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More About Automation and the Human Touch

Yesterday I wrote about the need for the Human Touch in recruiting. Today’s LA Times has an interview with Leonard Kleinrock, one of the fathers of the internet. While Kleinrock is mostly positive about the impact of the medium on society, he does point out a pitfall that aligns with what I was saying yesterday: That today’s kids are un-learning the basic human skill of reading another human being in person. Kleinrock’s quote: “It [internet] gives them a larger reach, [but] they’re not getting out in the sun, playing with other kids and looking in their eyes and watching their body language as much as they used to, which I think is a shame and can create a kind of indifference in the way in which you deal with your peers. Excesses include things like notifying your significant other [by computer] that you’re no longer significant to them.”

As a society, I think it is worth maintaining this skill of being able to size up what another person means, just by looking at them, and listening to how they express themselves. Parents will have to model this at home, and, in the workplace, I think companies will ultimately have to teach this skill to millennials who would rather text than talk!