Authentic intelligence vs artificial intelligence and the power of human connection

Being ‘online’ was once an emerging technology. Only those on the cutting edge had the pleasure of inserting an AOL disc, double-checking the phone line, and listening to the sound of dialing into the world wide web… beep beep beep bepitty boooop ba dung ba baaaaa psssssst (if you know, you know!). Once available to a select few, the internet is now in just about every pocket, let alone every home and office. It didn’t take long for instant connectivity to become part of our daily lives.

Similarly, artificial intelligence (AI) has rapidly transitioned from the exclusivity of high-tech think tanks to middle school libraries and deep fakes. We are now firmly in the rapid adoption phase of AI. From financial analytics to automated customer service systems to my own field of training and development, AI has undeniably transformed the way we interact with technology. However, amidst all the hype around artificial intelligence, it is essential to recognize the irreplaceable value of authentic intelligence—the human element that brings empathy, understanding, and personal connection to complex problem-solving. 

The limitations of artificial intelligence

Think about the last time you called a customer service number, hoping to have a quick conversation with a person to resolve your issue. Instead, you probably found yourself navigating through a maze of automated prompts, inventing new curse words as you search for a way to reach an actual human being. Do I speak to it? Do I press 5? “No! I do not want to review my balance. Customer. Service. Representative!” It’s frustrating, time-consuming, and, quite frankly, an impersonal and off-putting experience. While AI-powered chatbots can handle basic inquiries, customers often prefer speaking with a real human who can empathize, understand their unique circumstances, and provide personalized assistance. 

Although AI has undoubtedly made significant strides in efficiency and productivity, it often falls short in providing the personal touch and authenticity that humans bring to the table. A warm greeting or an empathetic tone that fits your problem just right can make all the difference in the world when it comes to diffusing a tense situation. We aim to use AI as part of intelligent systems that are capable of doing jobs analogous to those performed by humans; knowing this, we can’t help but question whether AI is adequate on its own.

Authentic intelligence in an AI-focused world 

The concept of authentic intelligence has quickly gained popularity as the promises of AI begin to lose their sheen in real-world situations (the widely-reported case where lawyers were fined $5,000 because AI cited court cases that didn’t even exist springs to mind). Authentic intelligence encompasses the ability to go beyond surface-level interactions and delve into the nuances of human emotions, context, and relationships. AI may excel at data analysis and generating “personalized” messages, but it struggles to foster genuine relationships or understand the nuances of human desires and emotions. 

While an argument can be made for large language models being able to ‘converse’ in a more natural human manner with a user than ever before (and, indeed, the words themselves may have the right message), all the non-verbal cues are still missing. According to research going back to Albert Mehrabian in 1972’s Nonverbal Communication, as much as 55% of communication is body language and another 38% is tone of voice. Even if AI is able to generate the ‘right’ words, it can’t convey meaning, as it has no motivation or insight—only data in and data out. In short, AI cannot replace the value of person-to-person discussions and connections that drive meaningful interactions.

Authentic intelligence and artificial intelligence represent contrasting approaches to problem-solving and decision-making. While artificial intelligence relies on algorithms and data analysis to automate tasks and provide efficiency, authentic intelligence brings the human element into the equation. By leveraging both authentic intelligence and AI technologies appropriately, we can strike a balance that enhances our capabilities and drives true human-centered innovation for the modern world.

The power of authentic intelligence for L&D

Authentic intelligence is built on a combination of data, experience, and emotional intelligence. It thrives on the human capacity to establish and maintain relationships. Authentic intelligence is rooted in empathy, understanding, and the ability to adapt to individual needs and preferences.

At Blueline, we understand the power of authentic intelligence in learning and development. While we leverage AI to enhance our course development and immersive simulation design process, our team’s collective experience and expertise remain the vital component that ensures impactful learning and opens the door to true business transformation. There are some training needs that can be easily fulfilled by AI, such as clear-cut process adoption. Learning initiatives intended to solve complex business problems, however, require a healthy dose of authentic intelligence if they’re going to work.

Our Voice of the Business (VotB) process is a hands-on methodology we use to get to the root of a business problem. Through background research, free-form interviews, focus groups, and questionnaires, we uncover the authentic intelligence within an organization, ensuring that our solutions are tailored to its true needs and objectives. Armed with these vital internal insights, our design team develops innovative and effective communication strategies and immersive learning experiences.

A crucial component of our design process is leveraging the authentic (human-led) intelligence gleaned during the VotB process to create powerful learning experiences. Our simulations place learners in real-life contexts, which increases their capacity to transfer and use that knowledge in the real world. As in the real world, solving these problems requires gray-area thinking, critical reasoning, and empathy—which is where human intelligence truly shines. Unlike AI, which often focuses on absolutes, human intelligence allows us to consider different perspectives, navigate ambiguity, engage meaningfully with peers, find innovative solutions to multifaceted problems, and make decisions that optimize outcomes.

Consider again the experience of contacting an automated customer service line as analogous to the ways we can approach an L&D project. The telephone robot can probably answer some of your questions—for example, the balance of an account or where to find the reset button of a device. If you have a more nuanced problem, you’re going to keep hitting 0 until you reach a real human. So it goes for business transformation. Those complex, human-centric problems aren’t going to be fixed with AI alone.

Accelerate transformation with authentic intelligence

Blueline’s immersive simulations, grounded in real-life contexts and tailored to specific needs, bridge the gap between technology and human expertise. Contact us to learn more about our authentic learning experiences that harness the power of human connection AND AI to drive meaningful business transformation.

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