Billionaire investor Mark Cuban recently made waves when he predicted the first trillionaire in history would soon march onto the world's stage, leapfrogging even the wealthy likes of Bill Gates to get there. But the fortune he forecast is less important than its source: artificial intelligence.
Cuban believes the first person to master AI and its derivatives will corner a larger portion of the tech marketplace than anyone before. The tech guru caught many off guard when he stressed that critical thinking skills will be more important to future success than the technical skills we now prioritize. Initially, that might be shocking, but it makes sense when considering the full implications of AI.
The technical skills society currently holds in high regard, such as programming and data analysis, are prime targets for automation. Intelligent machines can perform these same tasks at a much higher volume and with much greater accuracy than even an army of tech professionals could.
Maintaining A Human Edge In An Automated World
The ability to wade through lines of code and speak in jumbles of jargon aren't qualities that will define the leaders of the future. To thrive, those at the top of tech companies must leverage the uniquely human aspects of their teams and talent.
That starts by understanding what is appropriate to automate and what would be better left to humans. For instance, some executives have embraced the idea of automated assistants. Efficiency might increase, but it would be much harder for executives to exercise judgment and instinct when they're so cut off from human contact.
Creativity is another invaluable asset that will only appreciate. Even the biggest AI evangelists concede that machine minds are pretty terrible when it comes to creative thinking. In a future when efficiency and productivity are givens, the companies that permit original ideas to flow freely will distinguish themselves.
AI is also unable to understand the depth and complexity of human feelings. Even as it begins to colonize every aspect of our personal and professional lives, it will arguably never comprehend our inner selves. It will be up to others -- colleagues, leaders, friends and family -- to provide empathy and support.
These human skills are not an antidote to the effects of AI; rather, they're the keys to unlocking AI's full potential. Everyone is excited about what automation can do, but no one is excited about the prospect of a coldly mechanical world.
The key to implementing AI in a way that entices the maximum number of global consumers is to build a human element into every process. The tech visionaries who manage to combine the authentic with the artificial are those who will guide the 21st century.
Practicing Professional Development For The Future
Understanding what kinds of hard and soft skills it takes to be successful is easy; internalizing them is much harder. Here are some tips to help passionate tech professionals evolve their skill sets for an automated future:
1. Practice critical self-awareness. It's notoriously hard to be honest about your true strengths and weaknesses. But the looming potential of AI means it's time for leaders to take honest internal inventories and get serious about making changes. I went through this process myself and realized a stubborn resistance to change was holding my business back. Once I identified the problem, the solution was rather obvious and easy.
2. Make incremental changes. Trying to change your behavior or mindset doesn't happen overnight. Instead of rushing to see results, commit to making small changes slowly. It might take longer to see results, but you're less likely to be derailed in the process. I'm a night owl, but normal business hours happen during the day. As much as I hate changing my routine, I slowly learned to be productive during the day and get the sleep I need at night. It took time to adjust, but both my personal and professional lives improved as a result.
3. Connect on a human level. As most tech professionals know, work can sometimes feel like living inside a dry-erase board. It's so easy to get swamped in technical details that we lose sight of the real people around us. I encourage all my teams to spend some time together outside the office for just a happy hour or maybe for a weekend retreat. Teams become more cohesive as a result, and they learn more about the indefinable human assets they can bring to the next project.
Someone in the near future will earn a 12-figure fortune, but it's important to remember this huge sum doesn't represent the value of AI. It represents the value of humanity in a world of omnipresent technology.
Post written by Daniel Wesley