Artificial intelligence

Why Being Human Is Your Greatest Advantage In The AI Era

You have all the tools you need to succeed

The question is no longer can you use AI for x.

It’s should you.

There’s a great deal I believe you shouldn’t delegate to AI.

Especially for L&D.

I know this is a somewhat complicated statement from someone who has spent the past year writing about this tech in learning.

I love digital technology.

AI will be incredibly useful (hence why I write about it so much). But, I don’t want it to replace some of the most fundamental experiences that make us human.

Parts of the workplace learning experience fall under this banner.

Working smarter?

Current generative AI tools, and future AI tools, no doubt have the capabilities to make us work smarter.

Yet, I fear they have the same capability to deny us pivotal human experiences.

For example, when I was much younger in my first corporate role.

I spent the majority of my time learning not from an induction course or a pointless handbook. I learnt from all the people around me. Sometimes directly, often indirectly.

Sir Alex Ferguson (the legendary Manchester United manager) echoed this in his book on leadership.

He said the best thing to do when you begin any new role is to watch, listen and read. I still do all 3 of those in any new environment I find myself dropped into.

Timeless advice for anyone.

I have no doubt AI tech can and will accelerate the speed and access to learning. I welcome this like a cultist ready to embrace our AI overlords with loyal devotion.

Yet, this shouldn’t be at the expense of the human experience.

An LLM tool can help me onboard faster perhaps, but at what cost to my most human trait of learning with and from others?

I’m not sure anyone knows the solution.

My best advice and hope is that we find the balance between augmentation and automation.

The tech nerd in me screams simplification and speed, but the human questions at what cost. In a world of technological marvels, careers after death and AI clones. I don’t want to lose the most human experience of learning that makes it so special.

Human + AI

If you haven’t guessed, let me confirm now.

I’m all for a human-powered future with AI. Not an AI-first operating system. I mean, we’re all human, aren’t we? Don’t answer that one.

I feel we tend to summarise our interactions with current generative AI tools through prompting alone.

However, this is only one piece of the operating system with these tools. If you want to be a truly smart operator with AI, you need to think beyond prompting. Use your most human abilities to develop frameworks on how, why and when you should interact with AI tools.

Consider your daily workflows and how AI delegation could support this.

Don’t search for perfect prompts to fit meaningless tasks.

→ Leverage these skills with AI operations

I believe we each need to deploy two unique human skills when working with AI.

  • Critical Thinking
  • Analytical Judgement

These both happen to be two of the 5 skills identified in my ongoing skills series for the Future of Work.

Let’s walk through a workflow of these in action with an AI-delegated task:

The Feedback Workshop

Let’s imagine you want ChatGPT to help you craft a feedback workshop with:

  • Experience outline
  • Title for the workshop because ‘Feedback workshop sucks’
  • An email draft to promote the course to employees

Before you feed a prompt to CGPT, you should think critically about what you want to achieve with this task. Consider:

  • What do you want CGPT to focus on?
  • How do you want to design the experience?
  • What will best support your audience?

You continue doing this with each response that CGPT provides.

Your judgement and decision-making skills weave through this process too.

Use your humanness (I know it’s not a real word) to evaluate every response and help CGPT understand if it’s hitting all the right notes for you. If it helps, consider its responses as an ugly first draft.

You’ll work on this draft as a human task to provide the context and application it needs for your experience.

This is the difference between delegating everything to AI and working with AI. You will also be stronger in a human and AI approach. You can see an example of this in a recent video post.

A woman exploring the potential of digital technology

Explore and experiment, don’t ignore

I believe conversations like these are important. That’s why I continue to be surprised at companies which ignore or ban conversation around generative AI at work. We know people are secretly using ChatGPT at work.

So, why do we not be proactive and help with best practices?

As Ed Sheeran said, “I’m thinking out loud”.

If you fancy sending thoughts back, I’ll be here.

If this sparked your neurons, here’s a few recent conversations that link to this ↓

  1. How is creativity impacted by technology?
  2. How do we design for human learning in the age of AI?

Final thoughts

In sum:

  • Don’t forget the human in your AI interactions
  • Deploy your most human skills in everything
  • Don’t be afraid to play

Before you go… 👋

If you like my writing and think “Hey, I’d like to hear more of what this guy has to say” then you’re in luck.

You can join me every Tuesday morning for more tools, templates and insights for the modern L&D pro in my weekly newsletter.

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