of comfort and peace the ride brought me.
Boarding normal matatus equals extreme sports but in this coach, all I felt was some kind of serenity and tranquility only equal to the warmness of a cute baby cozily strapped on her mum’s back and staring at me as I crossed the road in Haile Selassie Avenue in Nairobi. I was on my way to meet a Reverend Pastor friend of mind at the All saints cathedral, triggering a conversation that later provoked my mind to think Artificial Intelligence (AI) and emerging tech.
In a previous article, I highlighted how the wave of technology is changing the course of the nature of work. During our convo with Uncle Paul (my Reverend friend), I envisioned a world where we don’t just think of technology in the view of sweeping away our jobs. I saw it in another light. A pregnant present who keeps on giving birth to the future. Optimizing processes, automating routine activities and villagizing the global world among other things; That’s what technology is up to.
In recent times, new technological trends have been accused of dissocializing humans through social media. A paradox it is, isn’t it? Well, the disruption in the workplace now demands soft skills, as the technical part of jobs is being handled by machines. Who would have thought that the villain charged with dissocializing humans, will one-day champion humanity? Other experts will tell you, the only jobs that are safe are the jobs that only humans can do.
AI is engineered to be human-centric and helpful to us in all aspects of our lives. That is to say, we can’t wish it away. All we can think of is how we can augment our relationship with technology. Think of the commuter service buses. While we saw a problem, somebody saw an opportunity; solving a human challenge with a simple technological solution. It is not news anymore that Ai solutions are incorporated in many spheres of our lives. Have you met Robolawyers? Now firms don’t have to incur expansive legal costs. There are now solutions that can intelligently solve your legal issues without a lawyer.
The other day, I was moderating a panel discussion made of alumni of Kenyatta University and it was fascinating to hear of their Pre-mobile phone, before M-Pesa tales. How they had to get their upkeep money via the slow post office. There were no phones, leave alone social media. It was a big mess if you ask me. That was the change back then. 5g connectivity is around the corner which will enable you to download a whole movie in 5 seconds. That’s how fast you and I should keep up with the exponential growth of technology.