Discover more from Life in Color
 How AI Democratizes Intelligence
[Intelligence vs Confidence, Intelligence 2.0]
Sharing an essay from our Evolving Internet Insights Newsletter unpacking how the best use cases will be discovered in AI.
(P.S. For the summary and further breakdown of this essay, follow me on Twitter)
👇 Get with the times, subscribe to Life in Color 🥳
Note: Some sections of this essay were originally released on my Evolving Internet Insights newsletter.
Intelligence vs Confidence
We grew up in a world where the education paradigm pushed us to become “book smart.”
The incentive cycle usually consisted of studying, receiving grades as a byproduct of that studying, getting scholastic awards celebrating those grades, and rinse and repeat.
In this pursuit, we are conditioned to assign relative standing to things, and usually, regardless of the topic or subject, we are taught the higher the better. There are entire cultures that are obsessed with how smart their kids are, and “smart kids” are a badge of honor for families.
As we become adults and enter the workforce, it’s the same message in different words – “we are looking for smart and analytical people to join our ranks.” Society constantly emphasizes the value of intelligence.
If you are smart, everything should be fine, right? 🤔
But is that what society actually rewards, or does society just tell us that intelligence is rewarded?
Take the example of a job application. Most job applications are written to screen for “intelligence.” The obvious proxies for how “smart” you are include your GPA and where you went to school (among others).
But who actually gets the job? Is it the person who is “intelligent” or is it someone else? Is there another intangible factor in the decision to hire?
Enter CONFIDENCE, a nebulous word that is hard to define or measure but is thrown around all the time — “we just know it when we see it.”
Even though we cannot really pinpoint what “it” is, we tend to admire “it”. This “it” factor is how we describe heroes (whether in real life, the internet, or on the movie screen). We admire heroes for their boldness, willingness to take risks, and their courage to be different. We cannot recall a hero being admired because they got good grades in school. 😄
People look up to those who are bold, who are willing to “go after it”, those who take risks and get rewarded for their risks. We do not watch superhero movies where the movie is about the hero doing conventional intelligent things; we watch the movie for their ability to take risks and overcome challenges. Superhero movies are stories where success is born out of confidence.
You can replace “superhero” in the last paragraph with “entrepreneur,” “CEO,” or people you admire in society and they will say that unwavering confidence led to their results.
To be clear, we are not saying intelligence or other factors are irrelevant characteristics (of course they are relevant), but if you have a lot of confidence, then intelligence may matter less.
These traits are not mutually exclusive either; if anything, the best and rarest breed of leaders and people exhibit both intelligence and confidence.
Intelligence In A World of Generative AI
Of course, generative (gen) AI disrupts all of the traditional thinking above.
As AI continues to augment human capabilities in knowledge work or tasks that traditionally required high intellectual capacity, the focus for human upskilling shifts from raw intelligence to other human traits.
AI effectively democratizes skills and knowledge that were once the exclusive domain of the highly educated or specialized.
In this world, AI makes intelligence abundant and accessible for all. What is scarce might be all the soft skills (like confidence) that AI cannot augment. In the business world, this includes everything from business development to managing an evolving and diverse workforce. For example, where AI falls short is in making judgment calls that humans are more capable of making based on the situation and context.
At the onset of the gen AI boom, many were worried that AI might replace humans. But until we get super smart machines that can “think” for themselves (read: sentient robots powered by artificial general intelligence), we agree that “AI won’t replace humans, humans with AI will replace humans without AI.” Early data indicates that this assertion may not be too far off.
In a recent paper, researchers from leading universities collaborated with Boston Consulting Group (BCG) to put ChatGPT’s usefulness to the test. One of the key findings was that consultants who were lower performers closed the performance gap with their higher performing peers when using gen AI tools like ChatGPT. In short, gen AI can be a great equalizer in terms of tasks that require “raw intelligence.”
Remember, the market and society values what is scarce and rare, not what is abundant (i.e. commoditized).
Gen AI makes traditional intelligence abundant – turning it into a commodity of sorts. What ends up becoming scarce and inherently more valuable might be all the soft skills that we traditionally overlooked and did not work to improve.
The current paradigm of rewarding what we call “intelligence 1.0” (read: traditional intelligence or being “smart”) has to change with the rise of gen AI tools. This paradigm shift is no different than previous technology disruptions like the steam engine, the internet, and smartphones. However, the scale of the paradigm shift that gen AI ushers in feels unprecedented given the extent to which the technology can change what has been traditionally rewarded as a society for decades.
In this new world of “intelligence 2.0,” learning how to augment your intelligence and work with AI so that you can compete based on more soft skills might be the smartest thing you can do.
🥳 Get with the times and subscribe to Life in Color! 👇
🙏 Share Life in Color with a friend and ask them to subscribe
🙏 Share on Twitter / Linkedin with a short note
🙏 Share on your company Slack / Teams channels and communities
This post is provided for educational and informational purposes only. Nothing written in this post should be taken as financial advice or advice of any kind. The author(s) may own some of the NFTs, art and/or collectibles mentioned in this post. The content of this post are the opinions of the authors and not representative of other parties.
Empower yourself, DYOR (do your own research).