There is little doubt that today’s technological revolution has had a positive impact on society. There are bio-medical advancements that include exciting nanotechnologies to predict, monitor and treat a wide variety of medical and mental illnesses. There is also technology that can predict catastrophic and devastating natural disasters, such as earthquakes and tsunamis, weeks in advance, allowing for safer evacuation and the avoidance of greater death tolls. Despite these advances, the need for human connection in business cannot be replaced.
Technologies such as smartphones, drones, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, alternative energies and more, are coming at us faster than we can absorb their applications.
The long-term positive effects are evident in many ways, including huge improvements in global life expectancies, reductions in natural disaster death tolls, huge reductions in war death tolls over the past decade and vast accessibility to communication around the world.
It’s undeniable that technology has brought tremendous improvements to global quality of life. This revolution is truly mind-blowing.
… And negatives
At the same time, all the technology in the world can never replace the most important human needs — connection, meaning and love. Robots and computers can never provide that genuine connection.
Regardless of increases in wealth, efficiency, speed and convenience, the human need for love, support and understanding remain. In fact, looking at the anxiety levels in today’s society is evidence that all of this technology is damaging people’s personal sense of peace or calm.
It’s just a tool
As business leaders, we need to recognize that technology must be considered a tool or facilitator to achieve a greater good. Technology for technology’s sake will only solve transactional problems.
When we look at technology in context, coupled with the need for connection, business can build both community and brand value.
Case in point … look at social media. When handled properly, it builds communities, families and support systems. As with everything we do, our actions are fully transparent, which means truly caring for our employees, customers and the community. It is not a marketing strategy you can task an ad agency to create. People want (and actually need) to be listened to. Technology can facilitate that relationship.
At Donatos, we are using the technologies of machine learning, artificial intelligence and digital communication as tools to serve a higher purpose, which is to forge meaningful relationships. This sense of family is a more important cause than any production or financial efficiency.
Those who force technology without purpose or a meaningful end state will only feed the frenzy and fan the flames of anxiety.
Tom Krouse is the president and CEO of Donatos Pizza. Tom has over three decades of restaurant industry experience, countless civic contributions and an award-winning career in marketing and management.