Now and Then

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    It’s a very human edition this week: I look at whether connecting with colleagues is important, examine how AI and humans can work together for greater impact, and discuss how design thinking can improve leadership.

    AI + Human = More Human?

    Is AI doing your kid’s homework? According to an article on the BBC last week, this is already happening an awful lot. Beyond the classroom, AI is already creating enormous amounts of content online, and will only create more going forward. According to Europol, by 2026 90% of all content will be generated by AI. The release of Microsoft’s co-pilot will probably only accelerate AI content creation, as will Open AI’s Custom GPTs.

    Previously I’ve discussed that AI is continuing to get a lot of things wrong, but there is also another important factor – how AI-driven content often replaces authentic human voices. Teachers I’ve spoken to about this recently often mention “GPT-speak” – the uncharacteristically neutral, informative and quietly confident style GPT uses unless it is guided otherwise.

    On the surface, the “house style” of some AI may seem not that important, but I believe it is. Authenticity is at the heart of genuine human connection, and if AI becomes everyone’s PR agent, we risk standardized communication styles causing us to drift further and further apart at work and beyond. As I mentioned in today’s animation – human connections aren’t just nice to haves, they affect how healthy we are and how long we live, so caring about them is existential.

    Even though AI will create a huge proportion of content going forward, it’s likely that real human beings will continue to play a very important creative role for some time yet. I think we can ensure this by focusing on using AI as a starting point, but then doing the work to layer our own human creativity over the top. We should train ourselves to become the defiantly human conductors of AI orchestras. I’m not suggesting we do this to give us something to do – I think we do it because that is the thing we are better at, and because doing so helps us stay connected to each other.

    A great example of this approach has happened in the last few days, with the release of the “final Beatles song”Now and Then. AI was hugely important in creating the song – it was basically the tool that made it all possible, by separating John Lennon’s voice and piano playing into separate tracks. But the emotional impact of the song we hear today depends on the creative decisions of Paul McCartney and Giles Martin. That’s a model we should all pay attention to.


    It’s by Design

    I’ve been lucky enough to know Karen Zeigler for some time now, and recently I’ve been joining her every couple of weeks for her online Design Thinking for Leaders class. Karen has a deep understanding of how to use human skills to drive business results, particularly in leaders – so it was great to have her on the most recent episode of the Humanity Working podcast.

    We had a very wide-ranging discussion, but for me, I was particularly interested by her insights on the role ego plays for many leaders and the driving forces behind ego.

    As ever, you can find Humanity Working on your favourite podcast platform, or you can watch the full episode on video below.

    Getting to Know You

    Video Length: 2 mins 48 seconds

    Virtual happy hour anyone? Perhaps that concept might fills you with dread. You might even struggle to be enthused by making any social connection with your colleagues, beyond what’s needed to get things done. After all, you choose your friends, but you rarely choose your colleagues.

    As work gets more distributed, turning casual relationships into more meaningful connections takes active work. So is it worth the effort?

    Check out my animated twin to find out…

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