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The Business of Humanity: AI vs. the Human Touch in Business

The explosion of artificial intelligence news around chatbots, personal assistants, and even virtual girlfriends forces all of us to ask one fundamental question about everything we see and hear: does this come from a human, or a computer? In a growing number of cases, the answer is “computer.” That’s a problem. 

AI does not “create,” it manipulates. AI only renders responses to direct inputs; it doesn’t understand deeper problems. Finally, AI is not human so it is intrinsically unable to make the deeper connections humans can. 

AI Does Not Create, It Manipulates

One of the first and biggest misconceptions about artificial intelligence is that it can, in fact, “create” anything. “Create” is used here in quotes because, of course, AI can produce a picture in the same way that a printer can produce a picture. However, this is not creation. Each example above, the AI and the printer, is taking information from one place and transposing it somewhere else. 

AI scours the internet for bits of content it can use to satisfy any query posed to it, arranging those bits in a way that the AI is programmed to believe satisfies the request. This is no more creation than pulling the head off one bug and attaching it to the body of another is creation. It is manipulation, and the result is often just as lifeless as the bug. 

There is no pathway for AI to have an original thought, ever, because original thought requires the capacity to think. No machine we as humans have created thus far can think; they can only react. 

AI Answers the Question, Not the Problem

Imagine there’s a puddle on the floor. You dry it, surely, but is that all? Hardly. As a human, you will solve the immediate impact of the problem and search out the root cause of the problem–be it a broken pipe, leaky roof, or careless child. 

In the business world, you may ask for a social post and–if your agency or assistant is on top of things–be informed that what you need is a social strategy. That social strategy can get your business or brand more attention, more jobs, and more respect. If you ask an AI for a social post, on the other hand, it will give you a social post. One that will, most likely, be scrolled over and deliver absolutely no impact for your brand or business. 

Since AI does not have the capacity to think independently, it can answer queries you put to it, fulfill tasks to the letter, but that’s it. Only humans can deliver the value-added bonus of answering the questions you didn’t ask but should have. Only humans can solve the problem.

AI Cannot Connect the Way Humans Can

We could harp, here, on the myriad of problems AI has demonstrated: it’s tendency towards catastrophic forgetting, the rather strange rabbit holes even basic chat bots go down, and its tendency to make up false answers when no real answers are available. However, the biggest downfall of AI is much more simple. It’s not human. 

No matter how much we may hear about algorithms understanding people better than they understand themselves, it is never true. Only people understand people. Only humans can connect to other humans in a way that is meaningful, personal, and real. An AI may know the definition of pathos, logos, and ethos, but it only has the capacity to use one of those. 

And, despite all its advancements and the importance of electronic communications in general, AI can not shake your hand or look you in the eye. No one, therefore, is ever going to develop the same amount of trust for an AI as they are for a human. 

The More We Rely on AI, the Less Human We Seem

All of this adds up to one inescapable conclusion. The more we rely on AI in our business and personal lives, the less human we will seem to our professional and personal partners. Companies worldwide are chasing the dream that AI can do everything for them and they don’t need human employees at all. They do so at their peril. Professionals across the gamut are also leaning in to using AI to create or ideate their content. They do so at their peril. 

AI has been billed as “The Future” of everything from the way we communicate and do business to date. It is not, however, “The Future.” It is one small facet of the future. It is a tool, not the workman. The future of business is still the business of humanity.

AI vs. the Human Touch in Business


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