22 August 2018

    Vinolia Mohube

    Four human qualities that are still beyond the powers of AI

    Human qualities that are still beyond the powers of AI.

    AI is a crucial and unavoidable part of our future. We live in a world where machines are slowly taking over tasks that were previously performed by humans, and in some cases doing them better and much faster than humans. This has sparked the ‘humans vs machine’ debate that is informed by the fear that machines will replace humans, doing away with human labour in the workplace.

    This narrative is slowly shifting to ‘humans and machines’ because people are now realising that despite their intelligence and level of advancement, there are fundamental human qualities that are still beyond the capabilities of AI.

    Machines are not good at dealing with ambiguity and grey areas because they’re programmed to operate and perform tasks in a particular way. Their inability to understand context makes it difficult for them to make judgement calls.

    These are four areas where humans are much faster, more accurate and can excel without competition from AI:

    Critical thinking

    Human intelligence is much more complex than AI. Machines may have unbeatable memory and capacity to process vast amounts of information, but even that doesn’t come close to human intelligence and creativity. Complex, unstructured problems where outcomes are not known in advance need human intelligence to be solved because humans are able to think critically and creatively when faced with problems.

    Influencing Others

    The ability to influence others is a valuable skill that needs experience - a skill that only humans can acquire. To be able to influence successfully requires an ongoing relationship between two parties that’s built on trust, an understanding of the context, and a willingness to determine what it takes to influence the other person.


    Empathy is the ability to see another person’s perspective and understand their viewpoint.This is something that’s still beyond the power of AI. Not to take away from the potential of AI or anything, but let’s face it, machines don’t have feelings.  They can be programmed to interact with and respond to humans, but they can’t be taught social behaviour cues and the ability to discern others’ feelings.

    Storytelling and Communication

    Human-to-human interaction will always surpass the simple informative  exchanges between humans and machines. Machines, unlike humans, can’t engage in active listening and difficult conversations. A compassionate delivery is as important as what is being said and that’s something that’s still beyond the capabilities of AI.

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    Vinolia Mohube