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  • Writer's pictureRebekka Mikkola

Emotional Intelligence: The Rise of AI

Updated: Aug 7, 2019

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning are both transformational technologies that are shaping our lives and existing culture. It is well known that smart machines are changing jobs by bringing automation and robotics to the table. In 2017, a McKinsey & Company study found that about 30% of tasks in 60% of occupations could be computerised. Many of us believe that AI will mainly affect ‘doing’ jobs, as opposed to ‘thinking’ jobs, but this isn’t necessarily the case.

Many professions such as medicine and teaching, will be improved by machines that are better at gathering and analysing data, and for recommending the best course of medical treatment for a patient. However, this doesn’t mean that all those jobs will disappear, rather they will be redefined. The relationship between technology and human intelligence can be a harmonious one, where they raise each other up as needed.

Humans are emotional beings, and emotions are the perpetual driver in our decision making processes and behaviours. For example the ability to understand, motivate and listen are all part of emotional intelligence, which are hard to replicate with current AI technology. We could assume that we’re not going to build machines any time soon that have feelings like our own feelings, as that's part of our consciousness. In neuroscience, consciousness is still a challenging topic as we haven’t yet been able to fully understand cognition.

Emotional intelligence is largely based on empathy. Empathy itself means the capacity to understand or feel what another person is experiencing within their frame of reference. Types of empathy include cognitive and emotional empathy, the latter of which signifies the ability to literally feel the other person’s emotional state within yourself. As previously mentioned, this ability is very hard for smart machines to reproduce, as science doesn’t truly understand what it means.

What we can understand from this point of view, is that it’s essential not to fight the progress of technology. At best smart machines and AI will help us to improve performance and lower economic costs. What each of us can do is start investing in emotional intelligence and recognize our own personal strengths and weaknesses when it comes to emotion regulation. By acknowledging emotions, not as good or bad, but as a source of information it will help develop self-awareness. An ability to relate and influence others will be the key factors that put each of us at the cutting edge when it comes to AI, job automation and relationships.

An effective way to develop emotional intelligence and intuition, is to simply spend time with other human beings. Listen to them authentically and get fluent in your language of emotions. When you are faced with an uncomfortable situation, try to respond without reacting, by naming the feelings that arise within yourself. Emotions offer valuable data that helps us see every situation more clearly and helps show how we relate to others.

Lastly, it’s important to be generous with human touch, hugs and cuddling. When we’re connected with the people we trust on a physical level, we’re developing our intuition, empathy and interpersonal skills in the most effective way possible.

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timmy 7
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