Can we have human-tech experience ?

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On a Thursday evening we decided to go to an iStore (apple shop) to buy an iPhone for my father-in-law in a nearby mall. We were looking around and suddenly my eyes fell on a short guy. I smiled, and he smiled back, and he started walking towards me and we shook hands. I told my wife this is Mohammed. She and my elder daughter remembered him as he was the guy who helped us buy our iPhones in the past. I told him our requirements and Mohammed in his usual best gave us the best deal and I had made up my mind. We finalized the color and it was the moment we were waiting for “Un-boxing the Iphone” moment. Till then it was all fine. Then he irritated me. He did not know my name. It was an off-putting moment. I wondered why did he spoil his own excellent customer experience?

That Saturday we had a Bengali Lunch at a restaurant. Rocky took our orders. What was interesting about Rocky was that whatever we selected he would mention it is not available! Then he would then go on to suggest something interesting. He maintained a very good demeanour and that was a good experience. We accepted and ate what all he ordered for us. I was waiting for the feedback form to literally write what was so good about him and the experience. Since he was not coming, I asked for his details. He requested me to go to Zomato and give recommendations which I politely said I will do. Yes, I tried but the site was down. There goes the feedback and recommendation for Rocky.

I took a late evening flight last week and when I collected my luggage, I saw the driver Mr. Ramesh standing with a placard. He called out my name and welcomed me to the car. I was very happy with the in-car experience, he was dressed well, he didn’t speak on the phone and played some nice songs. I was very happy. I thought he will give me a feedback form. Since that was not forthcoming, I gave him a five-star chocolate!

I was having some futuristic thoughts and then I thought of how we are moving at an incredible pace. Are we moving into a world of humans vs machines or humans with machines?


What if Mohammed had a machine which informed him that:

  • Here is a very valued customer.
  • He has bought 4 times from you.
  • He has had a very good experience in the past and this is his name.
  • He has bought for himself, his wife, his daughter and this time he is buying for his other family member.
  • So, ask him how was his experience with those gadgets and check, for whom is he buying?

What if Rocky got that online feedback automatically from me that yes, I am enjoying the food as well as the ambience. A machine could have told him that the images scanned from the past two hours shows that the customer is enjoying with family and this is a good time to capture that moment for reference through a tab with a rating.

What if Ramesh knew that all the things he did, he had done on purpose? By calling out my name (as they always get the name of passenger), playing those nice songs, which made me emotional as well (Arijit ofcourse) and he mindfully did not pick up any calls while driving. There could have been a device installed to monitor the emotional feel of the passenger and it automatically gives a wifi connectivity and I get to give a 5-star rating for the experience

In the book “Hit Refresh” by Satya Nadella there is a mention of Historian David Mc Cullough who describes how Wilbur Wright used everything he could humanly muster – his mind, body, soul – to coax his gliding machine into flight. The grainy old film shot from a distance fails to capture his grit and determination. But if we could zoom in we’d see his muscles tense, his mind focus, and the very spirit of innovation flow as man and machine soared into the air for the first time, together. When history was made at Kitty Hawk, it was man with machine – not man against machine.

Today we don’t think of aviation as “artificial flight” – its simply flight. In the same way, we should’t think of technological intelligence as artificial, but rather as intelligence that serves to augment human capabilities and capacities.

We can think how human gifts such as creativity of Rocky, empathy of Mohammed and emotions displayed by Ramesh can be mixed with powerful AI computation. The ability to capture substantial amounts of data (in my case my name, my past purchases, my restaurant moods, in car moods and feelings) and do pattern recognition more quickly would have given me a heightened “humantech” experience from just a human experience which was already a given.



11 thoughts on “Can we have human-tech experience ?

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  1. Super Blog Vinod. Surely one of your best.

    Loved the concept of Man and Machine working as reality as compared to Augmented Reality.

    Noticed your innovation of using Video to introduce the blog as a great Value add… and Kudos on this too.

    Keep up the good work.

  2. Excellent concept. This blog expresses your emotion and the need to express your instant gratitude. My thought is, machine as long as it throws past data to you I don’t see any intelligence. Its only when you expect them to react, recommend and decide for you, the intelligence comes into play. Machine intelligence will always remain artificial as they respond based on previous events. However humans, though we take decisions based on past, many at time we need to forgive and forget the past to give our fellow humans a chance. This will be missed by artificial intelligence and this will always make it artificial.

    1. Hi Peter , we can dive deep on the same. I am tracking prescripive analytics in my domain and that will be a discussion for the future. Thanks for your value added suggestions buddy.

  3. When the world is moving towards detached, virtual, non face to face and strictly professional kind of attitude, your incredible indulgence in human tech is really thought provoking and very well written.

  4. Very well written Blog Vinod.

    One best example that comes to my mind who used to be the best in business in terms of treating the customers and their emotions was King Fisher Airlines where you were indeed treated like a king by the king of good times n his crew if you were a frequent flyer. It was luxury at its best and of different class altogether. Machine data was used to the maximum to give that human touch when the customer decided to fly again…

    Your blog took me back to those days buddy… Good one, keep writing

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