Good technology serves and nurtures humanity

We must place the pace of the human heart before the pace of the machine. This is vital.

Yesterday, in Athens, Greece, a 77 year-old man took his life in broad daylight because the government had severed his pension and his debts had run too high. Rather than eat from garbage cans and saddle his children with debt, he chose to end his life. Greek psychologists on the radio called this a murder by the State and a failed system.

One way of understanding this event is through the lens of the human heart, the emotional center of the human being. The Greek system had its own pace, a momentum and rhythm out of sync with the individual who took his life. If the system had been in sync with this gentleman, he would have received what he needed on that day, in that week, during that month. The system would have been in tune with this man and his pain, his loss, his need. And he would have had a number, an email, a chat room, a physical person to reveal his situation to. And this person would have made a plan with him to ease the weight for that week at least, or even that month. And a life would have been saved.

The machine in current times bears much the same complexion as in decades and centuries past – a banking and corporate system driven by supply and demand, by profit and loss. The difference in today’s world is the sheer velocity of the machine we now interact with: from the millisecond pace of the currency trading world to the speed of next-day delivery, humans have upped the ante in terms of “estimated time of arrival.” And, in the case of the 77-year-old gentleman in Athens, we have accelerated the “estimated time of departure” as well. That man did not need to go when he did. And the way to change this is to incorporate a system that compliments or matches human pace.

Debt is an excellent market niche to locate the discussion of human and machine pace. The varying strata within the loan universe carry varying levels of velocity in terms of repayment. Most are inhuman, determined by an equation vs. the natural pace of the individual being lent the money. Some systems are different and more human. Let us take an option called Cumulus Funding. With Cumulus, the human being can share his particulars and then be lent money based upon his income potential (as measured by what the IRS has recorded). And, over a period of 8 years, this individual is charged a minor percentage each month of his varying income. If his income ceases for a time due to sickness or loss of job, then Cumulus will not draw from his account. When he finds a job again or his health improves, then Cumulus begins drawing again. Cumulus Funding is an example of a human-based lending system, based upon the natural rhythms of a typical human life and career. And, in the ideal Cumulus world, both the individual and the lender win.

Such a system is precisely what the 77-year-old gentleman in Athens needed. He needed a system that understood the needs of his stage of life, of his week, of his month. He needed to be in relation to an intelligence machine…one could even say, an emotionally intelligent machine. We need a culture of technologists oriented toward the human animal. We need a banking culture oriented toward the human family. To be clear: It is vital that humans leverage technology to create a more humane world. Business must be about pleasing the heart vs. pleasing machines.