19 August 2021

The One Essential Skill You Need in the New World of AI Systems

I have to begin my post first by telling you that I feel honored to partner with one of the most well recognized technology companies in the world. IBM really differentiates itself by providing an unbelievably diverse product stack while at the same time layering Watson AI and cognitive computing into almost everything they do. It is an amazing time to be working in the world of Watson Campaign Automation (now called Acoustic). As things change, this inclusion of cognitive systems and artificial intelligence will inevitably alter how we work, but I do not see all doom and gloom for us moving forward.

The types of jobs we will perform in the next ten years will change, but our ability to adapt and embrace these new cognitive systems will be the first precursor to the one skill I think everyone will need in this new era. In my humble opinion,

“The one skill that will differentiate what we do and how we will adapt is our ability to socially interact with one another and develop genuine relationships.”

Whether you are in a relationship, married, or involved in any business situation; the most successful people I see are the ones who are able to develop relationships by relating to one another in true and genuine way.

My post was actually inspired by a young Millennial I interacted with last week when I was making a purchase at one of our retail clients. I was in a checkout line and was pleasantly surprised when this young man greeted me and asked how my day was in a genuine way. I could tell this guy was really great at interacting with people. He definitely has the skills to develop genuine relationships and interact in a meaningful way. I was so impressed with how he treated me as a customer, I ended up calling the manager of the store to compliment how my interaction with their store made my experience positive and memorable.

As time progresses and cognitive systems become ubiquitous, no matter how our work environment will change, it is my opinion that those people who can continue to maintain and develop genuine relationships will be more successful than those who have forgotten how to have a simple conversation.

Our ability to socially interact face-to-face has changed due to the fact we interact more through applications and social networks. Our ability to differentiate ourselves in the future hinges on the ability to remain human and be able to look outside of our virtual social networks.

I would like to also point out that even though I think people that leverage more advanced social interaction skills may be in a better position to adapt to the initial stages of advanced cognitive systems and future AI –

“I do think everyone within our society has a chance to contribute due to the likelihood of the technologies having the ability to bridge the gap between interpersonal skills and the use and adoption of the technology.”

New cognitive systems will soon be able to carry on conversations and/or provide information in a way that levels the playing field for all of us to be successful. For example, if you are a complete introvert, the future cognitive systems and AI will react to you in a way that will provide the most effective interaction in response to any type of input.

Cognitive systems and future AI should therefore be able to provide information in a way that will not depend upon a person’s inherent ability to communicate. In a way, cognitive systems and future AI may bring us closer together as we will be able to communicate in a more efficient way while taking advantage of the insights, guidance, and information provided by the cognitive systems.

For many years to come, I believe we will be able to adapt to the inclusion of all cognitive systems. They will make our lives and work environments better by helping us make decisions more efficiently. AI or a self-aware system is another story that remains unclear on how it will affect our future; however, I remain confident we will all be okay as long as safeguards are in place. I do think that if a technological singularity does take place, all bets may be off as it is extremely difficult to predict the direction AI will take us when the intelligence we are dealing will be difficult for us to comprehend.

The good news is all we can do is work on remaining human by developing advanced communication skills so that we can adapt to the current use of cognitive systems and the future of AI.

As you already can assume, my post is only my opinion and you are welcome to disagree with my assumptions. I just wanted to write something to remind myself that we as a society are much more than the technology that surrounds us. If we continue to remain human and interact with one another in a positive way, I think we can adapt together to make the future brighter for everyone involved.

Cheers to all of my close relationships within IBM. I look forward to looking away from my computer and having an actual conversation.

Happy cognitive marketing!