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4D Leadership

4D Leadership – Competitive Advantage Through Vertical Leadership Development

Twenty years ago the accumulation of skills, knowledge and experience (‘horizontal development’) was sufficient for business success. Today, it’s not. 4D Leadership – Competitive Advantage Through Vertical Leadership Development, offers a new approach of ‘vertical development’.

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The robots are coming – AI anxiety: Why you’re not alone and what you can do about it

The headlines might be doom-laden, but I am much more optimistic, and here’s why …

Brain AI

It’s no wonder people feel anxious. Faced with predictions that 20-50 percent of all jobs will disappear as a result of developments in artificial intelligence (AI) over the next 10-30 years, we would all be forgiven for being concerned about the future. When once we might have yearned for the days when we could be released from the drudgery of work, we are now scared by it. And it’s not just low-skilled jobs that could be affected, AI applications are already threatening to usurp professions like doctors, lawyers, bankers etc.

The headlines might be doom-laden, but I am much more optimistic, and here’s why …

It’s not happening as fast as you may think

While the future predictions of what an AI-world will look like are probably realistic, the timeline for change has been exaggerated. Ray Kurzweil, for example, predicted that we will hit singularity (the moment when the computing power of an average laptop will exceed the computing power of the entire human race) by 2035. In fact, AI experts now estimate that moment to come in around 2070. We’re not doubting that change will come, but it’s not happening as fast as you may think.

Computers aren’t going to have consciousness anytime soon

It’s important to distinguish between specific AI and general AI. Specific AI is algorithmically driven and accelerating very fast. It’s the kind of technology that enables machines to drive cars, to diagnose better than physicians, to organise the logistics of an entire trucking company across a country, win a game of chess, etc. General AI, on the other hand, is the ability of AI to mimic human thinking in a much more fluid way rather than just following algorithms and offering superfast search functionality. General AI is proceeding much more slowly. Admittedly, once we can code human consciousness into a machine, we will see a second explosion in the AI evolution, but that’s a considerable way off. If you’re interested in the broader ethical and moral challenges presented by General AI, look out for my forthcoming book “AI Immortality – Digital Revolution and Human Evolutions”. There we cover all this AI futurology and its implications for the human race.

AI can work with us, not against us

With AI, we have the opportunity to create a symbiotic relationship that accelerates human evolution. We are already using our mobile phones as extensions of ourselves. Gone are the days that we need to remember anyone’s phone number. The memory on our mobile phone takes care of that and many more bits of information such as addresses, where were we last week and even what we had for dinner. But as AI progresses it will increasingly become a learning and development aide. Not just because we access information that helps us ‘knowledge up’, but because smart apps can guide us to become a more able human being. The first and easiest way to achieve this is of course through fitness type apps that track our steps, our exercise regimes and, on our request, prompt us to do more. But this will be increasingly augmented by apps that do the same for our mental and emotional wellbeing, as well as our moral and social development. Such apps can drive us forward, help us evolve as a species and become much more sophisticated human beings.

However, and here’s my only word of warning, this positive prediction can only be realised if the people developing AI applications have ego maturity and sophistication themselves.

Reducing AI anxiety with the power of the mind

How AI develops and how well it helps us to develop ourselves really depends on the quality of our own thinking. Our thinking about ourselves, each other and AI. I am inspired by the quality of the human mind in general and some human minds in particular. We can, if we code our future apps well enough, accelerate our own ego maturity, emotional regulation and social capability. This increased sophistication will not only help us manage the fears presented by the doom-laden predictions, it will also help us build the critical thinking capabilities and emotional intelligence required to ensure AI is a force for good in the world.

As a first step, individuals can start to understand their current stages of development and what may lie ahead on their personal journey. For more details on this see 4D Leadership where I explain how relationships can evolve for the better and what the more advanced stages of human development are. AI can take such maps of human development and help us make faster progress in our relentless pursuit to become who we are all truly capable of becoming.

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Dr Alan Watkins

Alan is recognised as an international expert on leadership and human performance. He has a broad mix of commercial, academic, scientific and technological abilities.