What's AI Without Emotional Intelligence?



The future. Artificial intelligence (AI), self-driven cars, automated processes in almost every aspect of life and an unwavering need for people with the emotional intelligence quotient (EQ) capable of living in, and operating in, this world of the future.

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While the world becomes more and more dependent upon automation and AI -- make no mistake, AI already exists albeit with significant support from humans -- global society will need to consider the importance of emotional intelligence in the modern workforce.

As the world places more emphasis on the development of technology, and particularly AI and automation, it is important that we also place a corresponding emphasis on developing EQ. This starts with education, and it starts at a young age.

While pathways for AI in education continue to boom -- according to a recent report from Global Market Insights, the artificial intelligence market in education is expected to reach a worldwide market value of $6 billion over the next six years -- EQ and social-emotional learning (SEL) initiatives are lacking in comparison.

The truth is, automation and AI will do wonders for economic growth and eventually sustainability. Even with the fears and apprehensions associated with AI, it is clear that the potential it possesses is endless. While this potential is exciting, and quite possibly life-altering as we know it, there are some drawbacks, such as:

  • Jobs being replaced by automation

  • An economic inflation that benefits the creators of AI and automation but not the employees AI and automation replaces

  • Repair and maintenance of machines is expensive

  • Impact on human connection caused by distractions associated with a tech-heavy world

The last one is particularly salient, considering the fact that distractions due to tech are already being widely researched, and the results are not entirely encouraging. The more our world becomes dependent on, and benefits from, technology, the more likely it is that human connection, and thus our ability to empathize and understand others, will suffer.

Related Post: Empathy: A Fundamentally Important Human Quality

The less we strive for human connection, or the more distant we become from one another, the more our EQ is impacted negatively. Skills like self-awareness, empathy, creativity, collaboration, problem-solving and adaptability are directly affected by a lack of human interaction.

It is our ability to understand one another, and to relate to one another, that helps us understand user experience, adapt to unforeseen scenarios in work environments, creatively think about desired outcomes for target audiences, come up with solutions to pain points and collaborate with others to ensure efficient and effective processes.

With the future likely to be dominated by automation and AI, it is becoming more and more important for individuals to develop these skills, rather than shying away from them. These are the skills that can’t be replaced by automation.

Fortunately, the two sides of intelligence aren’t mutually exclusive; in fact, AI has the capabilities to support students in their growth as emotionally intelligent individuals, particularly with augmented and virtual reality experiences, and wearable technology that humans could have only dreamed about 30 years ago.

While AI can assist with the development of EQ, it is also important to keep in mind that these skills can be developed without the assistance of technology as well. Below, there are two examples of both a high and low-tech method that can contribute to the growth of EQ initiatives in your school or classroom.

How SEL Can be Felt, Seen and Experienced

Using VR Experiences to Build EQ in Students

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There are many ways to cultivate emotional intelligence. However, being able to experience an event from a first-person perspective, while actually seeing the circumstances that some people live in, or have had to live in, can help students understand the realities behind life in someone else’s shoes.

The reality is that students are stimulated in more complex ways now than ever before. So, while teaching students about SEL and mindfulness will help them comprehend the significance of both, sometimes being able to visually represent the reality can help the drive the point home.

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The reality is that students are stimulated in more complex ways now than ever before. So, while teaching students about SEL and mindfulness will help them comprehend the significance of both, sometimes being able to visually represent the reality can help the drive the point home.

This is why AR and VR experiences can be so powerful, particularly if they are connected to historical events like the Holocaust, or used to put homelessness into perspective for those who have never had to endure that reality. The connection between technology and empathy make a truly deeper learning experience for students.

Improv Leads to Adaptability & Critical Thinking

Understanding Someone Else’s Shoes Through Comedy

Improv comedy is one of the most nerve-wracking experiences a person can willingly put themselves into. However, it is also one of the best ways to support students and individuals on their path to becoming on-the-spot creative thinkers, individuals who are adaptive to rapidly changing circumstances and empathetic beings who are possessed with the ability to step outside themselves.


Related Post: How to Use Improv to Increase Student Empathy

Improv is also an engaging activity that leads to fun interactions, and relationships that extend beyond the surface-level interaction often found in classrooms.

Finally, improv is quite literally dependent upon adaptability, critical thinking and problem-solving. The activity itself cannot exist without a keen eye toward what’s unknown about any given circumstance, an ability to think on your feet when that unknown arises and the creativity to come up with a serviceable response to said circumstance.

This is the nature of the modern work environment, where employees constantly wear different hats, and are always being given new tasks that might extend beyond their previous level of expertise. Developing these skills at a young age will help students prepare for the fact that modern work environments are likely to become more dependent upon adaptability and quick thinking.

Why is Developing EQ in School Important?

Organizations Are Clamoring for Employees with High EQ

Evidence suggests that the workforce will soon be reliant upon individuals who can cope with an ever changing work environment, and sate the complex demands that shift more drastically as the desires of the user become more fickle.

Furthermore humans are only going to make more advances with machines, automation and AI. While these advances might lead to monotonous and manual labor being replaced first, in reality no job is safe. AI and automation have the ability to extend into many different industries that currently require a high-level skillset.

Related Post: K-12 is the Key to Workforce Development

There are certain aspects of humanity that cannot be replaced by machines, by AI and by automation. Most notably is our ability to relate with one another, and derive amazing results through collaboration and through an intricate understanding of what it means to be human.

These are the qualities that will lead to further innovations in global society, an ability to regulate the growth of AI and a continued opportunity to innovate.

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Imagination has always been a playing field where anything is possible, and it has been the catalyst behind some of the great works known to man. It has also been the catalyst behind the completion of some of our unimaginable dreams.

Imagination will continue to bring AI into existence, and will contribute to the persistence of automation in this world. It will also govern our ability to regulate these existences while we continue to strive for further innovations.

It’s important that the evolution of AI and automation is directly accompanied by initiatives that are designed to support the growth of emotionally intelligent individuals. Education is the catalyst to ensuring these EQ initiatives contribute to global society, while tech in global society continues to advance.

Thanks for stopping by! If you have any comments, suggestions or musings drop us a line in the comment section below.



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