Captain Dunsail to the Rescue! As Technology Advances We May Finally Be Forced to Deal with Our Biggest Business Challenge: Us
Christopher Surdak argues that in order for businesses to earn the highest returns on information technology, they must focus their investments on where technology is needed most: understanding humans.
Big Data is being sold as the latest technology cure-all for whatever ails modern businesses. This is nothing new. In the episode “The Ultimate Computer” from the original television series Star Trek, scientists claim to create a computer that can operate the starship Enterprise faster and more efficiently than its human crew. Initially the computer does perform better than people, leading to the ship’s captain James T. Kirk to be referred to as “Captain Dunsail.” This is an old nautical term for something worthless, useless or superfluous (“The ship ‘dun sail’ without you!”). (1)
By the end of the episode the failings of the computer become clear, and the crew is returned to service despite their human ‘shortcomings’.
Gartner Group estimates that in 2016 the global market for Information Technology (IT) will exceed $3.5 trillion. (2) Clearly, business leaders believe that it is worth investing in IT. However, most business leaders also know that not all investments are created equally, and selecting investments that generate the greatest returns is their most basic fiduciary duty. In this article, author, futurist and technologist Christopher Surdak argues that in order for businesses to earn the highest returns on information technology, they must focus their investments on where technology is needed most: understanding humans.