Why Management Can’t Be Replaced By Computers

I’m new at this management thing — I was promoted back in January — but I’ve figured out that it would be hard to program a computer to manage for the same reasons it’s hard to program a computer to play Go:

  • I have to spend a lot of time and energy figuring out what to pay attention to. If I simply look at the most recent change, or the most active places, I’ll always be reacting, and thus always on the defensive. You can’t win at Go if you’re only reactive, not proactive.
  • There’s a frequent need to switch between close-in (tactical) and far-out (strategic) approaches. Ideally, I should be able to see both scopes simultaneously, but at best I can switch between them quickly. Each switch imposes a cost, however.

Of course, I’m still figuring out this manager thing. And I’m even worse at Go than I am at managing. But those are my observations so far.