Globatics — Lessons for leaders

Globatics — Lessons for leaders

THE world is hardly keeping pace with the growth of big data, information technologies and artificial intelligence.

The illusion is that the availability of information will democratise the world. Will artificial intelligence(AI) control the creation, processing and distribution of information in the future, and most importantly will it benefit the less developed nations or will it continue to subjugate them?

Will we not experience cognitive domination because of AI as non-human intelligence spirals because of quantum computing, disruptive technologies, deep learning, generative learning, and machine learning? What is the implication of these technological changes on leaders?


Globatics is a combination of two words; globalisation and robotics. The world is undeniably interconnected and robots are becoming inevitable actors on the global stage.

The debate is around robots through the power of artificial intelligence taking over. Leaders should be learning fast, because if they don’t, they might be caught flat-footed. How we do business globally has changed significantly, and that change is moving at breakneck speed.

Love the young

We can all agree that in every generation, the young are the precursors to any change. Some of us were so privileged to see some of the transitions between generations. For example, by the time I started to understand things around me, vinyl records were still there, and cassettes were then the in thing. Double-decker radios in vogue.

While we enjoyed cassettes, CDs and DVDs cannibalised both the cassettes and vinyl. When all those came on stage, the old guard thought it would be a fly-by-night act.

When new products and services come, they are usually not venerated, as we want to think the previous ones are the best. However, the young ones seem to catch the wave very fast.

The workforce challenged and changed

Technology comes with challenges and some jobs are being taken. One of those jobs is traditional journalism and its speed, relevance and agility. Every leader must learn that if you don’t change, you will be taken over.

Nokia started with great durable phones, but that did not guarantee its survival in the market. The Blackberry phone had a nice QWERTY keyboard, but still it could not survive the winds of change. Do you know that there are young people who don’t even know about the Nokia phone now? That is change!

Tech leaders, including Elon Musk, are concerned at the growth speed of big data and AI in particular. “AI systems with human-competitive intelligence can pose profound risks to society and humanity” (Futurelife, 2023) as they are becoming human-competitive.

That might mean most jobs will be automated and the case of the Global South which is still mainly dependent on menial and physical jobs for its production and profits, will mean a decrease in the source of their livelihoods.

Big data

Many scholars have struggled to come to an agreed definition of what big data is and, therefore, leading to most definitions that point to the behaviours, functions or characters of big data.

Definition centres on volume (storage and maintenance), veracity, velocity, and veracity of big data. It also talks of the speed at which data is growing at a given time. It is estimated that data collection is constantly and exponentially growing “at a rate between 40 and 60% a year” (Bughin, 2016).

However, scholars argue that concepts around velocity, variety, and veracity provide a less correct definition of big data. Big data should not be taken only as a technological issue but also as a leadership, management, communication and scholarly phenomenon.

This means big data should go beyond a technocentric definition to an epistemological and leadership definition. That will, therefore, make leaders aware of fast change, and make relevant moves.

The Global South must ride

The Global South has innumerable problems which need to be researched and processed fast. The velocity (or speed) of big data is ideal and comes at the nick of time.

Datasets must be used for needs assessments and AI must be used to explore and predict the future. Big data is an essential and inevitable tool for development in less-developed nations. Big data can be used for different things including geolocating, measuring soil type, and crop needs retrospective analysis of disease outbreaks.

Learning organisation

As leaders what we need now is the agility, sagacity and ability to learn fast, adapt quickly, and adopt swiftly. Without that, leadership can be found without a job. In essence, the other role of a leader now is to bring change, see change, and harvest positively from change. We need exposed managers and leaders. Don’t wait until you are taught by change, but learn to embrace change.

  • Jonah Nyoni is an author, speaker, and leadership trainer. He can be contacted on Twitter @jonahnyoni. WhatsApp: +263 772 581 918

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