Winter is upon us and we hope that the Star Wars devotees, robot-fans and other techies among you enjoy the entertaining story of the forces and the holiday season.
I thought about the topic of this edition of the Nexus newsletter when I recently worked on a project in Toulouse with Airbus, dealing with the future of research and technology. I would like to suggest you three main skills that us, humans, will need so to keep our humanity and maintain our uniqueness vis-à-vis robots.
These are certainly only some high-level thoughts intended to stimulate your competitive edge. What do You think will identify us in the future to be humans and distinguish us not to be replaced by robots? Do send us your thoughts. We are interested!
Kindly and faithfully yours,
If you want to survive the 21st century and going into the 22nd, be it a Star Wars-like potential future or simply our everyday lives, you are aware that robots will be a big part of our professional and personal lives. The question is not whether they will be coming or not, what they will look like, or whether they would have artificial intelligence (AI), ethics, or even beauty, design, or not. The question is: what skills and competencies all of us shall keep as Humans, and what would still distinguish us in times of singularity*.
AI is learning fast. Virtual reality already exists for every 13-year-old teenager. In all their PS games and everyday snap chats, they are very aware and able to navigate the virtual reality. Robots, cobots (collaborative robots), chatbots (talkbots, interactive agents, etc.), are already part of our society whether we know it or not. We discuss what the new digitalization, virtual knowledge and the predicted arrival of the technological singularity will change in our society, community and our friendships.
In the 22nd century, our human race’s USP will be in fact a UHP: Unique Human Proposition.
Below are 3 propositions that us, humans, will need so to keep our unique human skills and remain competitive. These are: creativity, flexibility and adaptability.
Creativity vs. Standard
Since the beginning of time, we humans have been creative. Nowadays robots and AI, can certainly already surpass standard thinking and even some sort of empathy and emotional intelligence. However, real creativity and real creation can best be done by human beings.
Although as I am typing these lines, it is an app/word processor that is transforming my words into a typed text, it is my human mind, the human creativity and the human spirit, through creativity, that creates the content of this message. Arts, fiction, novel, music, games, movies, culture, interaction among humans, etc., these are all human inventions, creations and ideas.
Being creative is a unique human gift and quality – and it’s our innate force.
Flexibility vs. Routine
Robots will certainly be able to do all the routine work and all the habits that humans can do. So in the future, current work habits and big efforts, such as cooking, dentistry, accounting, surgery, construction, manufacturing, etc., all these professions will become superfluous and unessential for humans to perform. Robots will do similar activities and services equally well. Once we, as humans, can use our creativity to figure out how to transform our knowledge and routines into repeatable actions, we can design robots with AI to do these tasks. Robots will perform them. Humans won’t need to anymore.
However, what robots cannot do, is to be very spontaneous and snappily flexible with time and timing matters. It’s part of the human spirit and the human competence to be flexible, to change quickly, spontaneously both in time and with different tasks and inputs.
Being flexible is a major human force and unique skill.
Adaptability vs. Rigidity
Robots cannot adapt themselves quickly and independently. In general, with the current level of competency of robots, they act upon what they are programmed to do. Put an obstacle in front of them, or throw them off in time and space, and they are not able to totally function appropriately and effectively. Robots are stiff and rigid.
Since Darwin, we know that evolution is the survival of the fittest. Darwin did not mean the survival of the strongest, the most powerful, the biggest, or the healthiest human. It meant the survival of the one who can adapt the best to an ever-changing environment. The competency to adapt to any and every situation will always be needed. The reason we can adapt quickly so to our environment, and with our mind, spirit and attitude, means that we are different from robots. Humans can adapt. Robots cannot.
It is our human spirit and our inner force to adapt that gives us the edge to robots.
Those special humans, who have these three propositions, will be able to adjust quickly to time and space. Humans have the skills to change and evolve with their environment.
That’s what makes us human, keeps us competitive and is our uniqueness: to be creative, flexible and adaptable with our minds, attitudes and behaviors.
May the force be with You!
*Singularity is the point in time when artificial superintelligence will surpass human comprehension, resulting in abrupt runaway technological growth and unfathomable changes to human civilization.