What Makes Human Intelligence Essential in the Age of the Algorithm
By Christian Madsbjerg
Based on his work at companies like Ford, Christian Madsbjerg's Sensemaking is a provocative stand against the tyranny of big data and scientism, an impassioned defense of an arts and humanities-based education, and a blueprint for how companies and leaders can use human intelligence to solve problems.
Humans have become subservient to algorithms. Every day brings a new Moneyball fix - a maths whiz who will crack open an industry with clean fact-based analysis rather than human intuition and experience. As a result, we have stopped thinking. Machines do it for us.
Christian Madsbjerg argues that our fixation with data often masks stunning deficiencies, and the risks for humankind are enormous. Blind devotion to number crunching imperils our businesses, our educations, our governments, and our life savings. Too many companies have lost touch with the humanity of their customers, while marginalising workers with arts-based skills.
Contrary to popular thinking, Madsbjerg shows how many of today's biggest success stories stem not from 'quant' thinking but from deep, nuanced engagement with culture, language, and history. He calls his method sensemaking.
In this landmark book, Madsbjerg lays out five principles for how business leaders, entrepreneurs, and individuals can use it to solve their thorniest problems. He profiles companies using sensemaking to connect with new customers, and takes readers inside the work process of sensemaking 'connoisseurs' like investor George Soros, architect Bjarke Ingels, and others.
Both practical and philosophical, Sensemaking is a powerful rejoinder to corporate groupthink and an indispensable resource for leaders and innovators who want to stand out from the pack.
Christian Madsbjerg is a founder of ReD Associates, a strategy consulting company based in the human sciences and employing anthropologists, sociologists, art historians, and philosophers. Madsbjerg studied philosophy and political science in Copenhagen and London. He lives in New York City.
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- Publication date:
21 Mar 2017
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At Ford, we believe the key to creating products and experiences that truly make people's lives better is to deeply understand our customers. Technology alone isn't enough. So we've changed our product development process to focus on the customer experience--and not just the vehicle itself. In Sensemaking, Christian Madsbjerg explains with depth and structure how this is done. — Mark Fields, president and CEO, Ford Motor Company
This is essential reading for anyone in the world of business and everyone with a concern for how human beings make sense of their world. Highly recommended. — Simon Critchley, Hans Jonas Professor of Philosophy, The New School
Companies must master not just big data, but thick data - insight into culture, history, and the social structures underlying human behaviour. Sensemaking is the road map for how this works, and it is essential reading for anyone looking to thrive in a world of digital disruption. — Francisco D'Souza, CEO, Cognizant
Madsbjerg's Sensemaking is a powerful defense of human intelligence to solve problems. Anyone who dreams of leading a company should read it - and heed his wonderfully contrarian advice. — Jeffrey Fox, bestselling author of How to Become CEO and How to Become a Rainmaker
With roots in Aristotle, Sensemaking calls on humanists to reinterpret their contribution while showing others how they cannot do without it. It is a book of the first importance. — Samuel Moyn, author of The Last Utopia: Human Rights in History and Jeremiah Smith, Jr. Professor of Law and Professor of History, Harvard University
'Producing a mixture of how-to text and trenchant philosophy, Madsbjerg illustrates his formula for problem-solving with rich, captivating anecdotes, many of them mini case studies.' — Kirkus