Thanksgiving and Humanism

This Thanksgiving I would like to thank all of the colleagues and entrepreneurs who have helped make the past year of my entrepreneurial journey so enriching.

We only remember a few moments across a year…the times you celebrate the wins, the days you band together to deal with a particular challenge, the moments of sheer delight or awe, the moments of immense shock. What a ride it is.

These moments almost always revolve around shared interactions with other humans. No matter how powerful technology is in our lives, the first things I remember when I reflect on what I’m thankful for are images of people.

What does that show? To me, a couple things. One, that we must always look at technology as an augmenter of human beings and not the other way around. Even automation, while it may displace millions of jobs, does not replace millions of humans or the potential of the same. History shows us our humanity persists through every age of change. We are still governed by our primal instincts. As a race, we have worked hard to survive; it must be evolutionary for us to stay human-centric as that has helped us triumph.

Two, if humans are what matter the most and we still understand relatively little about how we work, there is a giant opportunity and imperative to understand ourselves better. Whether we use machine learning to better model or influence human behavior (cognition, emotion, action) or biology to better understand or intervene on how the body actually functions, all innovation ultimately derives from and generates value for humans.

Augmenting humans is essentially my entire business. So I am thankful for the humans in my life who help me remember that I am human and that humans matter. I am human-centric in my work and my life because it is the only thing that allows me to define and justify my existence through the lens of the individual. I am, therefore you are. But also: you are, therefore I am. Thus: I am, therefore I am. Existence precedes essence and I am thankful for that!

Enjoy your Thanksgiving!