The internet has innumerable applications for work and business. Perhaps most important is Weinberger’s (2011) assertion that the Net is continuous. A researcher has limitless options to gather data and enjoys access to knowledge from a single gateway, the computer, unrestrained by the historical boundaries of a library’s collection. Access to the web removes knowledge from the confines of physical media, like a newspaper or book; the nonlinear path to acquiring information on the net, such as through hyperlinked data, spurs creativity and increases the diversity of acquired knowledge (Weinberger D. , 2014). Thus, leaders should embrace the uncomfortable chaos that may result from a grouping or swarming of individuals, even though it may not reflect traditional means of problem-solving taught in business school (Gartner, 2010).
Husband (2016) concludes that leaders should adjust the manner in which they influence followers due to the “two-way flow of power and authority…interconnected by people and technology” (n.p.). The internet, therefore, removes traditional forms of leadership, such as the familiar notion of command and control (Husband, 2016). However, while the Web is vastly changing how organizations conduct business and provides opportunities for individuals at all organizational levels to acquire knowledge, the internet still remains a tool for leaders to utilize.
Leaders do not need the internet to empower subordinates to solve problems through innovative means; nor will the Web remove those supervisors who are selfish and apathetic to followers’ needs. Successful leaders, no matter their connectivity to the internet, develop subordinates to think on their own and engender trust and motivation through authentic leadership and a sincere appreciation for the skills of each team member. In the end, the internet is one of many tools provided to the leader, and it cannot change the essence of the individual who is in charge.
Bill Gates asserts that once humans create machines that are smarter than we are, it will be a relatively short period before artificial intelligence (AI) finds the means to replace or destroy humanity (Holley, 2015). This is similar to Bostrom’s (2015) notion that AI would evolve into a super-intelligent, nearly omnipotent entity that may deduce that humans are a threat to its dominance, and thus should be eliminated. The idea of an all-powerful AI taking over the globe, such as in many Hollywood movies, seems more like a clever story than potential reality. While science fiction often becomes science fact, humanity’s demise will more likely be caused by non-state actors or rogue nations using atomic weapons, and not the result of a malevolent super-computer.
Bostrom, N. (2015, March). What happens when our computers get smarter than we are? Retrieved from http://www.ted.com
Gartner. (2010, August 4). Gartner says the world of work will witness 10 changes during the next 10 years. Retrieved from http://www.gartner.com
Holley, P. (2015, January 29). Bill Gates on the dangers of artificial intelligence. Retrieved from http://www.washingtonpost.com
Husband, J. (2016). What is Wirearchy? Retrieved from http://www.wirearchy.com
Weinberger, D. (2011). Too big to know. New York: Basic Books.
Weinberger, D. (2014, October 22). David Weinberger on the power of the internet. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com