The Humachine: Humankind, Machines, and the Future of Enterprise, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Humachine

Humankind, Machines, and the Future of Enterprise, 1st Edition

By Nada R. Sanders, John D. Wood


264 pages | 7 B/W Illus.

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pub: 2019-09-26
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There is a lot of hype, hand waving, and ink being spilled about Artificial Intelligence (AI) in business. The amount of coverage of this topic in the trade press and on shareholder calls is evidence of a large change currently underway. It is awesome and terrifying. You might think of AI as a major environmental factor that is creating an evolutionary pressure that will force enterprise to evolve or perish. For those companies that do survive the "silicon wave" sweeping through the global economy, the issue becomes how to keep their humanity amidst the tumult.

What started as an inquiry into how executives can adopt AI to harness the best of human and machine capabilities turned into a much more profound rumination on the future of humanity and enterprise. This is a wake up call for business leaders across all sectors of the economy. Not only should you implement AI regardless of your industry, but once you do, you should fight to stay true to your purpose, your ethical convictions, indeed your humanity, even as our organizations continue to evolve. While not holding any punches about the dangers posed by AI, this book uniquely surveys where technology is limited, and where the true opportunities lie amidst all the disruptive change currently underway. As such, it is distinctively more optimistic than many of the competing titles on Big Technology.

This is a compelling book that weaves together philosophical, psychological, and legal insights; organizational governance, operations, and strategy; and technological breakthroughs and limitations. The authors set out to identify where humans and machines can best complement one another to create an enterprise greater than the sum total of its parts: the Humachine.

Combining the business and predictive acumen of Professor Nada R. Sanders, PhD (Distinguished Professor at Northeastern University) with the legal and philosophical perspective of John D. Wood, Esq. (Attorney and Member of the New York State Bar) the authors combine their strengths as internationally recognized experts in forecasting and sustainable business to bring us this profound yet accessible book. This is a "must read" for everyone interested in the future of human enterprise.

Table of Contents

List of Figures



"Corporations are People, My Friend"

What Is a Humachine?

Summary of each Chapter


Chapter 1: The Fourth Industrial Revolution

"Deep Blue" Blues

Kasparov’s Law: Triumph Of Process

The New Kid In Town

"Robot Proof" The Workforce: Embracing Moravec’s Paradox

Machines Can’t Do Everything

There Are Worse Things Than Losing Your Job

The Humachine: People, Process, Machines

How To Get There



Chapter 2: Pathways to Superintelligence

Thousand Pound Gorilla Philosopher

What is Superintelligence?

Using (Not Abusing) Neo-Darwinian Accounts of Intelligence

Competition, Evolution, and Survival

The Evolutionary Paths of Human and Machine Intelligence Split

Biological Cognitive Enhancement

Neural Lace: Turning Humans into Cyborgs

Whole Brain Emulation

Collective Superintelligence

Bostrom’s Blind Spot: The Promise of Collective Intelligence

What is Species Chauvinism, and Why Is it a Problem?

Collective Intentionality

Does "Microsoft" Really "Intend" Anything?

Collective Minds Play a Causal Role in the Real World

Some Philosophical Points that Should Probably be in Endnotes

Could a Corporation Actually be Conscious?

Humachines and the Noosphere



Chapter 3: The Limits of Machine Capabilities

When Robots Hang with the Wrong Crowd

Let’s Not Indulge in Hyperbole Here

Big Data, Algorithms, Cloud Computing, and Dark Data

Big Data


Cloud Computing

Dark Data

Data is the Foundation for AI and Machine Learning

AI, Machine Learning, Deep Learning, and Neural Networks

Artificial Intelligence

Machine Learning

Neural Networks

Deep Learning

What Machines Can Do

Pattern Recognition

Processing Velocity, Accuracy, Volume, and Consistency

Connect Complex Systems

What Machines Cannot Do

Lacking Common Sense

No Understanding of Context

Data Hungry and Brittle

No Intuition

Local Optima

Black Box Decision-Making

Garbage In, Garbage Out


CHAPTER 4: The Limits of Human Capabilities

The Microwave’s Eureka Moment

Thinking about Thinking

The Conundrum of Originality

In Defense of Homo Sapiens

General Intelligence


Creativity and Innovation

Pleasure and Aesthetics


Emotional Intelligence



Ethical Convictions

Managing When Human, All Too Human

Dealing with Human Biases


Bandwagon Effect

Attribution Bias

Confirmation Bias


Cultivating Human Virtues in the Technology Era

Changing What it Means to be Smart

Baby Boomers and Botsourcing


Chapter 5: Integration Of People And Technology

Recipe, Formula, Alchemical Spell, Call it What You Will

Jobs Are Going to Evolve, But Not Disappear

AI is a Horizontal Enabling Layer

Complementary Co-Workers: Moravec’s Paradox Resolved

Augmentation, Amplification, and Other Performance Enhancers




Enhancing Creativity

Improving Innovation

Enhanced Learning Through Visual Analytics

The Human-Machine Interface

Developing Trust in the Machines

Human Resources in the Artificial Intelligence Era

Dangers of Overreliance: Atrophy


Chapter 6: Legal Issues in the Humachine Era

There’s More than Just the Control Problem

Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics

Risk Management, Pandora’s Box, and the Chamber of Commerce

Deepfakes: A Pernicious Permutation of Photo Fakery

Generative Adversarial Networks

The High Stakes of Deepfakes

Law’s Limited Remedy

The Promise of Legal Solutions

Consumer Privacy and the "Internet of Eyes"

The Cost of Failing to Implement Privacy and Security Safeguards

Beware of Algorithmic Bias

Black Box Decisions

The Impact of AI on Lawmaking and Regulations

Erosion of Public Trust

Improving Public Participation

The Spambot Lobby: Repealing Net Neutrality

"Notice and Comment" Rulemaking

Open Internet on the Electronic Frontier

Betraying the Founders of the Internet

Transparency Versus "Openwashing"


Chapter 7: Breaking The Paradigm

Human Experience Over Hierarchy

Technology-Driven, Human-Centric

A New Business Paradigm







From Silos to Flexible Teams

Humans & Machines: The New Co-Workers

Design Thinking

AI-User Interface


Have a Clear Message

Hire The Right Talent

Create a Work Environment that People Love

Foster Freedom to Create and Experiment


A Dynamic Model


Chapter 8: Mutations

If Refrigerators Could Talk—Oh Wait, They Can!

A Different Species of Organization

Mutation, Not Transformation

Humachine Traits

Kasparov’s Law Redux

Focus on Human Needs

The "Experience Economy"

Customer is the Co-Creator

Flat & Fluid Organizational Structures

Flatness and Fluidity

Porous Boundaries, Social Webs

From Holacracy to Rendanheyi: One Size Does Not Fit All

A Culture of Entrepreneurship and Innovation

Entrepreneurial Spirit



Organizational Self-Awareness

Intentionality Driven: Understand Who You Are

Orchestrating the Mutation: Thoughtful Action

Leaders, Coaches & Change-Agents

Develop a Long-Term Vision

Understand the Current State

Allocate Sufficient Resources

Embrace Transparency

Start With A Pilot


Chapter 9 – REFLECTions on the Humachine

Finding Your Organization’s Soul


Are Humans Actually Getting Smarter? (No)

With Great Power Comes… the Ability to Do a Lot of Damage

We Need to Play to Our Strengths

"Humanics": Education for the Humachine Workforce

Reflections on The Future of Work



About the Authors

Nada R. Sanders, Ph.D. is Distinguished Professor at D’Amore McKim School of Business at Northeastern University in Boston. Her expertise includes forecasting, analytics, global supply chain intelligence, and sustainability. She is the President of the Production and Operations Management Society and Fellow of the Decision Sciences Institute. Her publications have appeared in California Management Review, Journal of Operations Management, International Journal of Forecasting, and Production and Operations Management Journal.

John D. Wood, Esq. is a member of the New York and Texas Bar Associations and a graduate of NYU School of Law. He is Founder of Econautics Sustainability Institute, a 501(c)(3) dedicated to sustainability in the private sector, and The Law Firm of John D. Wood, PLLC, providing strategic counsel to business owners. His expertise includes risk management, legal compliance, and sustainable business strategy. His publications have appeared in NYU Journal of Law and Liberty, NYU Environmental Law Journal, The Environmental Law Reporter, as well as numerous Bar Association journals.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Decision-Making & Problem Solving
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Human Resources & Personnel Management
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Management Science
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Information Management
COMPUTERS / Management Information Systems
COMPUTERS / Social Aspects / Human-Computer Interaction