Dr. Pero Mićić

It is said that two-thirds of today’s students will work in jobs during their lifetime that we don’t know today. What should you learn for the future? What should your children be learning? And as a leader, what should your employees learn? With which qualification should hire employees? If, after all, intelligent machines will be able to do more and more in the future. Then what is the most important skill and attribute for humans? What is the most important skill that will allow you to have well-paid jobs in the future?

Qualification for the future: How are we as humans special?

If everything that humans can do cognitively, that is, with their brains, the artificial intelligences can soon or already today do better. At least in special tasks. If everything that humans can do physically with their bodies, the robots can soon or already today do better. So if the intelligent machines can do virtually any special task better than we humans can. How are we as humans special then? Where and what is our place in the coming world of work?

If I want to be sure that my doctor really considers all the therapies for a bad disease, then I want her to use an AI that reads a million medical science publications in a few minutes and based on my unique genetic profile recommends the first-best, second-best, and third-best therapy. For the next patient, the AI just does it again. Again in a few minutes. Again based on a unique genome. A human being cannot work that quickly and precisely. Even a thousand people can’t work that fast. We will have no chance against this competition in the future.

But: I want a human being to look at the consultation results of the intelligent machine. Why? Because I am human. Because millions of years of evolution cannot be neutralized just because we have been working on AI for 70 years and it is now finally starting to function.

We humans are social beings. And even if we sometimes despair of people, we need other people to feel good. I want to look into eyes that I can trust. Who can guide me. I want to talk to a person who can help me navigate this complex world. Who makes me feel comfortable, who helps me classify what the AI is saying, whether it’s plausible or not. Whether I should look elsewhere too.

Qualification of the future: Excellent as a human being

So if in the future my doctor can only perform at her best in collaboration with the AI. What qualifications does she need then? She needs to be an excellent physician. And for that, she needs to be, an excellent human being.
That’s the very simple logical consequence. If we are less and less able to compete cognitively and physically with the performance of intelligent machines, at least in special tasks, then we are left with only one very large domain in which the intelligent machines will not stand a chance against US for a very long time to come.

The intelligent machines will be superior to us in the special disciplines. Narrow AI is what we call it, the narrow, specialized AI. But we are superior in the broad range. We master complexity. We oversee the whole. We determine the values and the goals. We are the bosses.

Side note: In the long run, of course, we’ll have to be careful to remain the bosses of the intelligent machines as general artificial intelligence emerges. But that will take a few more decades. We may and must focus on becoming and being excellent human beings. We can give other people the good feelings. The bad ones too, of course, but as excellent people, mainly the good feelings. Becoming and being an excellent person is the most important qualification for the future. The key qualification.

So what is it, an excellent person? What does it involve?

Becoming and being an excellent person is the most important qualification for the future. The key qualification. So what is it, an excellent person? What does it involve?

  1. emotional intelligence: Since 1990, this has been the term used to describe the ability to perceive and assess one’s own and other people’s emotions correctly and to deal with them in a meaningful way. A hundred years ago, this was also called social intelligence. Empathy is perhaps the most important capability here, being able to put oneself in the other person’s emotions and situation.
  2. communication skills: being able to express one’s emotions and thoughts precisely in words, writing and pictures is becoming increasingly important, and at the same time it seems that this skill is becoming less and less widespread.
  3. logical thinking and behavior: Emotionally, after all, we are by nature. Far too often unreasonable and short-sighted. We don’t need to do anything about that. Just look at how illogically and even stupidly humans and humankind as a whole behave, for example in energy generation or nutrition. Not to mention the conspiracy theories and the sometimes horribly frightening postings in the social media. In view of this, I consider logical thinking to be perhaps the most important skill of an excellent human being. With better logical thinking, humanity and the world would be more peaceful and sustainable and would have achieved even better quality of life for all.
  4. self-leadership: an excellent person manages to lead and control herself in such a way that she frequently achieves her own self-set goals. Good resolutions and goals are easily created, but almost everyone almost always fails at implementation. Excellent people have a lot of implementation power. And this is where the ability to lead oneself helps.
  5. change skills: learn to be comfortable with change and innovation. Even love it. The best and easiest way to do this is to change yourself and the immediate world around you more and more for the better. Because we love our own ideas for change. It’s only the ideas of others that we hate, because they force us to change instead of us wanting it ourselves. Then we need change management and need to build coalitions of the willing. No, we should initiate and create the positive change ourselves.
  6. ethical behavior: Acting in a way that makes the world and the lives of others better, or at least does not harm them. That’s right, the categorical imperative.
  7. entrepreneurship: people who take action are the generators of prosperity and quality of life. And of all taxes, because without companies there are no jobs and no private income. So also no well funded state, no authorities and agencies, no public services and no social system. We need as many strong successful entrepreneurs as possible. To me it is incomprehensible that only a small proportion of people want to be entrepreneurs.

My list is not complete, of course. It also depends on one’s world view how you imagine an excellent person. But it is a pity and actually fatal that not a single one of these skills, really not one of them, is taught where young people are trained for life. In the schools and universities. All kinds of things are taught and conveyed. But of all things, the most important skills are not taught. It’s illogical and stupid. And, I will repeat myself, it is fatal for our future. Yet each of these skills is developable and trainable.

If you have ideas, comments or questions about the topic, please write it to me.
What can you do for your future? If you are a leader, foster these skills in your employees. Hire excellent people and help your employees become and be excellent people. If they want that too. If you have children, make these skills a priority in education. And most importantly, keep taking small steps toward being an excellent person yourself.

For 30 years, I have been committed to helping people, and especially leaders, become more farsighted and act more future-intelligently. If you are interested in how we can work together to make your company and your business model future-proof, send me message. Then we’ll have a chat about the future of your business.

Have a bright future!