Before you begin...
RPA, or robotic process automation, is becoming an increasingly disruptive force within the global economy. A complete transformation of labour — a Fourth Industrial Revolution — is already upon us, driven by advances in the areas of artificial intelligence. AI has already begun to impact both the philosophy and practice of business, and as it accelerates to include a wider range of applications, will become increasingly intertwined in all areas of life.
For millennial workers today, the workplace is changing beneath our feet. Technology jobs may offer flexible perks and benefits, and technology itself clears a path for efficiencies untold — but is there anything lost in the ongoing quest to further quantify, automate, and outsource natural human intelligence? A thorough examination of its ethical implications is imperative as both its power and reach becomes more total.
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The Evolution of Automation
The evolution of technology triggers an avalanche of societal and economic consequences. And the greater marriage of human intelligence to machine intelligence has, throughout history, meant many unforeseen changes. Incorporating more advanced AIs into our world means many new questions, as these bots are (at least in some sense) working as functional participants in society. How should they be programmed to make choices that reflect an ethical awareness and responsibility?
AIs, fundamentally, are computer programs capable of autonomous decision-making. Within the last 300 years, automation technology has disrupted the lives of all human workers. When work first moved from the farm to the factory in the 19th century, labour met a new reality — the meaning of a “job” was redefined as people left behind an agricultural life for public work in mills and factories powered by machinery. Automated manufacturing gained further momentum during World War II in the manufacture of military supplies. In the 1950s and 60s, following the war, the United States experienced a second period of industrial upheaval. Many companies introduced newly sophisticated computers to the workforce, automating processes and functions to gain competitive advantage.
The 1960s were defined by a willingness and a capacity to challenge the status quo — in 1964, IBM introduced the first mass-produced computer operating system, setting to motion today’s fast-paced era of digital innovation. Today, the combined force of digital technology and automation continues to redefine the nature of “work” and what the future of jobs will look like.
Erik Brynjolfsson, a professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management, and his collaborator Andrew McAfee, imagine that “Digital technologies — with hardware, software, and networks at their core — will in the near future diagnose diseases more accurately than doctors can, apply enormous data sets to transform retailing, and accomplish many tasks once considered uniquely human.” To come out ahead in the oncoming “race against the machines” depends on “recognizing the problem and taking steps such as investing more in the training and education of workers.”
Evolving With Automation
Millennials are the largest generation working today. Employees in this demographic — digital natives — do have a much easier time adapting to new technology and digital workflows compared to older generations. Many millennial workers don’t want to find ways to conform to old, outdated business practices. When faced with a sluggish traditional job market, swathes of the millennial labour force have moved online to participate in the growing “gig” economy. New platforms, like UpWork, TaskRabbit, and Textbroker, allow economic activities to be accomplished by on-demand freelancers rather than full-time employees.
The future, they say, belongs to the fast. And according to futurist Dr. James Canton, “It is largely a matter of coevolution. With automation driving down value in some activities and increasing the value of others, we redesign our work processes so that people are focused on the areas where they can deliver the most value by partnering with machines to become more productive.”
Many workers in the “millennial” generation realize that in order to compete with computers, they must complete “natural intelligence” tasks with ever-greater speed and efficiency. This means handing out certain jobs to automation software, or even intelligent digital assistants. While there may be less paid work available for IT specialists, accountants, or even customer relations associates in the future, “social” skills and roles requiring collaboration with both humans and machines are in increasingly greater demand.
However fast it will happen, there’s no doubt that a great shift is on the horizon. Working alongside “intelligent” bots and navigating the new digital economy will demand fearlessness in the face of digital automation. Remember we are only human, but in the future, that may be our greatest advantage.
4 Key Steps To Heal From Any Kind Of Trauma
- The Facts:
Trauma can be seen as stress that has been trapped in the body. It can affect our daily life in many ways, and given our neuroplastic brain, trauma can create undesirable habits if gone unchecked.
- Reflect On:
Do you feel consistent stress? Perhaps unexplainable low energy? Feeling as though you are on edge for no reason? This could be a sign of a body and nervous system stuck in a trauma trained pattern.
Before you begin...
Trauma can be challenging, but the moment we are willing to do work on it is the moment that so much potential for healing and growth opens up. The more aware we are of the bigger picture, the less we suffer.
As a general rule, the mind clings to negative, fear-based experiences as a biological survival mechanism. But when we can consciously step outside of our own stories, outdated beliefs, and personal perspective, we can empower personal transformation through self-awareness.
Below are some useful questions to ask yourself in different instances of trauma. They are designed to help clear your mind, open your heart, and begin the healing process.
1. Life Is About Evolution. Find The Lesson In Your Experience
The Big Bang has revealed a universe to us that is radically evolutionary. It is constantly growing, evolving, and developing, and has been for more than 14 billion years. Life is evolution. It is an ongoing process of transformation and conscious expansion. This is a natural law, and this means that from a higher perspective, all of the experiences in our lives are happening for us, not “to” us.
While things may create suffering on an egoic level, there is often a different layer of meaning from a higher perspective. You must be willing to look for the hidden order in your perceived chaos. Ask yourself:
What am I supposed to learn?
How did I play a part in the creation of this, and what habits or behaviours do I need to clear?
How can I grow from this?
These questions will take you out of a state of learned helplessness and begin shifting your mind to focus on the solution rather than the problem.
I recently worked with a client whose house burnt down. She was overcome with grief. While discussing the situation, she mentioned to me that it was also days within the ten-year anniversary of her husband’s death.
I asked her if she felt that the two situations were somehow connected. Right away, she mentioned that she had still kept all of her husband’s belongings in that house and their bedroom exactly the same, more than ten years later.
She also mentioned how consistently her family begged her to move on. One family member specifically said to her, “If you don’t let go and choose to move on, the universe will eventually force you to.” She felt that this was a lesson in moving forward in her life, and in letting go. She also knew that by holding on so tightly to the past, she was preventing new love and peace of mind from entering her life.
She knew it was time to let go, and as challenging as it would be, it couldn’t be more painful than spending every day trying to pretend that nothing had changed.
Finding the lesson is an important first step to opening our minds to the evolutionary process, and finding a higher meaning in the sequence of events occurring in our lives.
“The wound is the place where the light enters.” – Rumi
2. See The Other Side
Beyond simply learning from our experiences, we can also find the hidden benefits in all of the circumstances we are faced with.
Our beliefs and expectations will often create one-sided stories in our mind about whether events are good or bad. This often causes us to focus primarily on the drawbacks of unmet expectations. And yet the exact events that challenge us most in life often have the greatest unseen blessings embedded within them.
Ask yourself, “What are the unseen benefits of this traumatic experience?”
Based on the natural laws of duality that exist on our planet, this technique I’ve learned from Dr. Nima Rahmany in The Overview Method is very effective. It works to un-filter your selective perception so that you can see both sides in a traumatic situation.
Where are you being supported in the face of this challenge? How is this trauma actually supporting the things you care about most in your life?
If you are courageous enough, you will be willing to go directly into the challenges you face, open up your perspective, and do the work. The more benefits you find, the closer you will get to neutralizing the feeling of loss within yourself.
3. Look Beyond Your Perspective
There is a difference between pain and suffering. Pain is a feedback loop, while suffering is the story we create about the pain itself. It adds another layer to our pain
If someone else has hurt you, ask yourself: “Why, according to this person’s life story and perception of events, did this person feel justified in making their decision?”
Every single one of us makes a decision because the combination of our conscious + subconscious mind believes there are more benefits than drawbacks in that decision.
This means that everyone is always doing the best they can with what they understand at the time. And more often than not, the people who do the most careless or destructive things are often the ones hurting the most.
The same principle applies to you also, meaning that the notion of having regret is illusory. It is based on only being able to see the conscious mind’s perspective, putting us in a state of limited awareness. If we could open up the selective filter and see the bigger picture, we would find that the subconscious mind saw greater benefits in our decision at the time, that we weren’t consciously aware of.
In the words of Yehuda Berg, “Hurt people, hurt people.” With awareness and understanding, we can work to break the cycle.
4. Find What’s Missing
In the case of a traumatic loss, developed by Dr. John DeMartini:
All positive and negative particles in the universe are created simultaneously, in perfect one-to-one balance. We are made of these particles, and if these laws apply to all matter (in both quantum mechanics and classical physics), they must apply to the whole.
This perfect one-to-one balance exists within all things, but our senses create imbalanced perceptions. It is completely normal to become attached to the form of what we’ve lost, but it can be very healing to find where what we’re missing still exists in our lives.
Ask yourself, “What do I miss about who/what I’ve lost?”
For example, let’s say that you’ve lost a friend and you miss:
- His sense of humour
- Having deep conversations with him
- Playing video games
- His awesome hugs
Keep listing until you’ve covered all of the things you miss about that person.
Now, see where these things still appear in your life, but in different forms:
- Who do you laugh with now/who has a good sense of humour?
- Who do you have deep conversations with now?
Go through all of the traits that you’ve listed. Sometimes, you’ll have to look very carefully to open up your selective perception. The things you miss in your friend might not only come in the form of other people. For example, you might laugh with your aunt or siblings more often, but you might also find yourself watching more comedy television or funny videos.
If you look carefully, you will find that what you’re missing isn’t actually gone, it has only changed forms. Universal laws state that everything is always in a state of balance, a state of wholeness. While grieving is a necessary part of dealing with trauma, it is often the form we are attached to that creates the most suffering.
Then, what are the benefits of these new forms, that the old one didn’t have?
Some of these questions can be challenging to go through, but if you truly want to create transformation, they are well worth it.
Love yourself enough to do the work, ask the questions, and set yourself free. You deserve it.
Four Key Elements Of “True Love” According To The Teaching of The Buddha
- The Facts:
Thich Nhat Hanh, a Vietnamese Buddhist Monk explains the four key elements of "true love" according to the teaching of the Buddha.
- Reflect On:
Where does our idea of love come from these days? How much of it is influenced by pop culture? Is a relationship necessary to experience true love, is it something we can experience within ourselves and with our relationship with family and friends?
Before you begin...
What is love? What is ‘true’ love? Can it even be defined? Is it even dependant on being in a relationship with someone? Our idea of what true love is today may comes from a fairytale, movie, or reality TV show, and the definition has likely changed many times. But we all have certain conditions attached to our idea of what love is, or some sort of criteria drawn up for what our ‘perfect match’ would look like, and I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that. Perhaps true love is much more simple than popular culture would have us believe. As Thich Nhat Hanh (a Vietnamese Buddhist Monk) explains below, if there is love/kindness, compassion, joy, and inclusiveness, according to Buddhist teaching, you are experiencing true love. It’s pretty simple. True love doesn’t necessarily have to be something magical that sprung out of a fairy tale, although if that’s the case there’s nothing wrong with that either.
The main points taken from the video are that love and kindness have the power to create happiness. When you are able to develop feelings of joy and happiness in yourself, that’s true love, offered to yourself. If you can generate these feelings, and help the other person generate these feelings, that’s true love. So, if you are a source of joy and happiness for another, that is true love. True love is the capacity to make yourself suffer less, and help the other person suffer less. “There is an art of suffering. If you know how to suffer, you suffer much, much less.” Practice compassion and it will grow and if love does not generate joy, it’s not love. If love makes the other person cry every day, it’s not love.
It seems that “true love” can be a choice. You can choose to be in a relationship and cultivate these feelings with anybody. “True love is capable of generating joy for yourself and for the other person.” What do you think ‘true love’ is?
9 Common Traits Among People Who Are Genuinely Happy
- The Facts:
Below is a list of common traits I've observed in people who are genuinely happy. It's a great list and something we can all learn and grow from.
- Reflect On:
Is happiness dependent on external factors, or is it something found within? These common traits have nothing to do with the material world, but more so represent changes we can all make within, a shift in consciousness.
Before you begin...
Happiness: the term thrown around more often than any other when people are asked what they aspire to most in life. A loving partner, a fun high-paying job, and endless world travel are also among some of the most common answers, but all of these are preference-based means to the one ultimate end, which is happiness.
Being so sought-after, I thought I’d put together a list of traits that seem to be common to happy people — and I’m talking about the genuinely happy people, not just those who appear to be so on the surface.
In compiling this list I’m not suggesting that these are the only keys to happiness; I simply hope to shed light on some common characteristics I’ve noticed happy people share. I am also not implying that happy people don’t experience moments and periods of unhappiness in their lives.
1. Love Themselves For Who They Are
On the surface this may sound incredibly egotistical, but I simply mean that they are truly comfortable in their own shoes. They accept and embrace their physical appearance, they maintain their true character traits regardless of whether or not they receive approval for them, and they work to make the best of the human experience they are living, rather than wallow in what others would define as weaknesses or shortcomings.
2. See Relationships as an Extension To, Rather Than the Basis Of, The Human Experience
Relationships, whether friendly, familial, or romantic, are certainly one of the greatest parts of the human experience. However, far too many of us let their presence or absence, and even more so the value we attribute to them, dictate our overall happiness in life. I’ve found that genuinely happy people tend to find complete contentment within themselves, and see all relationships as the awesome extension of their already complete self. It’s often when we are not looking for others to fill a particular void, or to make us feel a certain way, that most of our truest and most valuable relationships form.
3. Embrace Change
Life is a constant lesson and happy people tend to be well aware of that. Not only are they always open to change, but they truly listen to suggestions, respect and consider all opinions, and take criticism constructively rather than with offence.
4. Celebrate Rather Than Despair in the Accomplishments of Others
Jealousy is a killer, and as Gary Allan once said, “You can be the moon and still be jealous of the stars.” We are all capable of accomplishing anything in this life and are the only ones that are going to find the drive within ourselves to do it. Rather than observe and compare to those who have accomplished, the truly happy tend to celebrate those successes and use them as motivation to accomplish more within their own lives.
5. Never Dwell in Being a Victim
We’ve all been the so-called “victim” of several things in life, whether it be an unexpected breakup, job termination, or even domestic abuse. Truly happy people tend to be those who choose not to dwell in the feeling of having been wronged. They choose to let their difficult experiences strengthen them, rather than wear them as a badge of weakness or as the thing that makes them consistently worthy of receiving sympathy.
6. They Live in the Present
As fun as reminiscing about the past or fantasizing about the future can be, nothing will ever be done in anything but the present and happy people tend to realize that. Not only that, they use that knowledge as motivation to make the most of each and every moment. In addition to being motivating, presence can also come in handy for truly appreciating those moments of relaxation, allowing yourself to be truly in them rather than distracted by future concerns.
7. Trust That Everything Happens For a Reason
This can easily be paired with the choice against victimhood, but happy people tend to trust the process and existence of everything in their life. They know that nothing is ever too big to handle and choose to embrace what life is currently throwing at them rather than cowering at the sight of it or wallowing in self-pity.
8. They Don’t Let Money Dictate Their Lives
Nobody is denying that, in this world right now, we all need money to exist, and as a result, many of us spend the bulk of our lives doing things that help us earn it. What I’ve found sets happy people apart is that they don’t let money be the ultimate dictator in their life. They still make sensible choices within their means, but they never let money: A) prevent them from pursuing a so-called “risky” passion, B) be the factor that is blamed for why their life is so miserable, or C) complain about how little they have. There are creative ways to do everything in this world, and only recognizing and valuing the traditional ways of making money cripples that creativity.
9. Look Within For Solutions
One of the most powerful realizations a genuinely happy person will often operate based on is “change starts within.” The empowerment that comes with not only realizing this truth but also using it as the backbone to everything in life can be quite remarkable. There are thousands of books, mantras, techniques, and practices out there that can all help us to find solutions to so many things in life, but they all require one thing to truly be serviceable: the consciousness to support them.
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