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Man and Machine

Updated: May 23

How AI can make humans more human

Its ironic. AI is transforming work. Making humans obsolete from many repetitive, monotonous tasks. So humans need to do what they are best at: creativity, empathy, communication, caring. But can AI also help humans be more human? More emotionally intelligent? The answer’s yes and its happening now.

AI is transforming work

AI used to be viewed as something to be feared. Man vs machine. Workers being replaced and made redundant. And the World economic forum report on the Future of Work does show a reduction in many middle management professions. But also an increase in others that require more human skills. Such as sales, social care, creative arts, manual work. Five years ago an HBR article argued “The rise of AI makes Emotional Intelligence more important”. Whilst writers Megan Beck and Barry Libert alluded to an appreciation for both the current and potential benefits of AI, they similarly expressed an overarching sense of ‘competition’ between man and machine and the need for individuals to focus on human skills and aptitudes that “artificial intelligence has trouble replicating” (Beck & Libert, 2018)

“Change happens gradually then suddenly” William Gibson.

And that can’t be more true today than for the use of AI, where adoption is changing many aspects of life for good. From healthcare and rapid production of covid vaccines (Moderna) to real-time traffic re-routing as we travel in our cars (Waze) and real-time video conversation analysis (KAI). AI no longer needs to be the sole domain of the FAANGS.

And covid has accelerated many more changes in work & life. Suddenly remote work was pervasive. I’m on a zoom turned from a name to a noun. And with the associated convenience and efficiency benefits, post pandemic, hybrid working is here to stay.

The New Normal

This new mode has also caused challenges. Working remotely has meant a sharp learning curve on how best to communicate with others whilst essentially viewing a postage stamp. The subconscious clues: face, posture, gestures are less easy to distil. Its more difficult to connect and to know if you are connecting. Being emotionally intelligent has never been more important nor more difficult.

Ai can make us more human

Back to the wise folks at HBR. In January 2022 they published an article: “Can AI teach us to be more emotionally intelligent?” in which writers Daniel Limon and Bryan Plaster recognise and convey an understanding of the multiple benefits of AI and the ways in which it can prove the key interpersonal skills that encompass the foundations of emotional intelligence.

And it’s happening now

At KAI we’ve had clinical psychologists analyse video interactions in a variety of settings: pharmaceutical sales situations, clinical (doctor-patient) interactions and coaching interactions. We’re combining three types of AI together to reveal hidden human insights and find points of connection and disconnection in conversations. Combining visual (facial emotion) with acoustic and word AI with psychology enables us to measure emotional intelligence and help presenters identify ways to improve their delivery and outcomes.

But what about bias?

Its one of the biggest fears that people have of AI. But human evaluation contains even more bias. Infrequent assessment is unrepresentative, skewed heavily by individual manager beliefs about what works, rather than evidence. Yes its really important to be cognisant of bias in AI models. That’s why when we look at facial emotion we use models that have been developed across many different face types across the world - 90+ countries and 55,000 participants considering the factors that affect detection including gender, ethnicity, age band, and glasses.

But it comes down to use and understanding limitations. Our machine is showing opportunities for improvement, but it down to the individual to choose whether they believe and implement change.

Ironically, machine bias is a truth - we believe machines more than we believe people. Humans mostly don’t like feedback. The best personal improvement comes when its self-identified, rather than instructed.

AI really can make us Super humans.

At KAI our clients are accelerating improvement cycles. Real-time analysis of role-play and live interactions drives rapid unbiased feedback. Offering up opportunities to understand impact and improve emotional intelligence. And all of this can be aggregated up. Enabling customer (and capability) insight at scale. Growing individuals and organisations.

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