Inspirefest snapshot: The man bringing Silicon Valley back down to earth

24 May 2018

Tim Leberecht. Image: TEDx

Tim Leberecht believes that Silicon Valley has lost its way, and he thinks an injection of romance is what will bring it back.

It can be easy to get hung up on all of the new and dazzling opportunities laid at our feet by technology. For Tim Leberecht, though, this poses a major problem.

Artificial intelligence, blockchain, machine learning – all of these new innovations will undoubtedly send seismic waves of change through our society, but we risk losing sight of one very vital thing: our humanity.

Future Human

We may be quick to adopt new technologies, quickly warming to them after seeing the benefits they bring and the level of convenience they can provide, but how quickly are we adapting to them? Are we truly comfortable with the technological revolution, or is it engendering an existential despair we are simply unwilling to acknowledge?

Tim Leberecht is a German-American author, speaker, consultant and a man who believes that, though technology brings with it amazing possibilities, the future will not be a bright place if people don’t create products with humanity in mind.

“It’s important that we prepare for and enable companies for the opportunities that come with these technologies, but I think what is much more important is that we think of our transformation as human beings,” Leberecht said in a video for IXDS Blackbox.

“What are the sentiments, the values that we need to foster to actually transform ourselves, us human beings, so that we can collaborate, cooperate, coexist … in an age of machines?”

In 2015, he published the bestselling The Business Romantic: Give Everything, Quantify Nothing and Create Something Greater Than Yourself, a book arguing that we won’t be able to create an economy that is wholly fulfilling if we don’t keep ‘romance’ in mind.

By romance, he means the social and emotional aspects of business – those aspects not only exist but are vital to creating things that actually matter.

Two years after the publication of his book, he and co-founder Till Grusche created The Business Romantic Society, beginning the quest to make the human-centred economy of Leberecht’s dreams a reality.

For inspiration from extraordinary thinkers, catch Tim Leberecht and more at Inspirefest in Dublin on 21 and 22 June. Get your tickets now.

Eva Short was a journalist at Silicon Republic