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How to defy AI: Be the best human you can

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How to defy AI: Be the best human you can

If you are worried about losing your job to AI there is only one way you can come out on top: Be the best human you can.

Even as the World Ethical Data Foundation publishes an 84-point voluntary framework for developing artificial intelligence products safely, it's entirely understandable you might worry your job will be replaced by a machine.

Rapidly advancing AI technology has already proven that its development is unstoppable. So, we humans have two choices:

  1. Compete – Hone our talents in areas where AI is also strong, and
  2. Differentiate – Focus on areas which people are better at than AI

Competing with AI

Can you really compete on the many things machines do well? I asked this question of ChatGPT, and this is what it came up with (italicized to differentiate my words from that of the machine):

  • Repetitive Tasks: Machines excel at performing repetitive tasks without getting tired or making mistakes due to fatigue or boredom. This includes tasks like data entry, sorting, and manufacturing processes.

Some people enjoy repetitive tasks. They thrive in an environment where they can just do the same thing over and over again. These creatures of habit usually even eat the same thing for breakfast every day. They have what Gallup® CliftonStrengths® calls a Consistency® talent.

  • Data Analysis: Machines can process vast amounts of data quickly and accurately. They can identify patterns, trends, and insights that may not be immediately apparent to humans, making them valuable in data analytics and business intelligence.
  • Pattern Recognition: AI algorithms can recognize patterns in data, images, and sounds, enabling applications in facial recognition, speech recognition, and object detection.

Some people are exceptionally good at data analysis. They recognise patters with great ease. Just by looking across a spreadsheet the numbers leap out at them, like Russell Crowe's character in A Beautiful Mind. They have what Gallup® CliftonStrengths® calls an Analytical® talent.

  • Precision and Accuracy: Machines, especially robotic systems, can carry out actions with high precision and accuracy, making them ideal for tasks where human error could have severe consequences, such as surgery or precision manufacturing.

While some people take a big picture general view, others are exacting and detail oriented. They have a Responsibility® talent, in Gallup® CliftonStrengths®' words.

Others again are so precise they won't stop until all the 'i's are dotted and the 't's are crossed. Gallup® CliftonStrengths® refers to this as Restorative.

  • Memory and Recall: Computers have almost limitless memory capacity and can recall information instantaneously, whereas human memory is limited and susceptible to forgetting.

Some people love nothing more than imbibing information. They get their information fix from books, magazines and websites, but also documentaries and spreadsheets. Sometimes their friends refer to them as walking libraries. Gallup® names this as an Input® talent theme in CliftonStrengths®.

  • Language Translation: AI-powered translation tools have made significant progress in translating languages, allowing for more accessible communication on a global scale.

English might be the dominant language in many parts of the world and the lingua franca of the internet and international business. But far more people speak a different mother tongue. Many others are multilingual. Plus, they understand the context and can tell when a literal translation is not the common vernacular.

  • Multi-tasking: AI systems can handle multiple tasks simultaneously, whereas humans are generally limited in their ability to multitask efficiently.

Some people are so good at coordinating and orchestrating that multitasking isn't just something they can do, they have a propensity to do it. They feel at a loss when they only have one thing to do. Gallup® refers to this talent as Arranger®.

If any of the above describe you, can you compete on your natural talent to analyze data without honing your skills? Or your natural efficiency of repetitive tasks? Can you really compete on doing things consistently, when AI – by definition – follows consistent logic?

It's not enough to have an Analytical® talent. Machines can analyze. How can you analyze qualitatively better than a machine?

It's not enough to have a Restorative talent. Can you find gaps and plug them better than a machine?

It's not enough to have a Communication® talent. Are you the best communicator you can be, even more articulate than anything ChatGPT can put together?

Plus, there are other things ChatGPT says AI can do better than humans:

  • Complex Calculations: Machines can perform complex mathematical calculations and simulations much faster and more accurately than humans.
  • Speed of Processing: AI systems can process information and make decisions at incredible speeds, surpassing human capabilities in certain contexts, such as trading on the stock market or playing complex games.
  • Monotonous and Dangerous Environments: Machines can operate in environments that are unsafe or impractical for humans, such as deep-sea exploration, space missions, or hazardous industrial settings.

Differentiate from AI

So, what can humans be that AI can't?

Again, I asked this question of ChatGPT:

While AI has made significant advancements in recent years, there are still several areas where humans possess unique capabilities that AI currently cannot fully replicate. Here are some examples:

  • Emotional intelligence: Humans have the ability to understand and express emotions, empathize with others, and navigate complex social interactions. AI lacks emotional intelligence and cannot experience or understand emotions in the same way humans can.
  • Intuition and gut feelings: Humans possess intuition, which allows them to make quick decisions based on a combination of knowledge, experience, and subconscious processing. AI models operate based on algorithms and data, lacking the same instinctual decision-making abilities as humans.

This speaks to everyone, but especially people who CliftonStrengths® refers to as having Relationship Building talents.

But having talents is not the same as strengths. You might have high EQ but it could be that this is accompanied by moodiness or the propensity to make irrational, emotion-driven decisions. What matters is to hone these talents so that they become strengths.

  • Creative thinking: Humans have exceptional creative abilities, including generating new ideas, making connections between seemingly unrelated concepts, and producing original works of art, literature, and music. While AI can assist in certain creative tasks, it often lacks the genuine creativity and intuition that humans possess.

This speaks to everyone, but especially people who CliftonStrengths® refers to as having Strategic Thinking talents.

But again, if you come up with lots of ideas but never structure them, never focus them and never implement them, this remains only a talent, not a strength.

  • Common sense reasoning: Humans possess a broad range of common sense knowledge and reasoning abilities, enabling them to understand context, make intuitive judgments, and handle ambiguous situations. AI models generally rely on specific training data and lack the general knowledge and reasoning capabilities that humans possess.

This speaks to everyone. But as Voltaire famously said, "common sense is not so common".

What talents are you applying to develop and exercise this?

  • Moral and ethical decision-making: Humans have a sense of morality and can make ethical judgments based on a complex interplay of values, empathy, and context. AI lacks personal values and cannot make moral decisions in the same nuanced way as humans. Ethical considerations and trade-offs often require human judgment.

This speaks to everyone, but especially people who CliftonStrengths® refers to as having Belief® and Responsibility® talents.

But moral- and ethical dilemmas arise precisely because principles can be imprecise when applied in real-world situations. Almost by definition, adhering to principles means these are also sometimes applied with stoic insistence, even when a situation calls for flexibility.

Do you have a sense of the nuance involved that would turn this talent into a strength?

  • Adaptability and learning from few examples: Humans can learn from very few examples and generalize that knowledge to new situations. AI models, especially those based on deep learning, typically require large amounts of labeled data to learn effectively and may struggle with generalization when faced with limited training examples.

This speaks to everyone. What can you deduce from the few examples in this article?

  • Physical dexterity and sensory perception: Humans have the ability to navigate and interact with the physical world using fine motor skills, delicate touch, and precise vision. While robotics and AI can perform certain physical tasks, they often struggle with the same level of agility, adaptability, and sensory perception as humans.

Okay, well… This is definitely out of the realm of machines for now. This speaks to everyone. Time to eat healthy and do more exercise.

In addition to these, futurist Matthew Griffin says AI can't explain why it chooses to do what it does, so it can't rationalise its own decisions or take responsibility for it. In fact, AI sometimes makes things up, which Griffin calls hallucinations. But AI can't express regret for this.

Ultimately, you can compete best when you develop your talents into strengths and differentiate from AI. You can compete if you apply yourself in the best way humanly possible.

ChatGPT ended its response to my earlier question with this ominous parting shot:

It's important to note that while AI may not possess these qualities to the same extent as humans, it continues to evolve and improve rapidly. Future advancements may narrow the gap in some of these areas.

In the past we should always have tried to do our very best. Now we must also be our very best.

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Mark Laudi

Mark Laudi

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