What does it mean to be Human? How do you connect with your humanity? In a world increasingly reliant on technology, in particular artificial intelligence, how can you excel while maintaining your authenticity?
People have protested progress for as long as there have been, well, people. We’re creatures of habit, and change can be jarring. The idea of living in your comfort zone forever may bring initial peace, but that comfort eventually turns into stagnation, like sitting in a comfy chair for so long that you get pins and needles and a sore bum.
Think how many times you’ve heard someone say, ‘It wasn’t like that back in my day’ or ‘Things were better back when…’ to talk about technological advancements in a negative way. This negative viewpoint is often a smokescreen, hiding people’s fear that the world is moving on without them. It’s a lot easier to poo-poo change than it is to admit you’re insecure about your capabilities.
When it comes to artificial intelligence, this mindset is more present than ever. People “scaremonger” revolutionary technologies, forecasting a loss of jobs or a lack of human necessity. I think a lot of this comes from a misunderstanding in the initial view of AI, even the name – artificial intelligence.
Back in the early days of AI, Alan Turing posed The Turing Test as the metric by which artificial intelligence could be considered truly Intelligent.
In his paper, Alan Turing asks, ‘Can machines think?’
The idea behind the Turing Test says that a machine is defined as ‘passing’ if it manages to trick a human counterpart into believing that they are speaking to another human.
In the years since this initial Test, there have been many thought experiments that still circle back around to what it would actually mean for a machine to exhibit true intelligence.
My opinion is that rather than measuring the machine’s ability to trick a human, we should be expanding on what it means to be human.
AI is perfectly capable of using previous information and metrics to deduce the most expected result. The majority of modern AI tools are actually ‘language or probability models’ that use probability to gauge the response they think you most ‘want’ to hear.
This marker between humans and AI is so much more than just intelligence. Machines might be able to exhibit ‘thinking’, but they are unable to exhibit ‘consciousness’. By definition, human intelligence is something innate. Something authentic and intuitive.
AI uses pattern analytics to make predictions and logical assumptions. It is still the realm of the Living brain, a human brain, your brain, to use lateral abstract thought to make connections and creatively interact with the world. When it comes to what it means to be Human, I want you to focus inward. I have a thought experiment of my own that I’d love for you to ponder:
In a reverse situation, what would a human have to do to pass a ‘Human Test’? Is it feeling, empathy, the ability to create, to have the spark of an idea, an original thought? What characteristics do you feel make up the fabric of human experience? Take a moment to really engage with those feelings. It is these traits or qualities you should be aiming to amplify in your life.
When engaging with and using AI in your life, the workplace or wherever, I invite you to regularly impose a Human Test on yourself. Are there times when you feel yourself going on autopilot, where you feel yourself becoming more robotic and less authentic? In these moments, circle back to those characteristics you highlighted earlier. It could be kindness, intuition, creativity, or even the ability to appreciate life’s simple pleasures.