The march of AI continues
A few years ago, I co-delivered a paper at the Henley Business School Future World of Work conference on staying relevant in the new world of work by becoming more human. A while after, I also recorded a podcast at Season 10 episode 10, Becoming superhuman to stay ahead, where I talked about the advancement in AI and how our strengths can be a core element of us staying relevant and ahead of the bots. Check that podcast for a deep dive into using your strengths to stay ahead of the tech revolution!
Fast forward to today, and AI is powering the majority of customer service interactions for many businesses. In Strengthscope’s case, this runs at up to 85% for a typical month (although we still have a lot of direct interaction and conversation with customers too with no plans to change that).
Welcome to the future – ChatGPT is here and it may be coming for your job
If you haven’t come across it yet, the open source conversation-based AI, ChatGPT, is getting a LOT of attention because it aims to answer difficult questions in a way that is human-friendly. Check it out if you’re not aware – as of the time of this episode going live, it’s at https://chat.openai.com. As an experiment, I recently asked it to write a 1500 word blog on a topic relating to one of my previous podcasts and a lot of the content was pretty good. I’ve asked it to write a sales script describing the benefits of the strengths approach for corporates vs SMEs and again, the core content wasn’t bad.
I’m not saying it doesn’t have limits…it does…a lot. It can’t answer questions based on things that happened post 2021, it doesn’t always get the facts right, it’s almost certainly biased in how it describes events (because the data it’s drawing from is also biased). However, the potential that it and other similar technologies have for changing how work is done is clear. Will some roles in the not too distant future need to focus more on QA and editing rather than content creation? Will others disappear altogether? These are just immediate initial thoughts from having interacted with it for an hour or so.
In today’s episode, I would like to give you, fellow non AI human, 6 tips for staying relevant as AI advances accelerate. And they are…
- Get good at human-to-human communication
- Develop your emotional intelligence, creativity and critical thinking
- Be more human – become more than your role by playing to your strengths
- Keep learning
- Accept and investigate AI and its impact, see how you can use it to improve what you do
- Bear in mind that human-centred design will be at a premium
Get good at human-human communication
When thinking about staying relevant, the better you can be at managing, motivating and communicating with humans, the more likely you are to stay ahead of the next wave of AI advances, and the next, and the next. Working well with people, communicating and engaging with them, motivating others around you, collaborating effectively, negotiating and influencing…all of these skills are hard to replicate for AI, so first things first…up your human-to-human communications game.
Develop your emotional intelligence, your creativity and your critical thinking
AI and workplace commentators agree that there are some qualities that it will always be hardest for machines to develop. An ability to empathise, to emote, to understand how someone is feeling and to use that information to create solutions that will help the person stay at their best…in short, emotional intelligence, is widely recognised as being off limits to machines. So get better in that space and you’ll stay a step ahead.
While AI has recently taken great strides in the field of creativity, as some AI apps are now able to create bespoke art by manipulating and combining images, is this true creativity? What about novels, poetry, performing arts? Anything that requires flashes of inspiration and creative leaps to produce will remain the domain of humans for a long time to come. This is also true of all fields where creativity, innovation and problem solving are needed in order to come up with novel solutions that haven’t been considered before.
Finally, deductive thinking, while it seems at first should be very much in the arena of AI machine learning, is actually very hard for technology to replicate. Machines find inference of causality very hard to master and so fully understanding why things happen limits the machine mind in areas which seem obvious to humans. So another area to specialise in if you want to stay relevant at work.
Play to your strengths and keep on developing them
This one is kind of a two-in-one as I’ll get to lifelong learning in a mo. But a shout out to strengths as being those qualities which energise us and which we are great at or have the potential to be great at. Take Strengthscope’s 24 strengths – a random selection…Optimism, Enthusiasm, Self-confidence, Persuasiveness, Compassion, Results focus, Flexibility, Strategic mindedness. Very few of these speak to machine-replicable qualities. In fact, there’s an emotional, motivational element to each…strengths are about energises and passions after all…and these are profoundly human in nature and so unlikely every to be understood or replicated well or fully by machines.
So if you can identify and acknowledge the strengths that make you unique and then develop these so that your strengths contribute value to your role but also more widely, into your team and beyond, you’re making yourself more and more invaluable in areas that the AI can’t reach.
Keeping learning is 100% required when the world around us is changing and evolving at hyperspeed. And that seems to pretty much describe the state of continual flux that we find ourselves in today. Keeping your skills sharp, learning new ones, adopting a growth mindset (for more on how to develop growth mindset, scoot over to Season 9 episode 11 – What is growth mindset and how to develop one) – these are all worthwhile pursuits when the world of work and the world in general is changing so fast.
Accept and embrace AI and see what it can do for you
There’s a lot to be said for the strategy of explore and integrate – take the best bits from AI and see how they can be useful to you in your role so that you can evolve your role and career before the AI nudges you out of your role or career.
I mentioned ChatGPT. There are so many other emerging technologies in the field which it’s worth knowing about, so that you can see what’s happening AI-wise in your line of business. MIT News is a good website to start with if you’re interested to see the latest AI developments as it is cross-industry and not super-tech oriented.
Human-centred design will always be at a premium
At the end of it all, humans can stay relevant in roles and careers where we are designing systems, products and services for other humans, particularly as regards specifying the humanness into those systems, products and services. Imagine a world where most of what we experience has been exclusively designed by machines for human use. It would be pretty dire. Because no one understands humans better than humans, being involved in any walk of life where a human-centred focus is needed is going to keep you relevant for the duration. Machines just can’t make stuff human-centred in the way that humans can.
Conclusion – there are many ways to stay relevant in a world that’s more and more AI focused
So those are my Top 6 tips for staying relevant at work and resilient to future waves of technological advances. Ironically, you’ll be pleased to know that AI chatbot ChatGPT agrees with all of these principles. I know, I checked. Till next time, stay strong.