This is the most important qualification for the future

Dr. Pero Mićić

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

Qualification for the future: Where are we special as people?

If everything that humans can do cognitively, i.e. with their brains, artificial intelligences can already do today or will soon be able to do better. At least in special tasks. If everything that humans can do physically with their bodies, robots can already do today or will soon be able to do better. So if the intelligent machines can do virtually any specialized task better than we humans can. Then where are we special as human beings? Where is our place in the world of work?

If I want to be sure that my doctor is really considering all therapies against a bad disease, I want her to use an AI that reads a million medical science publications in a few minutes and recommends the first-best, second-best, and third-best therapy based on my unique genetic profile. For the next patient, the AI is just doing 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 not work at all. We already have no chance against this competition.

But: I want a human being to look at the consulting results of the intelligent machine. Why? Because I am human. Because millions of years of evolution are not neutralized just because we’ve been working on AI for 70 years and it’s finally starting to work.

We humans are social beings. And even though we sometimes despair of people, we need other people to feel good. I want to look into eyes that I can trust. Which can guide me. I want to talk to someone who can help me navigate this complex world. Which gives me a good feeling, which helps me to classify the statements of the AI, whether they are plausible or not. I wonder if I should look somewhere else again.

Qualification of the future: Excellent as a human being

So in the future, if my doctor can only perform at her best in collaboration with AI. What qualification does it need then? She must be an excellent doctor. And for that she must be, an excellent person.
This is 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.

Intelligent machines will outperform us in specialized disciplines. Narrow AI is what we call it, the narrow, specialized AI. But we are superior in terms of breadth. We master complexity. We’re looking at the big picture. We determine the values and the goals. We are the bosses.

Side note: In the long run, of course, we have to be careful that we 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 people. We can give the good feelings to other people. The bad ones too, of course, but as excellent people, especially the good feelings. Becoming and being an excellent person is the most important qualification for the future. Key qualification.

Now what is that, an excellent person? What belongs to it?

  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. Even a hundred years ago, this was also called social intelligence. Empathy is perhaps the most important skill here, being able to put yourself in the other person’s shoes 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 one has the impression that this skill is becoming less and less widespread.
  3. Logical thinking and behavior: After all, we are emotional by nature. Far too often unreasonable and short-sighted. We don’t need to do anything for that. Just look at how illogically and even stupidly man and mankind as a whole behaves, for example in energy production or nutrition. Not to mention the conspiracy theories and the, in good part, frightening posts 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 more quality of life for all.
  4. Self-leadership: An excellent person manages to lead and direct 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 implementing them. Excellent people have a lot of implementation power. And the ability to lead oneself helps with this.
  5. Ability to change: learn to be comfortable with change and innovation. Gar them to love. 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 is only the ideas of others that we hate, because they force us to change instead of us wanting it ourselves. Ability to change.
  6. Ethical behavior: Acting in a way that makes the world and the lives of others better, or at least does not harm them. Exactly, 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 state, no authorities, no public services and no social system. We need as many strong successful entrepreneurs as possible, both women and men. It is inconceivable to me that only a small proportion of people want to or can be entrepreneurs.

My list is not complete, of course. It also depends on the worldview of how one imagines 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 schools. All kinds of things are taught and taught. But of all things, the most important skills are not. It is illogical and stupid. And, I repeat myself, it is fatal for our future. Each of these skills can be developed and trained.

If you have ideas, comments or questions about the topic, write to me.
What can you do for your future? If you are a leader, encourage these skills in your employees. Hire excellent people and help your employees become and be excellent people. If you have children, make these skills a priority in parenting and education. And above all, keep taking small steps toward becoming an excellent person yourself.

For 30 years, I have been committed to helping people, and especially managers, act in a more far-sighted and future-intelligent way. If you are interested in how we can work together to future-proof your company and your business model, write to me. Let’s talk about the future of your business.

Follow these links as well:

► The Future Strategy Program for SMEs

► Free video crash course THE FUTURE OF YOUR BUSINESS
► BUSINESS WARGAMING for robust business and future opportunities
► KEYNOTES by Pero Mićić for your employees and customers

Have a bright future!