Be Smarter than the Machine

Mark Thomas Shekoyan
2 min readApr 21, 2023

A long time ago my Helicopter pilot uncle said, “You’ve got to be smarter than the machine.”

That simple statement has stuck with me as I watched people freak out about AI programs like Chat GPT stealing their job.

A large chunk of future work will likely be taken by AI. In particular, if you have a job that requires formulaic thinking and linear problem solving you are probably in trouble.

People who think simple deductive reasoning, the ability to crunch numbers, or use logic will win your future need to pay attention.

Anything that is formulaic and script-based can be operationalized by machine learning. That includes many computer coding tasks, sales Jobs, teaching, writing, and even architecture.

That said many areas of synthetic, creative, analogous, and intuitive intelligence are completely outside the capabilities of AI.

The ability to create complex strategies adapted to shifting business conditions, provide nuanced guidance rooted in empathy, and creatively problem-solve complicated issues in shifting domains are things that befuddle machines.

This is why a liberal arts education emphasizing critical and creative thinking is still vitally important. Smarter resilient and adaptive people with a growth mindset can learn and pivot in the face of emergent AI.

If you have the ability to synthesize complex material, generate insights, creatively solve problems, and provide empathetic guidance, you will continue to be highly valued in the emergent workplace. The more Techy the world becomes, the fuzzier its leaders need to be, and thus You’ve got to be smarter than the machine.

And if that doesn’t work, there are always the 36 Strategies of War. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thirty-Six_Stratagems

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