In conversations with the team, a discussion came about asking the question: What will empowerment look like when we become an interplanetary species.
The Martian. When I finally watched it, felt like the perfect metaphor for what we’re seeing in businesses around empowerment. (For those who haven’t watched the movie yet, don’t worry there are no big spoilers here).
To quote Matt Damon’s character Mark Watney, “If the Oxygenator breaks down, I’ll suffocate. If the water reclaimer breaks down, I’ll die of thirst. If the Hab beaches, I’ll just kind of implode. If none of those things happen. I’ll
eventually run out of food and starve to death. So yeah. I’m fucked.”
At this point in the movie, the character had a choice to either blame his crew and mission control centre who abandoned him and wait for someone to rescue him, or choose to take responsibility for his own life and take action.
This is the principle of cause and effect. We often see this behaviour in the workplace and it’s interesting to see when someone is in effect vs cause,
recognisable by their words and actions.
Mark’s chooses to “science the shit out of it”, in order to survive. By being resourceful and creative with the tools in the space station and skills and training as an astronaut he takes action. Perhaps this is what empowerment looks like as we start to establish the framework for life on another planet.
It’s less about finding ways to empower or be empowered, but a fundamental necessity in order to sustain and create life as an interplanetary species.
It’s common to hear the phrase empower your staff in business loosely used, a buzzword that is thrown around without proper consideration for why what and how. Leaders and managers who preach empowerment without providing their teams with the right tools or training is almost common practice.
What if AI could provide the right framework for our teams to be empowered, rather than relying on human leadership to set the foundations? We’re already seeing the many possibilities and realities of where AI is replacing human labour across so many sectors such as education, finance, tourism to name a few.
We’re seeing tech companies building AI machines that mimic human characteristics and behaviours as well the ability to interpret the emotions of the user. SK-II’s new brand ambassador, ‘YUMI’ is, in fact, an AI.
YUMI is a New Zealand company Soul Machines’ creation, designed to develop her own personality traits over time, solving customer queries on skincare and provide advice in multiple languages. With these development well and truly underway, it will be exciting to see how AI will continue to build human experiences in the workplace and life in general.
Just like Matt Damon’s character in the Martian, we can choose to empower ourselves using the resources and tools around us while leveraging the skills and training we’ve gained.
If you’re in a leadership or management level, have a think about what tools, training or framework you provide your teams to be empowered and if you’re the one waiting to be empowered, then I’d say, stop being in effect and get into cause! Remembering that the power of empowerment actually comes from within.