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With AI, Communication Skills Become Vastly More Important

With AI, Communication Skills Become Vastly More Important

By Rob Enderle for Techspective 

There has been a joke going around my community that goes something like this: “OMG, AI is taking our jobs. All users will need to be able to do is describe what they want an app to do, and AIs will do the work without us!” The response is, “No worries. When has a user ever been able to describe what they want?”

This joke really isn’t a joke as much as it is the literal truth. I’ve been involved in creating apps on both ends, and the failures result from poor communication skills on both sides of the request. The first time I worked on creating an app was on what became one of the very first CRM programs. After showing the development team what I was using (a hand-built Condor PC database application that I needed translated to an AS400), they gave me an application that was so labor-intensive it was almost unusable. I was an ex-actor, ranked nationally as a public speaker, and considered an expert at writing contracts, yet what IT (it was called Management Information Services back then) produced was nothing like what I thought I’d asked for.

Let’s talk about why communication skills, even more than traditional STEM training, will be critical as we continue to move into our AI future.

AI’s Are Better Listeners But…

People can be distracted by their inner monolog, selectively hear what they want to hear over what is being said, and have relatively poor memories when compared to AIs. AIs will listen better, but they are still defined by their training, and if their training interprets a series of words or an acronym differently (AIs don’t do well with acronyms), their comprehension can degrade significantly.

Because of concerns surrounding proprietary information propagation, the ability for AIs to learn from you is limited. This is unfortunate because if these limits weren’t in place, AI platforms would learn from you more quickly.

AIs tend to be very, very literal so you need to be very precise in what you ask them to do. The photographer, James Friedman, takes the directions he is given to creatively edit (photoshop) images. You can see some of his work here. He’s been doing this for a while. With his understanding of what clients want, he could create better outcomes, but he does showcase what an AI would likely do if the directions weren’t specific enough. While the photos are funny, if this same communications default was applied to a nuclear reactor or (given the current news) a container ship, the outcome could be far more problematic, particularly if the verbal or written directions were applied in real-time during a crisis…

To learn more about how to use AI to your advantage in the working world and more, read the full article: With AI, Communication Skills Become Vastly More Important


About the Author

Rob Enderle is the president and principal analyst at the Enderle Group, where he provides regional and global companies with guidance on how to create a credible dialogue with the market, target customer needs, create new business opportunities, anticipate technology changes, select vendors, and products, and practice zero-dollar marketing. You can reach the author via email.

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