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Human Thriving in the Age of AI

As the era of AI unfolds, we’re on the precipice of unprecedented change, which demands a holistic reimagining of our roles, aspirations, and ways of interacting with the world. As technology finally takes over repetitive, mechanistic tasks, we’re being called to reclaim our humanity and what enables us to thrive as a species in this new world. I’m exploring this in my next book, but here are a few ways to get started:

  1. A more authentic, holistic identity. To navigate the challenges of this era and avoid falling into existential turmoil, we need to cultivate a more expansive and genuine sense of self. This means breaking free from the limitations imposed by our professional titles, societal norms, and institutional authority. It involves embarking on a journey of discovery to uncover our true selves, deepest values, hidden potential, and connection to something transcendent.

  2. A fulfillment portfolio. Throughout history, particularly in the West, our careers have served as channels for fulfilling various human needs such as financial stability, meaning, significance, status, social connection, growth, impact,  self-esteem, and self-transcendence. Yet,  with AI taking over many tasks, this dynamic will shift. While work will still provide some level of this, we will need to diversify our sources for meeting these essential needs. This may include exploring passions and leisure activities,  community building, volunteering, cultivating curiosities, creating multiple income streams, and finding other ways to actualize your full potential.

  3. Cultivating our higher, most humane capabilities.

    1. Empathy. The human touch becomes paramount as automation becomes more pervasive across society. It's key to develop self-awareness, empathy, and relational intelligence to foster trust and connection. For example, practice active listening, swap judgment for curiosity in conversations, and try to understand how other people got to their perspective. It’s powerful to try to see the world from different viewpoints, including those that are very different from your own. AR/VR platforms can orchestrate this in game-changing ways. 

    2. Creativity. Unlocking creativity and imagination is vital for driving innovation and advancement. Organizations must build psychologically supportive environments that embrace a growth mindset and risk-taking. You can cultivate your creative genius by embracing curiosity and actively seeking out diverse experiences that expose you to different people, environments, cultures, and activities. Another way is to challenge assumptions, question conventional wisdom, and consider alternative viewpoints. Embrace the right brain. It’s predominantly from the right brain that we create, laugh, cry and experience wonder, curiosity, and awe. You can exercise it by practicing mindfulness and being only in the current moment. Savor every bite of a meal, sit, and listen to music while doing nothing else. You can also spend time in Nature. Savor the beauty. Smell the roses…literally. Be humbled by your small place in the natural order of things. Another way is to do something spontaneous; anything you normally think of as frivolous…and just see what happens. 

    3. Discernment. In the digital age, where information overload and deep fakes abound, critical thinking and operating from our own personal GPS become indispensable tools for discernment. Evaluate information critically. Consider its source, validity, reliability, and relevance. Look beyond surface-level details and assess the evidence and reasoning behind different perspectives. Trust your intuition. Pay attention to your gut instincts and inner wisdom when making decisions. Evaluate risks and uncertainties. Assess the potential risks and uncertainties associated with different options, and consider how you can mitigate them in advance. 

  4. Adaptive agility. In today's rapidly evolving landscape, being agile is paramount. With AI's integration into various business applications, job roles will morph into dynamic sets of tasks evolving alongside the technology. Employers will increasingly adopt a "training to hire" approach, facilitating continuous skill development through onboarding, apprenticeships, educational programs, upskilling initiatives, and rotational assignments. It's critical we nurture a growth mindset, curiosity, and a dedication to lifelong learning to thrive in this new world of work.

  5. Radical collaboration. As technology progresses, the demand for collaboration amongst individuals, teams, and machines will continue to grow. AI already plays a vital role in data analysis, decision-making, and automating processes for example, yet, human oversight remains essential for managing these processes and interpreting AI-generated insights for informed decision-making. Leaders who create transparent, psychologically safe, low-friction environments where people feel connected to a larger shared purpose will win the day. 

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