HIT Piece 12.29.2015

By | Blog, HIT Pieces, Old Posts, The Future & The Singularity, Truth

And the hits just keep on coming.

The end of the year makes people take stock of what they’ve done and who they’ve helped (or hurt) in the year that has passed.

I’m no different in that respect.

However, where I am a little different from some others is that I take stock of the future, rather than the past.

There are all kinds of opportunities available if you’re not bound by your past. If, instead of looking at the past constantly, seeking reassurance, righteous judgment, or even retribution upon thiose4 who have injured you, you instead focus on de4veloping talents skills and abilities to meet the rising road ahead of you.

Many people are bound by the past. And I’m a big fan of history.

This year, in this space, I have used this platform to talk about the past and to encourage and spur my audience on toward the future. The future is, in many ways, an even scarier place than the past, because it seems as though here is no map to get there.

And the hits just keep on coming.

My take on 2016 is that, for many of us, it will be more of the same: The same arguments, the same disagreements, the same fights, the same confrontations. Because too many of us focus too hard on the past and not hard enough on the future.

And I will keep documenting my changes, as I try different things and different methods, hopefully leading to different (but not necessarily always better) outcomes for both myself and the people around me.

More introspection.

More self-awareness.

More HITs.

-Peace Be With You All-

Jesan Sorrells, MA
Principal Conflict Engagement Consultant
Human Services Consulting and Training (HSCT)
Email HSCT: jsorrells@hsconsultingandtraining.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HSConsultingandTraining
Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/Sorrells79
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jesansorrells/

[Advice] Burl Ives Was Wrong…

By | Blog, Conflict, Conflict Communication, Conflict Engagement, Conflict Resolution, Culture, Old Posts, Social Communication, Stress

It’s the eve before Christmas in the Western world, and if you adhere to the Christian faith (or you just like getting and giving) then you’re trying to prepare for a holly, jolly…well, you know…

Personally, I’m annoyed by Burl Ives’s voice, but the fact the matter is, that the holiday season has changed for many people in the United States and throughout the West.

Call it the backlash against consumerism, the wreck of the post-Industrial Revolution age in which we all now live or the backwash from the events of 2001 and 2008, but there is the image of the holiday season, pushed and promoted through advertising, marketing and media, and then there is the lived reality.

When the legend becomes reality (or fact) the old admonition used to be to “print the legend.” And while that admonition still holds in too many public spheres, the fact is that much of the Western public, privately has moved on, forging new meaning and new definitions for this time of the year. And the fact that those definitions and meanings don’t show up in a Youtube video, or in a television advertisement, doesn’t make them less valid.

Things have changed in three areas:

Family experiences seem to matter more than gifts: Much is regularly made about how the “definition of family is changing” or has shifted in the last 40 years, but quite honestly, people still travel and communicate with people than they know, like and love over the holiday season now, more than ever before.

Public political proclamations don’t matter much at private holiday get together’s: Yes, Uncle Don came out last year after 15 years of being in the closet and is bringing his husband to dinner. Yes, Niece Sharon is 34 and had a child without a “man” in her life and is bringing the new child to dinner. Yes, Cousin Matt is a political conservative and a business man who just married an African-American woman who is a vegetarian and won’t eat the turkey.

A lot is made of these surface divisions in the media, political writing, and even in marketing, but the fact is, family and friends either get over it, or they fake it like they have until the person (or persons) have left, in order to preserve the peace, aiming at the higher goal of “family togetherness.” This is not wrong, this is not right. This just is. And for all of the family strife that is typically marketed (or displayed) in individuals’ Facebook feeds, the vast majority still gather around a table with people they disagree with.

The gadgets are not anymore the separators than the newspaper and television were 40 years ago: Are people on the screens more often? Yes, because there are more options and more screens than ever before. But while screen time may have increased, the sharing of that screen time with others cannot be accurately measured. The gadgets may separate, but they also draw together, and at the furthest end, are disconnected from when it comes time to engage with meaningful, face-to-face communication.

So, maybe Burl Ives was right, and maybe I’m wrong. I don’t know. But while our tools have changed and transformed, the internal stuff that makes us people hasn’t shifted dramatically in a few thousand years.

I think someone else pointed this fact out to stunned crowds without the benefit of high technology around 2000 years ago as well.

-Peace Be With You All-

Jesan Sorrells, MA
Principal Conflict Engagement Consultant
Human Services Consulting and Training (HSCT)
Email HSCT: jsorrells@hsconsultingandtraining.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HSConsultingandTraining
Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/Sorrells79
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jesansorrells/

HIT Piece 12.22.2015

By | Blog, Entrepreneurship, HIT Pieces, Old Posts, Truth

My wife will tell you that I never take “time off.”

She’ll say there’s no “break from this project” and she’ll tell you that many of my interactions with other people only demarcate interruptions between email, social platform updates, blog posts, product development ideas, and new business operations ideas. Some that might pan out—many that might not.

My in-laws will tell you I’m obsessive about work. And so will my children. That I never “unplug” or I am “always on the computer.” My immediate family will say that I seem distracted and antsy when I’m not working on cracking some project.

They’re not wrong.

It’s hard to be in this project alone, because, even though many people think that it looks romantic from the outside, to truly become even a moderately large sized force in the arena of conflict engagement and corporate training, the person in the arena has to be dedicated 24/7.

Now, to answer the objections, yes, I understand that material success is nothing without relationships that matter to share it with. And I am doing a better job than I was last year at actually trying to “dial in” to family moments, breaks and respites.

But I’m doing what I love, and I don’t know any other way to get to those outsized rewards in the minimal time that I have left on this planet, than to pursue the results of that love really, really hard for just a little while.

And I do take “time off.” Today is my annual retreat day, where I go to the mattresses (as Clemenza pointed out to Michael in The Godfather) and take some time away from the grind of the day-to-day and reflect on what I’ve done well, what I’ve done mediocrely, and what I haven’t done at all…

Now, I’m headed to Barnes and Noble. It’s the place to unwind, at least while they’re still around.

-Peace Be With You All-

Jesan Sorrells, MA
Principal Conflict Engagement Consultant
Human Services Consulting and Training (HSCT)
Email HSCT: jsorrells@hsconsultingandtraining.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HSConsultingandTraining
Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/Sorrells79
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jesansorrells/

[Opinion] Manipulation, Deceit and Disagreement in the Digital Age

By | Advice, Blog, Conflict, Conflict Communication, Conflict Engagement, Conflict Resolution, Facebook, Google, Old Posts, Opinions, Privacy, Social, Social Communication, Social Media, Strategies, Technology, The Future & The Singularity, Twitter, Website

When most information can be known about other people via the swipe of a finger, the click of an Internet search, or through scrolling through a social media feed, how is it that so many people can still be deceived?

This is not really an information based question, this is a question about one of the key components of persuasion in the digital age, the dark side of it, if you will, deception and manipulation.

When only a few people and organizations used to hold the keys to both Truth and Power, it was hard to find out facts that disagreed with whatever the dominant narrative happened to be. Speaking truth to power was not an exercise for the faint of heart, either in a family, a community, or even in a municipality.

But, after over 25 years of commercialized Internet access to the masses, information (about people, ideas, processes, services, and on and on) seems hard to come by, rendering many people suspicious that they are being deceived but no quite knowing how. This feeling leads to the creation of various digital “tribes” that do battle to “correct the record” and “make the facts known.” But, at the end of the conflict, everything seems murkier than when the disagreement initially began and the residue of mistrust and anger lingers in the air.

  • Are we more deceived, or more informed?
  • Are we more oblivious, or more “tuned in?”
  • Are we more selective (“owning our own facts”) or are we more open to hearing and contemplating the “other side.”
  • Do disagreements and disputes have more weight online than they do in “real life” and if so, why?
  • Does anonymity and privacy lead to manipulation and deceit, or are they the only tools the powerless have to call the powerful to task?
  • What is the middle ground?

There are no easy, quick, or definitive answers to these questions. And after 150 years of “The Industrialization of everything” from education to social services, we in the Western world have been inculcated to believe that quick and definitive is the “new normal,” rather than being aware that, for many questions, there is more ambiguity than there are answers.

-Peace Be With You All-

Jesan Sorrells, MA
Principal Conflict Engagement Consultant
Human Services Consulting and Training (HSCT)
Email HSCT: jsorrells@hsconsultingandtraining.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HSConsultingandTraining
Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/Sorrells79
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jesansorrells/

[Contributor] Repairing the Internet of Things

By | Blog, Contributors, Guest Blogger, Guest Bloggers, Old Posts, Privacy, Technology, The Future & The Singularity
Alexander Gault_Contibutor_Photo

Contributor – Alexander Gault
Follow Alex on Twitter @AlexanderBGault

The connected TVs, refrigerators, microwaves, electrical outlets, cars, and so on have made their foray into the market, and into our homes. But with these new innovations comes a cost, and that cost is one of the most basic of any appliances.

Reparability.

When you have a broken refrigerator, chances are you can call a repairman or the family handyman to fix it. When your refrigerator no longer can stream Netflix, though, it’s less likely that you can call your family handyman, or even some repairmen. And it’s unlikely that the local computer repair shop will know what to do with your appliance either, as they are not typically run on a normal operating system.

The clearest example of the difficulty of repair presented by the connected world is in the car industry.

Since the late 1990s, cars have had increasingly computerized components used in them. Modern cars have MPG calculators, WiFi hotspots, computerized speedometers, thermostat units, and all other manner of computerized units to make it comfortable and convenient for its owners. Even car doors are more complicated than before, with auto-opening features on sliding doors and trunks that can disable a door with the slightest mechanical error.

A few months ago, I was watching a mechanic explain the systems of an Audi. He explained that often, when a car comes in with a service light on, it can be attributed to a simple sensor error, or even a trivial issue that can be resolved without the help of a mechanic. For example, most German luxury cars, including this Audi, have a slew of sensors in their electrical systems, that can detect even a blown trunk light. When the car came in for its routine servicing, the tool to detect error codes turned up multiple errors for cabin and trunk lights, all contributing to error codes on the information panel that worried the customer.

Car mechanics have, therefore, been required to update their methods, and sink much more time and education into their profession than they expected. For those who cannot or will not train, they quickly lose their relevancy.

This is the future for all handymen, those who make it their profession to repair things. In 10 years, your refrigerator will be automated, telling you when you’re almost out of food. And when it continually shows “Out of Milk”, or even worse, orders more each time it queries the sensors, you’ll have to find a mechanic relevant to the current decade.


Alexander Gault-Plate is an aspiring journalist and writer, currently in the 12th grade. He has worked with his school’s newspapers and maintained a blog for his previous school. In the future, he hopes to write for a new-media news company.

You can follow Alexander on Twitter here https://twitter.com/AlexanderBGault


 

 

[Strategy] Open A.I. Disagreements

By | Blog, Conflict, Neuroscience, Old Posts, Privacy, Relationships, Technology, The Future & The Singularity

In a world with responsive, predictive artificial intelligence, operating behind the veneer of the world in which humans operate, a philosophical question arises:

Will the very human tendency toward conflicts increase or decrease in a world where the frictions between us and the objects we have created is reduced?

From the Open A.I project to research being done at MIT, Google, and Facebook, the race is on to set the table for the technology of world of one hundred years from now.

As with all great advances in human development (and the development of artificial intelligence capabilities would rival going to the Moon) the applications of artificial intelligence at first will be bent towards satisfying our basest desires and human appetites and then move up the hierarchy of needs.

But a lot of this research and development is being done by scientists, developers, entrepreneurs, and others (technologists all) who—at least in their public pronouncements—seem to view people and our emotions, thoughts, feelings and tendencies toward irrationality and conflict, as a hindrance rather than as a partner.

Or, to put it in “computer speak”: In the brave new world of artificial intelligence research, humanity’s contributions–and decision making–is too often viewed as a bug, rather than as a feature.

However, design thinking demands that humans—and their messy irrational problems and conflicts—be placed at the center of such thinking rather than relegated to the boundaries and the edges. Even as humans create machines that can learn deeply, perform complex mathematics, created logical algorithms, and generate better solutions to complex future problems than the human who created the problems and conflicts in the first place.

Eventually, humans will create intelligence that will mimic our responses so closely that it will be hard to tell whether those responses are “live” or merely “Memorex.”

But until that day comes, mediators, arbitrators, litigators, social workers, therapists, psychologists, anthropologists, philosophers, poets, and writers, need to get into the research rooms, the think tanks and onto the boards of the foundations and the stages at the conferences, with the technologists to remind them that there is more to the future than mere mathematics.

Or else, the implications for the consequences of future conflicts (human vs. human and even machine vs. human) could be staggering.

-Peace Be With You All-

Jesan Sorrells, MA
Principal Conflict Engagement Consultant
Human Services Consulting and Training (HSCT)
Email HSCT: jsorrells@hsconsultingandtraining.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HSConsultingandTraining
Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/Sorrells79
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jesansorrells/

[Advice] The Gap Between Here and There

By | Advice, Blog, Conflict, Conflict Communication, Emotional Intelligence, Entrepreneurship, Marketing for Peace Builders, Old Posts, Opinions, Persuasion, Platform Building, Social Communication, Strategies, Strategy, The Future & The Singularity

The decision is the thing.

It looks romantic from the outside, I’ll be honest.  A journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step, but you can’t take the first step without the decision to make the first step in the first place.

The gap between being there and getting here and the gap between being here and getting there are only covered by two actions:

Making a decision without much reassurance from others…

And

Doing the work without much appreciation from others about how difficult it is.

What covers the first gap (the one between being there and getting here) is making a decision. Making a decision to take action is scary and uncertain; and there’s usually very little reassurance from others. It typically begins when you are motivated enough to actually make the decision in the first place, and you’ll either be motivated by internal factors or external circumstances. And only one of these do you have control over.

What covers the second gap (the one between being here and getting there) is doing “the work.” Many people believe that “the work” or work ethic, is fading in American life. I prefer to believe that as the nature of “the work” shifts (from blue collar to white collar to “no” collar) the nature of the work ethic changes as well. Have I put in less “work” when I type up a 500-word blog post than a person has, who codes an algorithm all day in a language that looks like Mandarin to me?

It looks romantic from the outside, I’ll be honest. But on the inside, I can tell you, the work is what people observing you building your business, your project, your idea, or your processes from the outside aren’t going to see. And by “the work,” what these outside observers are really looking for are the tangible results of your efforts, your arguments, your research and your time.

Because, for better or worse, American culture is still built on getting results, rather than the nature and efficacy of developing, managing and experiencing, the process. For the peace builder, thinking about how to start building their project right now, I encourage you to cover the gap, first by making a decision, and then by doing the work.

For the peace builder (or anyone else who ever built anything) the decision is “the work.”

-Peace Be With You All-

Jesan Sorrells, MA
Principal Conflict Engagement Consultant
Human Services Consulting and Training (HSCT)
Email HSCT: jsorrells@hsconsultingandtraining.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HSConsultingandTraining
Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/Sorrells79
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jesansorrells/

[Podcast] The Death of F2F Communication

By | Advice, Blog, Conflict, Earbud_U Podcast, Old Posts, Opinions, Podcast Archives, Podcast Episode, Privacy, Strategies, Technology, The Future & The Singularity

Our personal assistants have names like Cloe, Clara, Julie, Luka and Amy.

[Podcast] The Death of F2F Communication

Our devices have names like Alexa, Siri and Cortana.

We are getting the future we were promised, though not evenly distributed (as has been pointed out in the past), and not in the same areas simultaneously. Soon, HAL 9000 will be in our homes, not in a deep space vehicle.

We have FitBits, Jawbones, and Apple and Android Watches. We are slowly getting augmented reality, virtual reality and even electric, automated self-driving cars.

Voice data, movement data, and biometric data collection technologies lie at the “bleeding edge” of future machine-to-human communication technologies. We do not have laws or regulations to deal with the consequences of having these devices; which are always on, always recording, always collecting and always reporting to someone—somewhere.

We have given up our privacy for convenience, and whether or not you believe this is a Faustian bargain, the deal is in the process of being struck even as you are alive and watching it happen. And the people of the future will not lament the loss of face-to-face communication, any more than present generations lament the passing of the horse and buggy.

How should conflict professionals respond to the death of face-to-face communication and the rise of machine-to-human communication?

  • Get involved in the collection of data, the organizations that collect it, and even on the boards of organizations that make decisions and regulations about the use of it—peace builders have an obligation to no longer sit on the sidelines, hoping that none of this will happen. Getting involved in all parts of the process, from creation ot decision making, is the new obligation for peace builders.
  • Build businesses that act as intermediaries (mediators, if you will) between Alexa, Siri and whatever is next and the people who will seek to control what those devices reveal about people’s private lives—private conflict communications are about to go public. And peace builders have seen the devastating effects of such publicity on relationships, reputation and understanding through the first level of all of this—social media.
  • Prepare to address the stress that will be magnified through people curating their lives, tailoring their responses to what “should” be said, rather than what will actually be “true”—with the death of privacy through all of your devices in your house either recording you, tracking you, suggesting items to you, or even interacting with you, the line between what is truly felt, and what you actually say, will become even narrower. Peace builders should prepare through training to address this cognitive dissonance, because it will only take a few generations before more masking of previously transparent communication will occur.

As man and machine begin to merge at the first level with communication, peace builders should be engaging with the process proactively and aggressively, rather than waiting and being caught by surprise.

-Peace Be With You All-

Jesan Sorrells, MA
Principal Conflict Engagement Consultant
Human Services Consulting and Training (HSCT)
Email HSCT: jsorrells@hsconsultingandtraining.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HSConsultingandTraining
Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/Sorrells79
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jesansorrells/

[Opinion] The Data Driven Conflict Engagement Product

By | Blog, Conflict, Conflict Communication, Conflict Engagement, Conflict Resolution, Consulting, Entrepreneurship, Marketing for Peace Builders, Old Posts, Platform Building, Privacy, Technology, Website, Workshop

When people are searching for ways to resolve the conflicts in their lives, their workplaces, and even in their neighborhoods, they’re using Google to do it.

They’re reading blog content from the Huffington Post, watching videos on YouTube and talking to their friends and neighbors about the conflict, how to resolve it, or just venting about it.

But they aren’t searching for a mediator, a lawyer or even a conflict coach. They aren’t asking their friends for a referral, nor are they attending workshops and trainings to get resolution.

And, as frustrating as it may be for the accomplished peace builder, many people who could have used the services of a trained peace builder, come to them as a last resort, rather than as a “top of the mind” choice.

The solution to this is not to crank out more conflict coaches, conflict academics, conflict mediators lawyers, arbitrators and other professionals. The solution to this is not to develop another mandated, 40 hour certification process for training mediators, who will become volunteers, to address the needs of community mediation centers.

The solution to this is to build new, data driven products, that meet the consumers of conflict (who are searching, tweeting, reading, and examining at places other than where all the peace builders typically hang out online) where they are, rather than where the profession would like to them to be.

The data driven conflict engagement product, marketed to the right audience, based on their preferences and their searches, with data gathered from their requests, concerns, questions and issues, supported by content that informs, entertains and advocates for their concerns, could be the greatest product the field of peace building ever creates.

There are a few people working on this right now at Stanford, in Washington, DC, in Arizona and in Silicon Valley—but not nearly enough to meet the needs of people in conflict.

-Peace Be With You All-

Jesan Sorrells, MA
Principal Conflict Engagement Consultant
Human Services Consulting and Training (HSCT)
Email HSCT: jsorrells@hsconsultingandtraining.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HSConsultingandTraining
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/Sorrells79
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/jesansorrells/