“Computers can’t learn humour” says President NASSCOM at NDIM campus

In the race for professionalism, state of the art technology and success, one thing has gone missing in our world-the human touch. Our business world is divided into B2B, B2C and now C2C, but isn’t something critical being left out in this classification. Perhaps H2H or Human to Human element in our interactions is what is often missing in our world.

So when I met Mr VM Bansal, Chairman of NDIM, his warmth and human touch took me by surprise. When we talked in detail about the unique features of the institute, he especially emphasized about his open door policy for parents and students and the warm welcome they get every time. He also shared with pride, "MBA at NDIM is internationally accredited by the International rating body, ASIC (UK) with Premier College Status," a rare international recognition.

R. Chandrashekhar, President NASSCOM visits NDIM

The kind of exposure students get at NDIM is certainly a class apart. Recently NDIM had invited Mr R. Chandrashekhar, President, NASSCOM for a talk and interaction with students. A humble person with an impressive profile. After receiving M.Sc- Chemistry from IIT, Bombay, he obtained a M.S.in Computer Science from Pennsylvania State University, USA.

He was conferred the Prime Minister’s Award for Excellence in Public Administration for the year 2007-08. He has been conferred several awards including Data Quest Path Breaker of the Year Award in 2005 and Distinguished Alumnus award of IIT-Mumbai in 2010. Mr. Chandrashekhar was the Chairman, Telecom Commission and Secretary, Department of Telecommunication, Government of India till 2013. He is an IAS officer and was also a member of the government's technology advisory group, TAGUP.

A Dose of Humour

He began his talk to NDIM students on a humourous note by saying, “Management professionals think I am an IT professional. IT professionals think I am a management professional.” Then he shared a very interesting story about management and IT professionals.

A man was flying on a hot air balloon once and got lost. He landed at an unknown place and asked a man standing there, “Can you tell me where am I?”

The man replied, “You are in a hot air balloon and you are 50 metres up in the air.”

The man in the balloon frowned and replied, “You must be an IT professional. All your information is perfectly accurate and yet totally useless.”

The man on the ground got irritated too and replied, “You must be a management professional. You have no idea where you are. You have no idea where you want to go. And after seeking my guidance, you want to make me a scapegoat for your failures.”

Five Forces Shaping our World

After making everyone laugh and smile, he proceeded to share five macro forces which are shaping our world. The five forces are:-

1) Rise of emerging markets

2) Ageing of global population

3) Power of disruptive technologies

4) Integrating the world

5) Nature of (geo) politics

He shared interesting and powerful examples to illustrate his points. He noted Geriatric care is becoming an area of concern for Japan as a large percentage of population has grown old and old age care requires lots of funds, time and attention of the authorities, while less younger people are available for jobs.

Technology is available to everyone

He emphasised that technology is no more a differentiator. Today customers ask technology providers, “My competitors have a similar technology. What benefit will I get by buying this technology? What USP does your technology add to my product or organisation?”

He shared an apocryphal story about Henry Ford in this context. Once Henry Ford took the trade union leader to his automated production line (with robots) and told him, “Will these robots also join your trade union?”

Walter, the trade union chief quipped, “I will make them join the trade union once you make them buy your cars.”

The New Unicorn

He talked about the new unicorn of today’s world. (Earlier, Unicorn was a mythical animal typically represented as a horse with a single straight horn projecting from its forehead) Today Unicorn means a company with a billion dollars plus valuation. He answered few questions from students after his speech and was thereafter invited for a cup of tea.

Computers can't learn humour

I had a half an hour interaction with Mr R. Chandrashekhar discussing a host of topics from artificial intelligence to social rebellion. He shared that during his masters in USA, he had studied and researched artificial intelligence in depth. 

When I asked him, "How are other management institutes integrating IT in management?", he shared that with so many responsibilities, he rarely gets time to visit institutes. He explained the trans disciplinary skills that industry will need in near future. NDIM (faculty) plans to develop modules to impart these skills to students and others.

What I loved the most was his statement, "Computers/ robots with all their artificial intelligence find it easy to do complex tasks and find it difficult to do easy tasks."

When I told him about a popular blog post on how computers are writing better blogs than human beings, he shared, "Computers can write blogs but can't learn humour. Computers can do calculus but can't spread bedsheets on the bed. Computer and human brain are wired very differently. So the best combination is still man/woman + machine".

So I joked, "That means artificial intelligence cannot bring even artificial smiles on the faces of people, forget natural".

And he smiled……..of course naturally.

Brief Profile

Dr Amit Nagpal, PhD is a Business Storyteller, Speaker and Digital Storytelling Coach. He is also Advisor at Story Mirror and expert panel member at Centre for CSR, BRICS Chambers. He is one of the pioneers of digital storytelling in India. After working for more than two decades in academics, and corporates (including publishing, television and digital marketing), he realised teaching is meditation and storytelling is his Nirvana.

He is also Chief Inspirational Storyteller at AL Services. AL Services has co-created stories of some of the most inspiring people in India and abroad. He tweets at @DrAmitInspires. To connect / follow on social media, visit about.me


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