#1 Sunday Spotlight - Dealing with Inevitability, inspired by Chess Legend Garry Kasparov

Forget about AI. Technology should be a tool that makes life simpler. This is an article discussing what smart is, and some thoughts on how to deal with the elements of inevitability.

“AI is not a magic wand; it is not Terminator; it does not mean dystopia; it is just a tool. Treat it as a tool designed to make lives simpler.”

Kasparov and AI

Garry Kimovich Kasparov

Garry Kasparov is a Russianchessgrandmaster, former World Chess Champion, writer, and political activist, whom many consider being the greatest chess player of all time.[3] From 1986 until his retirement in 2005, Kasparov was ranked world No. 1 for 225 out of 228 months and 255 months overall for his career. His peak rating of 2851,[4] achieved in 1999, was the highest recorded until being surpassed by Magnus Carlsen in 2013. Kasparov also holds records for consecutive professional tournament victories (15) and Chess Oscars (11). “ - Wikipedia

Defining Smart

“…few people would say a smartphone is intelligent. Just as being good at chess does not define intelligence, it would appear being smart doesn’t either, especially in the context of phones.” - Garry Kasparov, Kasparov and AI (same article as the first quote).

Is that what we all should do with Smart Buildings? Just think about the underlying infrastructure and the ability for people to make it smart? Maybe it’s less about technology and more about the people who interact with buildings today? (of course it is).

How well can the building contribute to the needs of people that interact with the building today, and how well is it prepared to do make continuous adjustments, keeping up with the times, during its entire life-cycle?

Memoori thought piece from 2019 describes the 7 use cases for Smart Buildings that seem to focus on the building infrastructural aspects and how it can cater to the HVAC/FM needs. Which is quite standard.

The 8 first questions of 100+ questions that come to mind:

  1. Is there one API for the entire building encapsulating the seven sub-categories with meaningful data, allowing and enabling stakeholders to get access to what they need to get access to?

  2. Do all of the seven categories work with standardized APIs?

  3. Are the seven categories being treated as categories by the real estate owners?

  4. How close/far away is this from actual reality in how buildings are managed today, and what are the steps that need to be taken in order to realize this structured vision?

  5. The skill-sets that are needed to “own” these categories from a real estate point of view, where are they today? From Vendors, integrators, do the property asset management companies have them in-house?

  6. How integrated are these categories in real life and how well do the owners or respective categories communicate with other areas in the same/other categories, and how well do the systems talk to each other?

  7. Which one of these areas should be prioritized, by whom, and how does it relate to the overall success for the company and/or companies providing value for and from the building?

  8. How different is the priority list of assessing digital maturity in the above areas for different types of asset classes and does a successful integration between said areas correspond to realizing the full potential of buildings?

What is the full potential of Buildings? Humans?

Realizing the full potential of buildings… What does that mean? Who would pay for it? Who would benefit from it? Let’s say all of the above categories do talk to each other and there exists One API to the building.

Have we then realized the full potential of buildings? Or have we realized the platform created in buildings for people to define what the full potential might be? For them? Should machines work for us, and let us be more human?

“The trouble with computers is that they only provide answers; it is up to humans to set the questions…We must stop using phrases such as artificial intelligence, “instead say augmented intelligence,” - Garry Kasparov

The Stone Age didn’t end because of a lack of stones. It ended because some other tools could do a better job of providing value for an already existing outcome. Basically doing more, with something else, not necessarily less. And come to think of it, probably not faster, or necessarily better, but the total cost of ownership as lower, and new technology meant an improved value over the whole life-cycle.

We need to move over to new tools in order to take the next step and realize that the Human age (as a species) is yet to come. We’ve had civilizations in the past that have prospered in its individual countries, but it’s the clash of civilizations that has led to wars, famine, colonialism, e-inventing the wheel, and just a loss of value between different cultures. As Kasparov also states, we should see ourselves like “shepherds for machines” and in another article making this amazing statement;

only 4 percent of jobs in the US require human creativity.” That means 96 percent of jobs, I call them zombie jobs. They're dead, they just don’t know it. source

Creative Destruction is on the rise and all of these Zombie jobs will be destroyed at some point. So what do we need to do? For startes, we need to think about what it means to be human. The industrial revolution didn’t only make machines better, they also made us into machines. Those machines should be replaced by actual machines, and allow and enable us to become more human. Some countries that don’t have that societal infrastructure in place for actual humans, will be having an extremely hard time in the next decade. Countries that haven’t got a culture of thinking for themselves, stuck in hierarchical ways of working, might also have a hard time.

This 15-minute video explains it fairly well. HUMANS NEED NOT APPLY

And it goes back to the element of inevitability. The majority of jobs will be destroyed, before new jobs and new roles are created. Everything that can be automated, will be automated. What sets people apart from machines today and tomorrow? Today it’s the understanding of what challenges people have had from a humanistic perspective observing a system or a problem from a very limited perspective.

Just programming systems with ideas from a human’s limited point of view is stupid. But, having a human ask a building that has all of the areas above integrated into a system that can communicate with each other in a standardized way, is not stupid.

“Innovation doesn’t start with the future. It starts with the now and continues into the future”

Having APP-store capabilities on top of buildings, fed with data from buildings, is not stupid. That’s how the full potential of buildings will be realized in the short-medium term, up until buildings will provide the value necessary by themselves operating as a key-player role in a Smart City context.

Because having systems talk to each other, find out the best options possible based on an outcome that has been set by people? Well, that can be stupid, but it’s on the way to becoming better. An example is energy-optimizing plays that have a limited amount of information available, resulting in 25% energy decrease for the building, but an indoor climate that is not fantastic, lower tenant satisfaction, less productivity and a loss of money for owners, companies in the facility, and for the country as a whole because people get sick more often, have more headaches and are more prone to diseases.

This is being done a lot right now. Cloud-based energy optimizing algorithms that don’t take the entire building into account where people are left out of the mix. Do we see a shift now Post-COVID? Absolutely. Will there… IS THERE a battle between energy optimization initiatives and the connected society at large where we use more stuff that requires electricity? YES. Is the entire grid ready for the growing demand products needing electricity? NO.

Will this be another section in this article? NO.

Final Words

The future will be different from what it is today.

  • How well are you keeping up with the times?

  • Are you, your organization leading the charge in your industry?

  • Are you falling behind?

  • Do you even know what is happening in other industries?
    Do you want to know?

  • Do your bosses want to know?

  • Do you have an enabling view of technology today?

Understanding where you are today, where you want to be tomorrow, and plotting out a path to get there is the first step. Will those things create an organization consisting of people, processes, systems, hierarchy, and a culture that enables you to STAY relevant in the decades to come? It might.

But it’s a serious effort comprising of collaboration, grit, perseverance, luck, and it’s not something that can be done alone. Existing companies are built to die. They don’t have to, but most of them will.

And that is why this blog and the VVIP community exists. To help those that WANT change be able to deliver change in the bestest, fastest, and mostest sustainable way possible. There are no silver bullets here. But if you want to change, and want to find people in the same industry, other industries that also want to be the change they see is necessary, this is the place for you. Alone, we can’t do much. Together, we can do everything.

Let me know what you thought and if you got any questions, ideas, or general feedback, please comment! And reach out to Nicolas Waern directly if you have any immediate questions. If he can’t help you directly, he can find someone that can within 24 hours. Guaranteed.

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