Why Humans Matter Most in an AI-Driven World

November 7, 2023
Read Time: 3 minutes
AI & Machine Learning

Reshaping the AI Narrative with Humans as the Focal Point.

President Biden’s administration made headlines in late October when it announced an order to create safeguards for artificial intelligence. “One thing is clear: To realize the promise of AI and avoid the risks, we need to govern this technology,” President Biden said. The executive order centers around safety and security mandates, equity and civil rights guidance, and research about AI’s impact on the labor market.

The long-awaited landmark order comes at a pivotal time as new AI tools seemingly enter the market daily. Goldman Sachs forecasts AI investments will reach $200 billion globally by 2025.[1] As firms learn to work with the growing number of tools, the human element feels more critical than ever.

Advanced technologies are not a shortcut to the finish line. They are simply tools that help humans do things better and faster.

The Power of Soft Skills

Technology allows firms to take a machine’s output to the next level. It aims to help individuals do their best work, brainstorm ideas, unlock creativity, and more.

When we look at AI tools, many of us have probably wondered: are the robots really coming for my job? The short answer is maybe. AI is already performing multiple use cases.

But a long list comes to mind when we evaluate what a machine can’t do. Just some of those things include providing a nuanced understanding of language, designing products that meet clients’ needs, speaking about a complex topic in a clear and engaging way, or having self-awareness to create those necessary governance guardrails.

Similar to how AI tools learn with new data, humans must also refine their skills in an AI-driven world. Training and mentoring programs, enhancing collaboration and communication skills, developing strategy, and more are critical. People who are curious, self-learning, and can adapt to a changing industry are key in helping visualize and engineer the next generation of technology.

Humans Wanted

Humans’ best traits are our ability to adapt, learn, and move with the times. As technology takes on more repetitive tasks, people will be the ones leveling-up AI’s output and deciding how – or how not – to use it.

So, if humans matter most, how should people use AI?

With the support of AI, people will continue to help clients solve their most complicated challenges and redesign a firm’s next operating model. AI tools may not yet be suited to make trading recommendations. However, alerting a trader to their underhedged portfolio and suggesting possible hedging strategies could give the trader a leg up in their decision-making. If we look at self-driving cars, many may question the car’s safety or even the investment in moving one person instead of upgrading mass transit. But what we may overlook is how AI can prevent lane drift or how cities are using the application in the future of mass transit.

AI holds the power to tackle the big challenges facing our industry. But it’s the co-existence of humans and machines that will drive the transformative outcomes. AI may simulate creative processes, but it doesn’t understand, think, or create in the same way humans do. If we think about the invention of the wheel, bicycles and cars have made transportation easier and faster. But humans are still the ones who decide where to go.

With the right tools, questions, and know-how, we’ll continue learning from our strengths and mistakes as we build on the big ideas and innovations radically changing our industry.


[1] Consumers care about sustainability – but will they pay more? April 10, 2023, National Retail Federation

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