Future directions for treating AI anxiety

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Does anyone else feel like we're playing an uphill game of catch-up when it comes to staying on top of AI in the workplace? A study by the American Psychological Association found that nearly two in five workers reported being concerned about AI taking over some or all of their job duties. Our job is not to stay ahead of AI, but instead to learn to take advantage of the things it cannot—and will not—be able to replicate.

Job-specific skills are important, but to truly shine in the workplace, power skills are essential (by the way, who still calls them soft skills?). The power skills that make us human: curiosity, agility, flexibility, nuance, and creative problem solving. AI can quickly analyze data, optimize processes and execute tasks. But humans take it further, using nuance, cultural context and time to make it work better.

To overcome anxiety about AI taking over our jobs, our effort should lie in sharpening the skills that make us inherently human. There may be a day when an AI co-worker can read social context as fast as it can sift through a catalog of returns. But until then, the future belongs to those who can navigate complexity by communicating effectively, leveraging creativity, and staying curious.

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AI can process data quickly, but can it charm a client with a killer presentation or recognize a tense situation and defuse it with a well-timed joke? Human communication is very important, primarily rooted in emotional intelligence and reading subtle changes in body language and facial expressions. Try these key tactics to improve communication in the workplace:

  • Engage in enlightened conversation. Taking the time to have candid conversations is beneficial for strategizing solutions and connecting as individuals. Being able to relate to each other personally is important, being open enough to share ideas and feel a strong sense of culture.
  • Develop the art of storytelling. Fostering a culture of storytelling can lay the foundation for powerful communication across departments. From conveying marketing messages to connecting with clients, storytelling is a superpower for emotionally resonating with audiences.

Harnessing our creativity

While AI may be great at crunching numbers and following instructions, it has nothing on our wild imaginations. Whether we're dreaming up a brilliant marketing campaign or brainstorming the next big product innovation, our ability to think outside the box is what keeps us one step ahead of the machines. How do we feel comfortable thinking outside the box? Try these strategies.

  • Value smart risk-taking. We make room for ground-breaking ideas by challenging assumptions and doing things differently, but taking risks requires a supportive environment. The goal is to create an environment where everyone feels empowered to speak their mind, fail and try again.
  • Explore alternative perspectives. Consider inviting team members from other departments into the conversation for a fresh perspective, or ask for examples of someone's experience of how they handled a similar situation in a different organization. We know the value of experience, and we must explore alternative perspectives to find creative ways to innovate.

Be curious

In this age of AI anxiety, our yearning to innovate and find solutions should not be diminished. This is our edge, while AI requires input to produce output. As we navigate the complexities of the digital age, let's remember that our curiosity and creativity are our greatest assets. Ignite curiosity by trying these methods:

  • Imagine the future. As a team, discuss a conceptual version of what it might look like a year from now. This opens a dialogue about possible outcomes, alternative scenarios, and what can be done to navigate the days, weeks, and months ahead.
  • Ask the killer questions. Ask a provocative, open-ended question with a positive or negative spin. For example, instead of asking “How do we increase sales?” Ask “If a million dollars were on the line for the next pitch, what would you say to close the deal?”

Let's proceed with ease.

The bottom line is: AI will automate processes and transform the workplace. However, our power skills belong to us. By communicating effectively, finding creative solutions, and being curious, we can strengthen the parts of ourselves that are hard to replicate. This is where the magic happens: breakthroughs, a-ha moments, creative collaborations, and finding a strategic gold mine by thinking outside the box. Our path forward to stay relevant in the AI ​​future is not linear. Like us, it's messy and funny, silly and entertaining. We will never be machines, and isn't that wonderful?

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