You Can’t Compete Against Artificial Intelligence, But You Can Win

AI guru Kai-Fu Lee — CEO of Sinovation Ventures and author of the 2018 book “AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order” — posits that 50% of all jobs will be automated by AI inside of 15 years

It can be unnerving to think that technology and specifically, artificial intelligence, will take your job. How do you compete with a computer? How do you work faster, more accurately, or more streamlined than technology?

The answer is you don’t.

You don’t compete against technology. Instead, let me suggest that instead of worrying about competing, you carve out your own path. You’ll lose if you compete directly, but you’ll win if you carve out a unique nice for yourself.

There are three strong and highly sought after skills that only you, as a human, can deliver. They are an essential skill in the digital era and your natural competitive advantage.

These skills will help you have a stronger, valued voice and succeed during complex and uncertain times. If you actively work on strengthening these skills you will find that tech and AI is a welcome relief as it opens up the space for you to do what is so innately human, innovate.

#1 Empathy: [ the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. ]

Empathy builds connections and develops relationships. Empathy helps you see things from the perspective of others and incorporate that perspective into your own thinking, decisions and ideas. Empathy helps you understand the feelings of others so that we can connect on a deeper level and respond appropriately. Most importantly, empathy builds compassion, caring and collaboration. Compassion and caring does not yet compute on a hard drive.

#2 Creativity: [ tendency to generate or recognize ideas, alternatives, or possibilities that may be useful in solving problems, communicating with others, and entertaining ourselves and others. ]

Creativity is truly your ability to think differently and generate meaningful and often new solutions or opportunities. Creativity requires you to connect the dots in new and meaningful ways. Often it requires you to go off the script and off your standard blueprint to find new ideas. This is an essential skill, especially during changing times. Changing times requires you to question how things have always been done and build new blueprints for success. Technology is about following code, not loose connections of creativity.

#3 Spontinaeity: [ proceeding from natural feeling or native tendency without external constraint often arising from a momentary impulse ]

In this context, spontinaeity is your ability to think on your feet, break free from your engrained habits, and try something new. Spontinaeity is what helps us leap from how things have always been done to building new paths forward. Following your gut or trusting your gut instinct is spontaneity in action. Computers struggle to follow instincts or make an on-the-spot decision that’s different from past decisions.

Technology and artificial intelligence can do a lot of things but having empathy, being creative, and being spontaneous is uniquely human and incredibly valuable. In our work and research through our proprietary Innovation Quotient Edge assessment and with Everyday Innovators across the globe, is that people that are strong in the three skills above are thriving in the artifical intelligence era.

If you want to be highly relevant and valued in today’s changing world, you need to own your Everyday Innovator abilities and dial up the three skills above.

Here are three quick and easy ways improve:

#1 Dial up empathy: Ask three more questions. The next time someone shares their experience, opinions or ideas, instead of jumping to conclusion, ask three more questions. Asking more questions will help you dig deep into the “why” behind their original comments. You’ll begin to truly understand where they are coming from.

#2 Dial up creativity: Challenge yourself to always come up with one more idea before moving foward. I like to challenge myself to come up with an idea that’s just 2% different from what I usually do. That 2% difference typically leads to more innovative ideas.

#3 Dial up spontaneity: Do a “smashing of random” exercise. Take two seemingly unrelated things like your cell phone and popcorn and ask yourself, “if I smashed these two things together what would I get?” Practicing playing at the intersection of random will unearth incredible innovation and help you get more comfortable breaking free from old norms and behaviors. Challenge yourself even further by commiting to one new experience every day. This could be a new route home from work, a different type of food for lunch, or talking to a colleague you don’t interact with on a daily basis.

Everyday Innovators know that empathy, creativity and spontaneity help them rise above the technology noise, make themselves more valuable than artificial intelligence, and cement their place as a high-value, high-impact players.

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Tamara Ghandour

Tamara Ghandour is the pioneering voice in the field of human-centered innovation, the creator of the IQE assessment, podcast host, and Crossfit addict