Mar 13, 2020
STEPHEN HAWKING: LEADERSHIP WARNING ABOUT AI!
Like most transformational technologies, the blooming growth of artificial intelligence (AI) is exciting. We can already appreciate what AI is doing for us in our present society. Currently, hospitals are using AI-based applications to understand medical data without direct input from medical practitioners. Furthermore, in some Japanese hotels, robots are performing various human functions, such as serving guests. These are just some of the applications of AI.
The late Professor Stephen Hawking claimed that the growth of AI could lead to the extinction of human beings’ functions. Even though other scientists were less fervent about AI’s projections, Hawking argued that the basic forms of AI created to this point have proved to be very valuable. Thus, the future for AI is promising, with unlimited possibilities.
The unlimited potential of Artificial Intelligence
Presently, the ability of automated systems to gather and analyse data is unsurpassable. Human beings are often prejudiced, and limited. For instance, medical practitioners will never be able to keep up with every new periodical in their field. Instead, they always rely on a limited amount of personal experience. From a contracted set of practices, they establish their insights, expectations, and preferences. As a result, they become prejudiced. On the other hand, computers can read and analyse many periodicals, of a particular subject, within a small amount of time.
The only thing that separates us from machines is emotional intelligence (EI) and more importantly emotional wisdom. There are things that computers cannot do; for instance, dealing with customers’ anger or frustrations. Various researchers claim that the rise of AI makes EI more relevant in the present society. AI is expected to fill many roles that once required traditional intelligence. Consequently, human beings will have to adopt specific skills – in this case, EI skills and amplify their emotional wisdom – to stay relevant. This is when executive presence becomes important.
What should leaders do?
It is worth mentioning that with the dawn of the ‘computer age,’ some people lost their jobs. A similar scenario is bound to happen with the growth of AI. Soon, computers and robots will be able to perform all the tasks carried out by doctors, among other workers. In general, the projected loss of jobs is somewhat inevitable – an aspect that calls for leaders’ executive presence.
In broad terms, executive presence can partly be defined as the ability to inspire confidence – showing your subordinates that you are the leader they want to follow. The executive presence of leaders, in this regard, should help boost the morale and inspire the confidence of their employees despite the looming threat.
To steer their entities in the right direction, leaders need to have compelling visions and articulate them well. This includes having well-conceived notions of what they are working to accomplish, which entails teaching EI skills and tapping into ones emotional wisdom such as empathy and persuasion, among others.
Secondly, they can build their communication skills. Individuals with great executive presence are known to be good communicators. Generally, the only way individuals can remain relevant in their occupations is by focusing on skills and capabilities that AI struggles to copy – interacting with and understanding people. An automated machine can diagnose disease and even recommend a treatment plan, but it requires a doctor to connect with the patient and help determine the ideal treatment plan.
Perhaps humans will one day develop a form of AI which will be able to understand their emotions. Maybe, in the end, Hawking’s sentiments will prove to be true. Until it happens, leaders equipped with executive presence will have to train and nurture individuals to acquire emotional intelligence and help them to tap into their emotional wisdom in order to remain relevant.
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