hOS - The Human Operating System

In the same way that computers and phones have an operating system, humans do too.

There's a lot of focus on technology and change at present and rightly so. The AI revolution in my view is a fundamental shift forward in what becomes possible for humans to do with technology. Yes, there are technical possibilities and technical constraints, but the questioning and drive to make something of the new technology is a fundamentally human question and not a technical question.

To succeed with technological innovation, I believe we need to fully harmonise human and computer operating systems, to harness their potential together, to achieve our potential, at an individual level, a company/organisational level and at a societal level.

What is the human operating system?

Humans understand the world through stories.

We use stories to make sense of life and our role within life. Whether we realise it or not there are a series of stories that we all believe in and these stories shape our ethics, our values, our goals and our ambitions. They can limit us or free us.

Groups of humans do this too, companies, organisations and societies.

Stories have a beginning, a middle and an end. They run their course. Some are short, some are long.

If a company is living a story that no longer fits with the reality the world which it operates it needs a new story to guide it's people.

That is why having a clear company purpose, mission, strategy and so on is so important. These are the story, setting out a challenge that needs to be overcome. To overcome the challenge we need to transform ourselves and in transforming ourselves we will be rewarded with a better outcome.

All good stories have an enemy. This could be the competition, it could an old way of doing things, it could be hassle or friction.

Stories also have heroes. Heroes are flawed, they are not perfect, but they accept the challenge regardless and make mistakes on the way. Often they need a guide to help them but the only person that can succeed in the mission is the hero on their own - they take what they guide has taught them and face the final challenge themselves.

Stories matter. They are how we identify our role with the world. It is how we steer our actions to hear every day.

A company needs to regularly ask itself, do we have the right stories? Do our people understand? If the company not getting the results it wants maybe the story is wrong and they need to write a new script.

That’s the great thing about stories, you can write them and rewrite them. You can make them, you can choose them. You can change them if they no longer fit. If you let stories happen to you, you become a victim. But if you choose the story, you can choose to take on the challenge of being a hero, transform and succeed.

Humans are programmed with stories. We explain things with stories. We make sense of things with stories. It's our superpower as a species. We can imagine things to be true in the future and then we can set about making them true. This is as true for companies as it is for individuals.

Stories are our operating system. We also run on chemicals, emotions and biological energy but our direction, understanding and motivation comes from stories.

To innovate with AI in a company, yes, you need access to the technology. What you choose to do with it depends on the stories that you script.

The I in AI is intelligence. A great definition of intelligence is "goal-directed adaptive behaviour". Computers run on electricity and logic, they can make calculations and predictions. Yes, they can adapt their behaviour to achieve the goals that they are set.

My belief that increasingly the role of humans will be to write new stories and ask good questions.

Maybe one day AI will be advanced enough to write it's own stories. Maybe they will with the creation of AGI (Artficial General Intelligence).

For now, that is a big distinction between humans and computers. We run on stories they run on bits and bytes. It's a great combination for innovation.

What stories does your company run on?

Do you need to change the script in the new era of AI?

Subscribe to norrisnode.com

Don’t miss out on the latest issues. Sign up now to get access to the library of members-only issues.