I admit it: I had no idea what title I was going to give this piece. It's all about the technological world in which we live today and the surprising amount of tradition that is still around. And around almost to the extent that it might not go away any time soon, giving hope to those over and above a certain age that they still have a role to play. So I combined technology and tradition. Simple.
We are surrounded on a daily basis by reports of the advances in technology, artificial intelligence, robots taking over our jobs, driverless cars, no need for money in cash form - the list is actually endless and growing.
That growth is in the hands of the digital natives and millennials, and although facing extinction dinosaurs still roam the world and seem to revel in the fact that they are happier living in the past. No computers, they don't use ATM machines and I am sure in some cases they may even use a typewriter or have maybe mastered a fax machine. Hands up anyone under 25 who has actually seen one of these things? But how long can they hold out against advancement and a tech-savvy generation coming up rapidly behind them.
Now although of dinosaur age I have always prided myself on kind of keeping up with technology but it is growing at a much faster pace than it ever was, and therefore in time and as the brain cells start to function at a slower speed I am sure I will get left behind, but not disinterested. But you know, despite all these advancements it appears to me that there are still some traditional attributes about living in this world that are not actually changing so fast, or are drawing back from the edges of where they had reached.
On the latter point, for example, take books. They are still being written and thereafter appearing in paper form despite the obvious online attractions of downloading them to read. There are an increasing number of people now who tell me they are going back to the paper versions of the books because they like the feel of the book and they can see easily how far they have read. It seems to be a comfort for them, and it's not just the older folk but young ones too. And I get that. Indeed my own Kindle is lying quietly in a corner at present. Having said that I read just about all my newspapers online, and 90% of the companies on whose Boards/committees I sit deliver the papers to me using technology. When you end up with Board papers for a meeting these days that run to a length in excess of War and Peace (seriously) - by using technology you are saving the environment for sure. It is of course possible to annotate those papers, but I admit to the occasional temptation to print some of them out if only to save my eyesight.
I am talking about other things too that today technology cannot replace. You can use technology to contact people easily and instantaneously. You can use various social media networks to call them, diarise meetings, exchange information - BUT you cannot use technology to substitute for human interaction. Not yet, anyway. The more traditional means of looking a person in the eyes, watching their facial expressions, gauging whether they are being truthful, reading the body language. That all takes time, practice, and in person.
Then there is that fact lurking in the back of the minds of individuals today, in what I find to be an increasingly cynical world (and being by nature one of the most cynical it is concerning even to me) is a growing mistrust of technology. Those of you who know some of the things I do in Hong Kong will be aware I am involved with Octopus cards, the almost 20 year old, and definitely ahead of its time (at the time), transport and retail touch card. We have a facility that enables people to automatically top up their cards through their Bank account but the take up of this facility in relation to the number of cards in issue is very small. I ask why.Hong Kong people love technology. I am told it is because if the card is lost or stolen and used, unlike cash which once spent is gone, you run the risk of it being topped up from your account automatically. That is true, but the vast majority of people in Hong Kong are sensible folk who would keep their card safe, and would know quickly if it were lost so they could stop it. And if there are a number of top ups being made on a card with Automatic Top up, the company will pick it up the unusual pattern and call you to ask if it is you using the card. That is from practical experience I had, and it was way before I was involved with the company.
Also, I get asked to talk to groups of people about joining Boards for example, and also about subjects like Corporate Governance. These are things that require people to understand what is needed, to do the right things, be ethical - and while technology can provide much of the background information you need quickly, it cannot yet replace human nature. If it could, we would now be heading even faster down some slippery populist slope where you are not sure whether the information you see in front of you from the media is true or false.
So the next time you get excited about the prospect of jumping into a driverless car, make sure your enemies are not tech-savvy enough to be able to drive you off the road - or indeed the 10 year old next door hasn't decided he or she is going to get their own back because you told them to get off your garden wall!
For all the advances in tech, there's still a need for past history and tradition. Maybe TechnoTrad's not such a stupid title after all.