Is Efficiency Worth the Cost of Meaningful Connection?


As dystopian as it may read, “Robots Are Coming for Your Job” isn’t as grabby of a headline as it once was. With the rise of AI-powered chatbot technology, could machine-learning tools like ChatGPT force content creators, coders and copywriters to go the way of the blacksmith (or the grocery checkout clerk)? On the contrary, what would it mean for our way of working if we approached AI with curiosity over fear? What if AI were an asset to our work instead of a threat?

ChatGPT — despite being a tool that has existed for years — has enjoyed a semi-permanent spot in the headlines as of late. With the roll out of GPT-4, the newest iteration of ChatGPT, here’s what you need to know about the AI that’s taking the world by storm.

Powered by an abundance of data, supervised learning and a billion dollar bet from Microsoft, ChatGPT is less of an “intelligence” and more of a “language machine.” With an increasing knowledge of words, phrases, syntax and context clues from every user input, ChatGPT has reduced human connection to an algorithm.

A growing index of words paired with encyclopedic knowledge empowers ChatGPT to churn out content of every kind — from college admission essays, press releases and Javascript to blog posts.

The bot can boil down quantum computing to a handful of bullet points and build your weekly meal plan in a matter of seconds. It can answer anything from “What happens after we die?” to “How do I reach the first page of Google without paying for it?”

As for its own existence, here’s what ChatGPT had to say:

Boundaries pushed indeed.

As for GPT-4, the newest “jaw-dropping” update to ChatGPT, there’s even more features to twist you up in a moral conundrum.

In a nutshell? ChatGPT is now smarter, more sophisticated and more human-like than ever before. For even greater usability, GPT-4 also supports visual input for the very first time. A quick scroll through the launch page is enough to get familiar — and make your stomach do backflips. For reference, GPT-4 scored in the 90th percentile of the Bar Exam.

Despite its known issues, ChatGPT has become ubiquitous overnight – for better or worse.

In an era of shrinking budgets, rising costs and audiences with an insatiable appetite for content, what does the AI arms race mean for you? What does it mean for your team? For your organization? Within weeks of blowing up in the mainstream, ChatGPT has seen dozens of writers get canned. With a tool that can churn out content faster than you can scroll Twitter, writers are the low hanging fruit — the obvious choice to be picked off first in lieu of cheaper, faster and conveniently mechanical (read: not human).

Are lawyers, programmers, customer service agents and 43% of millennials facing a similar fate?

Is the AI-powered writing on the wall?

Short answer: No — not today, at least.

Here’s why: A tool like ChatGPT offers speed, scale and savings at a time when all three are scarce — but is it worth the cost of meaningful connection?

AI-generated content may be readable, but between the lines, one crucial element will always be missing: The humanity.

Obvious? Yes. Simple? No.

Human beings are wired for connection — the kind of connection that exists when people feel seen, heard and valued. Connection like this brings meaning and purpose to our lives (Brené Brown). Outside of ourselves, nothing can come close to it and nothing can replace it — certainly not an algorithm.

When your content creation budget has been slashed in half, does meaningful connection hold the same weight?

In times like these, connection is the currency that matters most. Human connection is what opens wallets, builds loyalty and drives productivity. It cultivates trust, purpose and a sense of belonging. Like time and money, human connection is in short supply these days as well, with far greater consequences than the latter.

The ripple effect of AI is sure to rock every industry, but we’re keeping an open mind and a finger on the pulse in tourism, government, personal finance and healthcare — industries where the human element is fundamental for success.

Can AI replace the grounded words of stability and prosperity in a mayor’s address to their constituents?

Can AI replace a personalized debt management plan so a credit union member can qualify for a mortgage in five years? What about the monthly accountability meetings and the “just thinking about you” emails?

Can AI replace the trusted recommendation of your family doctor or the words of comfort from a nurse who knew your dad better than most?

We thought writer and author John Warner put it best: “ChatGPT can’t kill anything worth preserving.”

With that being said, can AI unblock your writer’s block? Can it help people who don’t have the means otherwise to communicate a thought? There are so many opportunities to use it as a tool.

We eagerly anticipate the AI-driven transformation that awaits — a transformation that we can partner with, not against. It’s true that AI will never replace our ability to connect — it’s what makes us human, after all — but what if we approached the AI arms race with curiosity over fear and possibility over scarcity? What if AI wasn’t a tsunami on the horizon, but a rising tide to lift all boats? What if AI were our partner in excellence? What if AI were another tool in our arsenal to make our work that much better?

Here’s how we’re seeing it happen:

Can humanity be replaced with an ever-evolving, endlessly sophisticated learning model? Not a chance. Don’t let that stop you from joining forces, though — you don’t need an algorithm to see that the possibilities are endless.