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Why We Still Need Humans to Run The Internet

WASHINGTON, DC – May 26, 2020

Sometime today in the Rakuten marketplace, a customer is going to complain to a merchant. Perhaps an order arrived too slowly or a shoe did not fit or an apple was not as sweet as expected.

I don’t know what each party will say to the other, but I know one thing: they will communicate with one another. And for that reason alone, I know our business model will ultimately be successful.

We live in a world in which communication has moved to a digital platform. We text and tweet and email and post. Our communication takes place on a variety of screens.

But as we do this, we are not negating the need for human connection. We have simply created new tools with which to do it. It’s critical as we create new digital products and platforms and marketplaces that we make them all with opportunities to communicate – customers to merchants, merchants to suppliers, customers to each other – across timelines and digital platforms and national borders.

Too often technology is used today to bypass communication. We use online forms, automated responses and other digital tools not to communicate, but to avoid it. Time spent in conversation with the customer is not valued.

But this goes against a core driver of human nature. We want to connect with one another. We will never be satisfied with a product or service or society that blocks us from doing this thing we so value.

The Internet gives us many great opportunities. As we embrace them, we must bring with us the opportunity to communicate. It is the way we ensure that the future is not only digital, it is human.