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The Human-Machine

Why we must recognize the human factor in our business efforts.

Masks have been used throughout the cultures of the world as a means of transformation into a new persona, one that otherwise could not be achieved by mortal means. From actors speaking Socratic plays to tribes dancing in worship of primordial gods, the metaphor and power of the mask has captivated our psyche.

In our modern world where we care more about the actor's face than the content spoke, where we're concerned to death with the distinction between the slight meaning between one word or another, how do we now find ourselves using the mask?

As a scapegoat.

We talk of the business, the corporation, the product. Our language consists of client, developer, and product owner. Where has the human gone? Why are we using language to distance ourselves, to hide decisions behind invisible, intangible entities that are meaningless in the context of emotion and wellbeing?

The business is composed of Sue, John, Linda, and Larry. There is no larger entity. The business constitutes the people that work day in, day out for a common goal. There is no Acme Company Name, just a collection of individuals striving to create.

Yet, we let the human element fall by the wayside and use excuses such as the economic health of the corporation, the business sense of a decision, etc. and remove our humanity from the composition through equations, sheets, and sayings.

We often relate businesses more to machinery than humanity. Why is that? Why do we distance a collective of men and women from what it really is? In doing so, we are damning those that would participate, we are inevitably building a barrier to shore up compassion and the various elements of empathy.

And what happens when failure occurs? The people are to be blamed. The individuals that were torn apart and ground to meal by the aptly dubbed machinery of an uncaring, unknowing beast built upon the sweat of human workers for some ultimate economic goal outside the realm of compassion.

This is why we must engage our minds, intelligence, and wisdom to face the human concerns of entrepreneurship. We must recognize emotion on the visages of our very real, very tangible employees, allow that emotion to resonate with us, and then apply compassion and -- in many cases -- altruism to achieve the greatness that is within the collective.

We are all interdependent. We must start building our language to reflect this connectedness. We must start crafting enterprises that focus on the people, their realities, and emotional wellbeing. Only in this way may we achieve self-learning, self-knowing organizations. 

About the Author

Andrew Andreas Grapsas is a game programmer at Arkadium, Inc. developing casual and social games. He previously worked at THQ and EA as a systems and gameplay programmer on triple-A shooters.

Andrew is actively writing and programming for various projects. You can read more articles exclusively at his blog aagrapsas.com.

Follow Andrew on twitter!

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