Humanizing work in the age of AI
Recent months have seen widespread discussion among both business leaders and scholars of chatGPT, which has been hailed as a tipping point in the evolution of AI.
As I illustrate in my latest book; "I, Human: AI, automation, and the quest to reclaim what makes us unique, there’s no doubt that machines will continue to get smarter, reducing the number of tasks, including highly skilled problem-solving, requiring the input of humans.
And yet, there is no need to be dramatic about this.
In fact, it is fair to assume that as AI continues to evolve there will be growing demand for the qualities that make us different from machines. In particular, kindness, empathy, and the ability to connect on a human level.
The reason is obvious: no matter how much machines continue to advance we can be certain of one thing – unlike humans, they will never give a damn!
It is also clear that our increasing dependence on technology, including AI, is creating working environments that are optimized for efficiency, performance, and speed. All this is likely to provide a dehumanizing experience of work, reminiscent of the early days of assembly lines and Friedrich Taylor's scientific management.
The opportunity, then, is clear: The definitive driver of organizational success may not be the ability to leverage AI, which will become a commodity, but rather the ability to create humane working environments in which people feel valued for who they are: soul-bearing humans, rather than high-performing machines.
Indeed, just because machines are displaying more and more human-like features does not mean we should treat people like machines.
And just because AI, with its manipulating nudges, has a knack for turning us into more boring and predictable creatures, doesn’t mean we must renounce to the traits that have enabled us to become the most adaptable creature on earth: curiosity, creativity, and intelligence, which are also responsible for the invention of AI.
So, the big question for leaders today is not how to execute their digital transformation strategy or protect their business models from disruption, but how to create a culture and environment in which machines and humans can enhance each other, instead of existing in competition.