Transhumanism and Discrimination in the Future of Work

25 |There has been a lot of talk about diversity and inclusion as it pertains to the workplace. Do a search on duck duck go or some other search engine and you will no doubt discover countless articles about it. Yet, as I review several of the articles linked to from the search results, no one seems to be talking about a new demographic of workers that will no doubt disrupt the future world of work. What is the population I’m talking about? What is the one characteristic they all share? Well, in a word – transhumanism. Listen to this podcast to hear about future HR issues that will surely come.


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About the host:

Over the past decade, Jim Stroud has built an expertise in sourcing and recruiting strategy, public speaking, lead generation, video production, podcasting, online research, competitive intelligence, online community management and training. He has consulted for such companies as Microsoft, Google, MCI, Siemens, Bernard Hodes Group and a host of startup companies. During his tenure with Randstad Sourceright, he alleviated the recruitment headaches of their clients worldwide as their Global Head of Sourcing and Recruiting Strategy.  He now serves ClickIQ as its VP, Product Evangelist.

PODCAST TRANSCRIPT

There has been a lot of talk about diversity and inclusion as it pertains to the workplace. Do a search on duck duck go or some other search engine and you will no doubt discover countless articles about it. Yet, as I review several of the articles linked to from the search results, no one seems to be talking about a new demographic of workers that will no doubt disrupt the future world of work. What is the population I’m talking about? What is the one characteristic they all share? Well, in a word – transhumanism. I’ll explain what that is after this.


I have a question for Talent Acquisition Managers, how many jobs do you advertise a year? 100? 500? 10,000 or more? If so, let me give you a tip on how to maximize your job adverting budget. And that tip is, ClickIQ.

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So, talent acquisition managers, if you want to make sure you are getting the most value out of your job advertising budget, I highly suggest you check out ClickIq online at www.clickiq.us. Or, you can email me directly. My email is jim at-click-dot-us

That’s right! I was so impressed by the technology behind ClickIQ that I joined the company. I think you will be impressed as well.Again, on the web – www.clickiq.us or email me directly jim at-click-dot-us.

You’ll be glad you did.

Wikipedia defines transhumanism this way, “Transhumanism is an international intellectual movement that aims to transform the human condition by developing and making widely available sophisticated technologies to greatly enhance human intellect and physiology.”

Transhumanism.org says, transhumanism is a way of thinking about the future that is based on the premise that the human species in its current form does not represent the end of our development but rather a comparatively early phase.

The definition I like the most is the one I found at CARM.org. They define transhumanism as the idea that human beings, as a whole, can be drastically improved in physical and mental areas with technologies, such as cloning, genetic modification, bionics, nanotechnology, drugs, etc.

The concept reminds me of an old TV show, “The Six Million Dollar Man.” In the show, an astronaut crashes to earth and scientists rebuild his body with bionic parts enabling him to run faster, see great distances and lifts tons of weight.

{clip from the TV show}

The Six Million Dollar Man was science fiction from the 1970’s. I’m sure you can imagine that the progress of technology is such that implanting technology inside of our bodies is not too hard to imagine. I mean, what are pacemakers? But pacemakers are one thing, they don’t give someone a competitive advantage in the workplace. What happens when the technology implanted inside someone gives them a competitive edge in the office? Would they be seen as the most qualified people, as far as recruiters and hiring managers are concerned? If so, how is that fair to all the other workers who don’t have that implanted technology? And if they discovered that they were at a disadvantage, how would they likely react? Well, I have a case study for you.

Oscar Pistorius can run a quarter mile in 45.07 seconds — fast enough to compete in the 2012 Olympic Games. And he did it without feet. Oscar was born without the bones that attach ankles to knees, so the South African had to have his legs amputated halfway down his calves as a baby. Years later as an adult, Pistorius runs on specialized prosthetics: crescent blades made of carbon fiber that attach to his knees called “Cheetah Flex-Feet.” As a double-amputee, Oscar holds world records for the 100-, 200- and 400-meter dashes. In 2007, he began competing against — and beating — world-class, able-bodied athletes. But amid his incredible success, some of Pistorius’ opponents have objected.

Here’s a quote from a 2012 article on Oscar Pistorious, it says…

“Late in 2007, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) ruled that [Oscar Pistorious’] artificial limbs were actually giving him an unfair advantage — that their springiness allowed him to push off the ground more efficiently than does a normal human ankle, letting him coast along at higher speeds using less exertion than other sprinters. [As a result] He was banned from able-bodied competition.

However, thanks to subsequent research and testimony led by biophysicist Hugh Herr, head of the Biomechatronics Research Group at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the IAAF overturned the previous ruling.”

I think in the future, the near-future, arguments similar to this will be had at a workplace near you. Someone will have a perceived technological advantage and those without it will protest. In the end, whatever brings more profit to the company will win out.

Consider this possibility, the car company – FORD has their assembly line workers wearing exoskeletons  which helps them lift and hold car parts overhead. The exoskeletons reduce wear and tear on employee’s bodies. As of August 2018, 15 Ford factories in seven countries are now wearing exoskeleton vests to reduce fatigue and injury. I don’t know much about exoskeleton technology so, take what I say next, with a grain of salt.

In the future, when it comes to hiring more assembly line workers for a car factory, experience with exoskeletons may be a requirement. If so, would someone with prosthetic limbs be the better hire? A careful analysis of data proves that people with prosthetic limbs are cheaper for a company to insure because, in the event of an accident, artificial limbs are easily replaced. As such, candidates with artificial limbs represent a lower risk to an enterprise than someone with all-natural born limbs. So, is it discrimination to hire those with artificial limbs or a logical business action based on data?

If you think that is just too… I don’t know… something. Here are a few more possibilities to wrap your brain around. And keep in mind, all of these examples are true. In fact, you can find the links to everything I cite on JimStroud.com.

Back in 2017, scientists were using electro-ence-pha-lography (EEG) sensors to pick up and monitor brain activity. A company called Neurosky used that technology to take pictures and post them to Facebook and Twitter just by thinking about it. Taking that into consideration, who is more qualified to be a Social Media Manager? A human with EEG brain implants who can post to social media at the speed of thought or someone without that technology implanted inside them? In a fast-paced political era and short news cycles, candidates with EEG brain implants are preferred by companies seeking every competitive edge they can get. So, that being said, is it discrimination for companies to give preference to candidates with EEG brain implants over those without it?

In 2014, researchers from Harvard University were able to send a simple mental message from one person in India to another person in France; essentially proving “brain to brain” communication. [I talked about this before in an earlier podcast.] So, that being said, when it comes to hiring Programmers in the future, companies will prefer to hire programmers that can work telepathically because they are more efficient.  As a result, candidates without telepathic implants that empower brain to brain communication may not be hired as much. Is this a discriminatory practice or simply the most efficient way to work? 

And then, there are designer babies. Back in 2017, scientists in the United States have successfully corrected a disease-causing mutation by altering genetic structure of a human embryo. Purpose being, genes that carry certain diseases will not be passed on to “newborns.” [I talked about this in an earlier podcast too.]  Now consider all of the ramifications of employing designer babies and the biases become apparent. Companies that focus on hiring “designer babies” can brag that they offer exorbitant healthcare benefits because it is unlikely certain diseases and conditions would even occur.  Designer babies tend to have IQs higher than the national average due to their genetic enhancements. They tend to be better educated since designer babies tend to come from wealthy families that can afford such treatments. Most of all, due to so many social advantages, designer babies have social connections which would be assets to any business development effort. Such being the case, is it discriminatory to target these individuals for high-paying jobs over non-genetically altered human beings? Or simply, the best business strategy?

 Sigh… The possibilities are enough to freak you out, if you let it. Don’t let it.

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Music related to this podcast:

► Music Credit: LAKEY INSPIRED Track Name: “Better Days” Music By: LAKEY INSPIRED @ https://soundcloud.com/lakeyinspired Original upload HERE – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RXLzv… Official “LAKEY INSPIRED” YouTube Channel HERE – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCOmy… License for commercial use: Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported “Share Alike” (CC BY-SA 3.0) License. Full License HERE – https://creativecommons.org/licenses/… Music promoted by NCM https://goo.gl/fh3rEJ

► Music Credit: LAKEY INSPIRED Track Name: “Blue Boi” Music By: LAKEY INSPIRED @ https://soundcloud.com/lakeyinspired Original upload HERE – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wAukv… Official “LAKEY INSPIRED” YouTube Channel HERE – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCOmy… License for commercial use: Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported “Share Alike” (CC BY-SA 3.0) License. Full License HERE – https://creativecommons.org/licenses/… Music promoted by NCM https://goo.gl/fh3rEJ

► Music Credit: Nkato Track Name: “Chill Soul Rap Instrumental” Music By: Nkato @ https://soundcloud.com/nkato Original upload HERE – https://soundcloud.com/nkato/chill-so… License for commercial use: Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0) https://creativecommons.org/licenses/…

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