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Thursday, May 4th, 2017 technology  research  practice

A Practice Tip

  • Practice

In the old working model, being less human—less attuned to interactions and emotional issues—was often a competitive advantage. Messy human stuff needlessly complicated matters. But the AI revolution will reward those who are more human in their approach to services involving high value consultation and collaboration.

How long will it be before robots learn people skills? Although there have been significant advances since the development of computer-based therapists several decades ago, humans have a solid head start that we need to exploit.

Gary Klein is a research psychologist known for his pioneering work in how people make high stakes decisions under uncertain, complex conditions. When he studied such experts as firefighters, pilots and NICU nurses, he found they were adept at rapidly drawing on experience, as well as noticing things that others don’t. Rather than observing a mechanistic, linear process of information analysis leading to the selection of a rational solution, he saw a more human process at work.

Klein’s best known book, Sources of Power: How People Make Decisions was written almost twenty years ago. Yet this work has growing relevancy as we ponder the evolving nature of work. What skills should we honing and what work will be taken off our hands by technology?

Let’s begin with the three qualities Klein recently identified that humans possess in contrast to AI:

  1. “Frontier thinking” which he describes as “working in new areas and imagining new consequences.”
  2. Social networking which means “knowing who to ask for help.”
  3. Responsibility. “Humans take responsibility for their decisions, AI doesn’t.”

In light of his hypothesis, our tip for today is: prepare yourself to be more human by honing skills related to collaboration, consultation and problem prevention. These will be the enduring differentiators.

A good place to start is by taking advantage of a group coaching method that accelerates expertise in people skills. Active learning (vs. passive learning) is designed to help us extract more know-how from every situation—both positive and negative. To keep up with the demand for people who are more human, we can develop a mindset for harvesting insight from our daily experience.

Sharon VanderKaay, Twitter: @svkaay

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