Episode 136 – The Leadership Lab with Pippa Malmgren

‘A 20th-century leader was very analytical, it’s all about the drill-down into detail and numbers. But frankly, that did not serve us very well, and that’s partly what led to everybody being blindsided by populism. So we say, in the 21st century, you can do analytical, but you have to do parenthetical… you have to be able to not just drill down, but look across. To understand how to connect the dots between silos that were previously independent. To understand, what’s the feel. It’s not just the math that matters now, it’s the mood also.’

Dr Pippa MalgremWhen they wrote The Leadership Lab, Dr Pippa Malmgren and her co-author Chris Lewis structured their cutting-edge analysis of 21st-century leadership on a device that’s more than 2000 years old. She explains why this navigational tool – the Kythera mechanism – is not only an effective way to communicate complex issues more effectively, but a metaphor for understanding that everything we think we know could be entirely wrong.

This is essential listening for anyone in a position of leadership in the 21st century, and anyone who want to write about it.



LINKS:

Pippa on Twitter: https://twitter.com/DrPippaM

Chris on Twitter: https://twitter.com/largeburrito

Alison on Twitter: https://twitter.com/bookstothesky

The Extraordinary Business Book Club on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1447064765612358/

Sign up for the Extraordinary Business Book Club newsletter, including a review of what I’m reading now and a weekly writing prompt: https://www.getdrip.com/forms/887338035/submissions/new

Join the wait list for the next 10-day Business Book Proposal Challenge: https://alisonjones.leadpages.co/proposal-challenge/

Sign up for the EBBC writing day on 6 November: https://alisonjones.lpages.co/ebbc-writing-day/

Alison Jones:                        Hello, and welcome to The Extraordinary Business Book Club. It’s a pleasure to be here today with Dr. Pippa Malmgren, who is a former Presidential Advisor, the Co-Founder of H Robotics, and Founder of the DRPM Group, which advises institutional investors worldwide on investment trends. And also a strong supporter of entrepreneurship in the economy, which I think we’re all in favour of. She was named a Global Leader of Tomorrow by the World Economic Forum twice, in 200, and 2001, she won the Intelligence Squared Debate on Robotics in 2015 and was ranked in the top 25 most influential economists in the world, and in the top five most powerful women in Finance in 2017. And she’s also the author of Signals, How Everyday Signs Help Us Navigate the Worlds Turbulent Economy and, most recently, The Leadership Lab: Understanding Leadership in the 21 Century, with Chris Lewis. So welcome to the show Pippa.

Pippa Malmgren:              Thank you for having me.

Alison Jones:                        It’s quite an intimidating biography.

Pippa Malmgren:              I’ve been very lucky.

Alison Jones:                        Well tell me about the Leadership Lab, because I’ve been reading this, and it is absolutely fascinating. There’s a lot of stuff being talked about leadership at the moment. It feels like it’s a whole new world. All this uncertainty. You know you actually talked to a whole load of C-suite executives about what keeps them up at night, to write when you were researching this book. What were the big themes that came out?

Pippa Malmgren:              So what happened was Chris Lewis, my co-author, had written a wonderful book called Too Fast to Think. Which basically said all our best ideas actually happen when we’re not at work, and when we’re not working. And so we need to make more space in our lives for the spontaneous ideas to flow. And my book about the world economy, had been all about how we’re too focused on the data, and not enough focused on what’s right in front of your eyes, the common sense, and the human impact. So we collaborated on these two ideas, and came up with this book. And what we did is we met with all these leaders, and they all said the same thing. They all said, “I have been completely blindsided by events. By Trump, by Brexit, by the slowdown in China, by whatever.” They all said, “I’m having a very hard time getting people to follow me, and I’m upset about this because I’m supposed to be the leader.”

Alison Jones:                        That is awkward, yes.

Pippa Malmgren:              Yes, it’s awkward.

And we found that they were remarkably disconnected from reality in that they felt, “Well I’ve been in China because I was there last week, and I was part of a high level delegation.” And you say, “Well did you realise that inflation there is so bad that the average rent in Beijing exceeds the average income now?” And they go, “What?” And they say, “Well you know, all the jobs are moving to China.” And you say, “Well, that was true 10, 15 years ago, but right now, all the jobs are moving from China to Mexico, to the United Kingdoms, the United States, it’s a real reversal.” By the way, not a function of President Trump, it was happening before he arrived. But the point is, they’re kind of disconnected because the higher you go, the busier you are, and the fewer people you’re talking to. So we decided to come up with some practical advice about how to manage in the 21st century.

So a 20th-century leader was very analytical, it’s all about the drill down into detail and numbers. But frankly, that did not serve us very well, and that’s partly what led to everybody being blindsided by populism. So we say, in the 21st century, you can do analytical, but you have to do parenthetical. And what we mean by that is the parentheses: you have to be able to not just drill down, but look across. To understand how to connect the dots between silos that were previously independent. To understand what’s the feel. It’s not just the math that matters now, it’s the mood also.

And so the whole book is very much about how to get more joined-up thinking. So number one, we have to have more diversity of thinking. And we don’t have a lot of that. People are focused on diversity in people, which is great, and it helps enormously, but you can have a room full of very diverse people who all say don’t be ridiculous, Brexit will never happen. And so diversity of thinking was number one. Number two is the parenthetical, in addition to the analytical. But then we go even deeper into explaining what this new landscape looks like, and why it’s so different from what we had in the past. And I’ll give you some practical examples of what I mean by that. But it’s not the same world that we used to have. Some very profound changes have happened.

We make a list in the book. For example, what’s good now, versus what used to be good. It used to be good that we would say, “We the people.” Now we’re in a world where it’s very “Me the people.” Right? The whole selfie, it’s all about me. This is a big change. We used to like thoughtful, clear, measured responses, now it’s all about Twitter at speed, and jargon and emojis. We used to like to study, now everybody’s about hacks and shortcuts.

And these are just a few small examples of what’s changed. So we have a lot in here about technology, and how technology is making people vastly more impatient and angry. They are more and more connected, and having less and less conversation. If you are employing people, the chances are that roughly now 20% of males under the age of 25 haven’t yet had a serious relationship. And so you’ve got to understand who is on your team, and who are your customers, who is in the community that you’re operating in. And a lot of these people think it’s the same as the old days, but it’s totally not the same as the old days.

We’re in a very, very different world where even the way you play is different. So we’ve got another list where we talk about 20th-century leaders would win at any price. But 21st-century leaders need to win fairly, and to be seen to be doing so, or they will lose their backers. We used to talk about maximising strategy, and in the 21st-century culture is much, much more important. So we have a whole bunch of super-practical things of: this is what you do in order to get to this place where you’re more agile and robust. And we move away from the cult of the infallible leader. So just to finish, I think leadership in the 20th century was about the leader. In the 21st century it’s about the ship. This is a very different approach.

Alison Jones:                        And of course the new business world demands new business models. And there’s not a two by two matrix here really is there? What I loved, I mean I’m a big fan of structuring books, and I absolutely loved the Kythera model that you use. That ancient Greek model. Can you tell us a little about that? How did you discover it? I think it’s quite a brave move I think to use it as the structure of a 21st-century business book. Just tell me how that came about.

Pippa Malmgren:              Absolutely. So, there is a place in Greece called Kythera. And in about 1911, a scientist dredged up from one of the old Greek ships a thing called the Antikythera mechanism. ‘Anti’ because it was literally across from Kythera. And what they discovered was this was the first clock in history. And it predated everything known by about 1,000 years. In other words, we had a very sophisticated analogue computer that told you the dates of the Olympic Games, and when the sun would rise and fall, and had all sorts of very complicated mechanical calculations that it could do. And initially they didn’t even think that people used bronze at that time, and the whole thing is made out of bronze. So the Kythera is a wonderful example of when everybody say, “Oh, well that’s not possible.” And you say, “Well actually, we’ve discovered the first analogue computer predates what we thought by a vast amount.” And this is a example of how we have to change our thinking about what is possible.

And we needed a navigation tool, which is what the Kythera mechanism is. It’s a ship bearing, navigation tool. So we started to look at, well what would we put on that compass? And what we quickly concluded is that one of the interesting things is that we’re now in a world where you can be both right and wrong at the same time. This is a new notion. I’ll give you an example. We’ve had this scandal in the UK with Sir Bradley Wiggin, about doping. And his position was, yes I took something, but it was not on the prohibited list, so therefor, I didn’t break the rules. The public view is, “But you took something…”

Alison Jones:                        Something that was designed to make you go faster. Yes. This is against the spirit of the law.

Pippa Malmgren:              “…And that’s not okay. Right. And that’s what I mean by winning fairly matters much more now in the 21st century than winning.

So we were trying to explain this paradoxical environment where you can be right and wrong at the same time as a business leader. You can say for example, “My company pays no tax.” And the public is outraged. And you say, “No, no, no. But it’s completely legal, look, I’ve totally abided by the rules.” And you are right, but it’s wrong, and so the question is how to manage in a world where you can be right and wrong simultaneously. So we created these spokes, we called it the Kythera device.

For example, you can have a world where you’re having vastly more internationalism, and insularity at the same time. Which is kind of what we’re experiencing. We’re more and more internationally connected, and people are feeling more and more insular. You can have a world where you have huge amount of innovation going on, like really epic, solving cancer, really blasting through intractical problems. But at the same time, you’re afraid, you’re intimidated, you’re frightened about technology. So technology is your saviour, and it’s hell simultaneously. So there’s a light side and there’s a dark side, and we need to be conscious that all the good stuff has a dark side too that needs managing. And that was the purpose of creating this navigational tool to help leaders.

Alison Jones:                        I love it. You’re right about the way that it just shows visually that polarity, so there’s a real kind of visual strength to it that supports what you’re saying in the book. But what I think is so smart about it, just thinking about it editorially from a structural point of view, is that it serves as the underlying structure in a sense but it’s also a metaphor, and the meaning is the message. Because you’re actually embedding in that idea that there’s stuff that we have discarded that we need to think again about. And there’s different ways of doing things that highlight how our assumptions are wrong. So I just think it’s one of the neatest most powerful models I’ve seen in a long time.

Pippa Malmgren:              Thank you. Well you know it comes down to one particular thought that we had which is again, we found leaders were very much focused on predictions. Brexit will never happen, Trump will never win, China is the future. And that’s a very binary game. Right or wrong, win or lose. What really we need is more focus on preparedness so that we can handle whatever it is that’s coming, in case we’re wrong. And quite a lot of time, we’ve been wrong lately. To move people away from the prediction, and into preparedness is quite a trek.

And so the Kythera mechanism was also very much about: let’s look at the whole landscape of possibilities, and consider many outcomes. So for example, on Brexit, maybe it isn’t a situation where either Brexit is good or bad for Britain and either Britain succeeds or the EU fails. What if we have a world where actually the EU can succeed with the model that they have, Britain can succeed with the model that they have, and still we’re in a win, win? Why does it have to be binary all the time?

Alison Jones:                        Well that’s the most optimistic view that I’ve heard in a long time. So let’s hope passionately that you’re right about that one.

Pippa Malmgren:              I’m very optimistic about Britain towards Brexit myself.

Alison Jones:                        But you’re absolutely right though. And I think actually there’s a whole different podcast episode here about our expectations of leaders and the way that we run that public discourse. The interviews that demand yes or no answers. The interviewers that demand predictions, and then come back at you when you’re wrong. I mean there’s something about how we construct that public dialogue, that probably is very unhelpful but again, probably a subject of a different Podcast.

Pippa Malmgren:              You know in recent visits to the US, I’ve been so struck that what used to be a programme on television, Dragons Den, all these shows which are very aggressive, and very finger-in-your-face type of atmosphere. This has become the whole country. And this is what Chris and I really found in writing the book, is the level of anger is so high, and this has contributed to a whole deterioration of public dialogue. And this view that you’re either with me, or against me, you’re either on my team, or you’re an idiot. There’s no middle ground anymore. And if we want to have a civil society, we have to be able to have civil dialogue.

So again, in the book, we really try to focus on what do leaders need to do to restore that ability for everyone to be respected and to converse without getting shot down. And one of them was, what’s your priority? So a lot of leaders think the bottom line, P&L, the financial bottom line, should drive everything. But the reality is, that most brands, whether it’s a national brand or a company brand, the trust is a function of whether the public feels an emotional connection with what you’re doing. And so actually, compassion and empathy are not insignificant, they’re important things that leaders need to be able to demonstrate so that at times, maybe the P&L is the thing that ought to drive your decision. But there may be times when some empathy and compassion for your customers, or for your employees, will do much more to preserve the brand in the longer run than the temporary cost.

We’ve tried to get at this issue, it’s very tricky. We’ve said, “This is left-brain and right-brain thinking.” Although frankly the human brain works, it goes back and forth between the two constantly. Is it masculine versus feminine thinking? Oh boy, a lot of people get upset if you say that. But we were trying to say, what’s important is, there’s a whole keyboard of possibility. And a lot of leaders are playing Chopsticks at one end, which is the bottom line, bottom line, bottom line. And then they can’t understand why people aren’t following them. And it’s because there’s no heart, there’s only head. So what we need are more leaders, whether they’re male of female, regardless of their background, that are more fluid, and can play the entire keyboard, a symphony on it, and know when is the right time for compassion and empathy. And when is the right time for P&L, and not to hesitate to move up and down that keyboard.

Alison Jones:                        And I guess there’s a frustration baked into this isn’t there? That in the most challenging circumstances, when your temptation is to double down and focus on the metrics, and tightly control everything, that’s exactly the point where you need to access this deeper, rich, and more complex thinking.

Pippa Malmgren:              Without a doubt, and that leads to another practical issue, which is: how do you get diversity of thinking on your own team? And one thing that we’ve found, is there’s no question that men are typically better at dominating meetings, because they go with the talk first, talk loudest, talk longest principle.

Alison Jones:                        I’m nodding in recognition here.

Pippa Malmgren:              Women, typically, now I’m not saying all of them. But typically women, they’re much more reticent and they don’t come forward. In fact, we put a bunch of research in the book that’s quite compelling, about how we have a tendency to confuse confidence with competence. And whoever appears to be most confident, must be the most competent. When in fact, typically, men will say they’re totally confidant to do a job, when they’re only about 60% ready. And females will not allow their name to go forward until they’re sure they’re 100% ready. It’s a completely different reference point. So how do you balance it out? Well one way is, you say, No more meetings where it’s first, loudest, longest. It’s going to be equal time, so you say to everybody, you get your five minutes, or your 10 minutes, and amazingly, some of the quieter voices suddenly have a space. And they can come forward and present something that maybe is not at all what everybody else is thinking.

So some of it’s structural. What kind of an environment have you created? I remember a few years ago the conservative party didn’t have enough female candidates. And so they tried to recruit in a whole bunch of candidates, but they were doing the same big speech in front of a very, very larch room, say 1,000 people. And typically, and this may be 10 years ago, the female candidates did not do well with the big stump speech in front of the 1,000 audience. But when they shifted the format to fireside chats, where the people would move from room to room, and the candidates would sit tight in one spot, and address much smaller audiences, suddenly the females performed incredibly well, and the update was super fast. And then we ended up with a new wave of female MPs.

So this is again, a leadership task is to understand how is your organisation, and how is your society frankly rewarding or excluding the voices that need to be heard.

Alison Jones:                        Absolutely. And you know, interestingly, not to spend too long on it, but that’s exactly the case for writers of business books as well, is that men are much readier, often, to own that expertise, to own that authority, to say, “Yes, I have the right to put a book out in the world.” And fewer women do so, it’s really interesting.

Anyway, I want to press on because there was something in the book that really struck me, I thought was such an interesting point, and I’d love to discuss it with you. You’ve got a passage called ‘Nothing New Under the Sun’, and I wrote down the quote because I thought it was so good: “Creative thinkers always believe there’s genuinely such a thing as a brand new idea. There isn’t. There’s just the history they don’t know yet. All the ideas have been done before, but the context is often fresh.” I read that a few times, I thought, “That’s beautifully put.” And it seemed to me, that it could have been written for writers of business books, just as much as leaders of organisations. Because we’re all frantic to find the new idea. And of course there’s no such thing really, there’s just different ways of expressing and interesting, and of showing it. Particularly for your book, how did you weave in those kind of ancient concepts in a book that’s so focused on the 21st century, and why did you think it was important to do so?

Pippa Malmgren:              Well it’s all about the metaphor isn’t it? That’s how people understand things. Storytelling. They say that we only have seven stories. Every single story in history falls in one of seven categories. But the way that story is told, can be very different. What’s the metaphor? So that’s why our Kythera mechanism is a metaphor for how to navigate. And so this was a huge focus for us, is what’s universally understood. What do we all know deep in our hearts to be true. And that is how you get people to pay attention. In other words, again, I’m back to that it’s not about the facts, it’s about feelings as well. And how you move audiences has very much to do with how you handle that side of things.

In other words, the Western reductionist, ‘it’s logical, the answer is obvious and logical,’ doesn’t really work very well. Particularly in a world that’s changing so fast, and people are trying to cope with the pace of change they’re finding difficult. So that’s the answer. The universality of the human condition is what we have to play to. Rather than a fixed set of rules of ‘I’m right, you’re wrong, this is the way to do it, I’m the infallible leader, do it my way.’ How many of us know some millennial in a company or organisation, that is going out of their mind because they know exactly how to get technology to accomplish a task, but their bosses won’t let them do it?

We all know that person.

Alison Jones:                        And there’s something else that’s quite compelling about the way that you bring in sources that have stood the test of time. I love that you finish with Saint Augustine of Hippo. I don’t think that’s often done in a business book.

Pippa Malmgren:              No, and to be fair, that was Chris. And it’s such a wonderful quote about, we don’t know what our potential is. But we can find out. And I have to say, as an economist, another reason I wanted to write this book, is I feel that the most underutilised, if not entirely lost resource in the world economy, is untapped, underutilised human talent. And we have a lot in the book about automation, robotics, the new technology environment, and people are so afraid that they’re all going to lose their jobs, and there won’t be anything for them to do. And actually, what we think is that this new technology is incredibly democratising and inclusive. And it creates opportunities for people that were never able to kind of get into the game, to now enter. And this is very important that we have this more open-minded optimistic approach.

As a small idea here, people often say to me, the problem, the reason we’re having so much populism, is because of income inequality. And I say, Well I understand why that’s an issue, but we have had that throughout history. Arguably worse at some times in the past than even now. We’ve had an extraordinary uplift in incomes all over the world. Particularly in the poorer countries. So why is it that we’re so upset? And I think it’s something a little bit different. It’s the problem of, the elevator doors are broken. And what I mean by that, is if you’re at the top, for example I worked in investment banking when the financial crisis happened, what was the leaders solution to that? They decided to reward the huge risk-taking behaviour that had put the whole of society at risk, and increased the debt so hugely. And instead of holding the financial services sector to account, they basically gave them the biggest blank cheque in modern history. Bigger than a wartime budget. It was an unbelievable payoff. And as we know, everyone who owned assets has done incredibly well during the last decade.

And so the elevator door didn’t bring anybody down. And at the other end, people who don’t have connections, and who didn’t go to college, who are displaced, they never get inside an elevator door, because no one will open the door to them. So when I talked to all these CEOs around the world, and political leaders, they say, “I’m really, really worried about populism.” And I say, “Okay, when’s the last time you hired someone who didn’t go to college? Who didn’t have a traditional background, who maybe is displaced by life?” And they went, “Well we never hire those people.” And I’m like, “Okay, then we know where populism is coming from, it’s the breakdown of confidence and belief that the system can accommodate all these people. And so, if we lock them out, we can’t be surprised if they’re noisy about that. And especially now when technology is giving them voice.” So we need to fix the elevator door problem. And I think you’d get more diversity of thinking as well.

I gave a talk for a law firm recently, they were so cute. They said, “Oh, we’re very diverse because we hire from five different law schools. You’re like, “Uh, sweetie, we need to have a chat about what constitutes diversity.”

Alison Jones:                        Wow. That’s …

Pippa Malmgren:              And the thing is, you don’t do diversity because it’s nice. You do it because it’s incredibly efficient. Because the numbers are crystal clear. The more diversity of people, and diversity of thinking, the more robust performance you’ll get from your organisation. It’s just hands down obviously.

Alison Jones:                        It’s lazy, but also it’s so safe isn’t it? It’s so comfortable to hire someone who looks like you, sounds like you, dresses like you, with whom you feel you could have dinner.

Pippa Malmgren:              But it’s just not right. And we live in a world now where there’s just so many interesting people doing interesting things in unconventional ways. This is something that Chris often says. When you do something, the real question is, “Why did you choose to do it in such a conventional matter?”

Alison Jones:                        That’s a great question!

Pippa Malmgren:              That’s a great question you know?

Alison Jones:                        Because I love the way it assumes that. So that you’re brain immediately goes and says, “Huh, yes, well I did do that conventionally.” That’s fantastic, it’s really smart.

Pippa Malmgren:              Yes, ’cause it’s hard to ask people to be unconventional.

Alison Jones:                        Right.

Pippa Malmgren:              It’s easy to ask them, why did you do it in such a conventional way?

Alison Jones:                        And suddenly you’re aware.

Pippa Malmgren:              Yes.

Alison Jones:                        That’s really smart.

Pippa Malmgren:              You know Peter Drucker the management guru, always said, “You should ask yourself every three years, how would I do what I’m doing, if I weren’t already doing it this way?” And that is another super-powerful, very dangerous, very difficult thing to ask because… especially again with technology moving so fast, you would be doing it profoundly differently if you were starting from scratch today. So learning how to keep up with that pace of things is important.

Alison Jones:                        And that’s why we need books like… The Leadership Lab’s got that edge to it. A little bit of danger, and a little bit discomfort. Because without that, and without books like that, people just carry on doing what they’re doing. And making people think is the … It’s not a sufficient condition for change, but it is a necessary condition.

Pippa Malmgren:              It is. And I have to say, the publisher Kogan Page was very open minded. Because what we’ve written here, is not in any way a conventional business book. It’s literally like a knife to the throat of the current generation of leaders, saying, “Guys,” (and mainly it is guys) “You are going to lose it, if you don’t get a grip on what is happening out there. And here is your guide. We’re going to walk you through, and spell it out in each to these areas. What’s really happening, and the tools you need.” And it’s an invitation to the next generation of leadership to say, “We’re ready, so hurry up, put your name forward, stop holding back, because the world does need…”

I mean we open the book saying we’re in this extraordinary crisis of leadership. It’s hard to name a sector of the economy or of politics or business that isn’t in crisis. I mean we’ve had everything from the lying about the auto emissions, to the sex scandals with the Pope. We’ve had the LIBOR and the rigged trading. You cannot name a part of our society where the leaders have no been called into question for bad judgement. And therefore, it was worth writing a book that covers the whole spectrum. It doesn’t matter whether our reader is in business leadership, or political leadership, religious leadership, community leadership, the point is, leadership in its definition, has profoundly changed because the world has changed. And this whole thing is a guide of how to navigate in that new environment.

Alison Jones:                        Brilliant. And it is superb. I have to say, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I’m going to ask you, obviously, obviously everybody listening should immediately go and buy the Leadership Lab, but apart from that one, what business book particularly, has made an impact on you, that you recommend others should go and read?

Pippa Malmgren:              Oh, so I’m very quirky about my reading. I’m voracious in my reading.

Alison Jones:                        I hoped you would be.

Pippa Malmgren:              Yes. And you know, I’m the queen of keeping the out-of-print book companies going. Because I find there’s so much wisdom is stuff that’s been out of print for a long time. So I have to say, one of the most extraordinary books that I have ever read, was by the famous management guru that I mentioned, Peter Druker. But it’s never, ever, ever quoted anymore, because it wasn’t a management book. It was the very first book he ever wrote in 1939, where he said, “We are about to have an epic World War.” And it was before it had happened, and it was a warning. And he was so afraid to publish it at the time, because he thought everybody’s going to think I’ve lost my marbles. And it’s called The End of Economic Man.

That book was such an inspiration to me because it’s all about asking the question: what is the fundamental social contract that holds our society together? What is the purpose, role, and function of the nation, of companies, of organisations? And this is where I think his view, which is not in this book specifically, but you can see the origin of the question: what is the purpose of your organisation? Because it’s not enough to be profitable. You have to be profitable, obviously, otherwise you’re gone. But once you are, then what social function in society do you serve? Because that’s where brand loyalty comes from. That’s where voter loyalty comes from, that’s where… All followership is based on that.

For me, that is the most important book of his I’ve ever read. But because it wasn’t about management, it was about society, it never gets quotes anymore. So that would be one of my-

Alison Jones:                        I haven’t even heard of it.

Pippa Malmgren:              No, nobody even knows about it anymore. And I’m super into artificial intelligence, I’m manufacturing robotics, I make commercial drones. So I’m right at the cutting edge of automation robotics, artificial intelligence and I’ve found that going back and reading some of the original writers is so helpful. So there’s a guy called Norbert Wiener, and he was always right on the edge of a Nobel Prize. He never did get it, but he wrote an amazing book called The Human Use of Human Beings.

Alison Jones:                        Wow, what a great title.

Pippa Malmgren:              A great title. And it was again, I think he wrote that in about 1949. And he introduces the concept of cybernetics, which is the interface between humans and machines. And his work had huge influence on Arthur C. Clark, and many of the science fiction writers. But if you really want to understand artificial intelligence, go back and read Norbert Wiener, because he speaks in such clear, plain English. There’s no jargon, he explains the origins of artificial intelligence. Which interestingly, what it really is, it’s all about the fact that human beings when push comes to shove, and somebody’s supposed to push the nuclear weapon button, humans won’t do it. And because they won’t do it, governments have tried to invent AI to get them to overcome the impasse. And yet, here we are all these years later, and we still won’t allow, and I think quite rightly, AI to kill anything with a human being in it. And it just goes to show you, the human use of human beings. We are very protective of our own species, and if you want to come to conclusion about what role AI is going to play in that, I can think of no better book to start with.

Alison Jones:                        So Pippa, if people want to find out more about you, or about the Leadership Lab, where should they go?

Pippa Malmgren:              So Chris and I are very active on social media. You can find Chris under @largeburrito on Twitter….

Alison Jones:                        That’s awesome. That’s terribly serious.

Pippa Malmgren:              No it’s totally true. And you can find me at @drpippam. You know I would have put just Pippa m, but then you get Pippa Middleton. So I have to put the doctor in from, in order to do …

Alison Jones:                        That must be the bane of your life.

Pippa Malmgren:              It’s not a bad look, it’s just not the one I’m looking for. Anyways, so we’re there and you can track most of what we’re doing in our podcasts and stuff, on our social media.

Alison Jones:                        Fantastic.

Pippa Malmgren:              But it’s on Amazon, and we’re very much looking forward to a dialogue with everybody who’s reading it.

Alison Jones:                        I bet you get lots of really fascinating feedback from it. Thank you so much Pippa, it’s absolute joy to talk to you today.

Pippa Malmgren:              Thank you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.