In a World of Artificial Intelligence, Where Does Emotional Intelligence Fit In?
There is so much excitement, awe, and even fear surrounding the progress of artificial intelligence. Technology has allowed humans to do things that a century ago, or even as recently as just ten years ago, would have seemed impossible. The ways that technology has improved our lives are countless – just ask any smartphone user. But technology, including artificial intelligence, is a double-edged sword. As artificial intelligence takes over many human roles, are we at risk of losing human interaction, and in turn, our empathy and emotional intelligence? Is it possible for artificial intelligence and emotional intelligence to coexist?
Advantages and disadvantages of artificial intelligence
The advantages of artificial intelligence are like any other technology – it solves a problem or gets a job done better, faster, and more efficiently. This is great news for consumers, who may enjoy lower prices or higher quality goods produced by machines. On the other hand, many fear it will replace jobs. Technology and artificial intelligence have already replaced jobs that don’t require high levels of thinking, and with the capabilities of AI increasing every day, it’s likely that technology will eventually be able to perform jobs that require critical thinking skills. And a robot will be able to do these jobs faster than a human without ever getting tired – or getting paid.
Artificial intelligence and emotional intelligence
One thing artificial intelligence can’t learn or replicate is emotional intelligence. Robots could be programmed to interact politely with humans or to respond to facial expressions and other social cues. But robots will never have the indescribable thing that makes us, well, human. They will never have a heart or a soul, and they can’t have feelings for others. This is terrifying when considering the implications of what it could mean for the future, especially if robots were to surpass their creators in intelligence and ability. But it is encouraging to realize that your emotional intelligence makes you a valuable asset at your place of work in a way that cannot be replicated or replaced by artificial intelligence.
What we can do to cultivate emotional intelligence
In a time when the use of technology and AI in the workplace is increasing, we have to make conscious efforts to keep our humanity intact. If we live in a world where AI is normalized and mixed in with human workers, we risk losing our ability to connect with others. There are many ways you can actively develop your emotional intelligence, even through the use of technology! Virtual reality, for example, literally allows users to see the world from another viewpoint or perspective. But you don’t need AR to practice emotional intelligence. You can hone your empathy by taking the time to figuratively put yourselves in the shoes of someone else, as well. If a coworker is stressing you out, consider what their life is like and what they may be going through. You may find it easier to let go of whatever is bothering you and continue to work with that person.
Artificial intelligence may surpass human ability at some point, but it will never be able to replicate or replace emotional intelligence. In an ever-changing world with new technological advances every day, we must actively strive to maintain and improve our emotional intelligence. If we lose our ability to connect with others, we lose that which makes us innately superior to artificial intelligence.