Laura Drury: AI – what’s your automatic response?

Whilst eating dinner with family and friends recently we happened upon the subject of ‘Artificial Intelligence’ (not unsurprisingly as it’s my husband’s favourite topic) whereupon I started to feel a little anxious.

You see my ‘internal’ fight or flight, reptilian brain, response to ‘AI’ is: ‘It’s scary, it’s going to take all our jobs before taking over the entire world and destroying all human life!’

Now, as dramatic as that sounds (and I do have a penchant for drama), I would imagine that quite a lot of people can relate to the sentiment. Why? Because it means change - big change - and we don’t know what the outcomes will be. Two of the things us humans fear the most are change and the unknown.

Let’s take a step back in time (Kylie style - sorry) and look at the industrial revolution. When James Watt improved the steam engine in the late 18th century, peoples’ responses fell into two camps. There were those who could see opportunity, and those who feared it and could only see the negative impact it would have on their livelihoods. Yet look at where we are now. If those who had feared it, had thought about it from a different perspective, would it have made a difference to their situation?

You see, very simply put, AI is programmed by algorithms and our brains are programmed by our emotions and thoughts. But whereas AI is being developed in a very proactive way, our brains, left to their own devices, develop reactively. This is because we constantly receive a vast flow of information so we need a quick way to respond to it and that response is influenced by the emotional part of the brain (the limbic system).

Too few facts, combined with a substantial amount of assumptions and negative emotions can lead to fear and fear can become paralysing. It is the main reason we resist change and inevitably miss out on new experiences and opportunities.
How can we combat this? By taking control of how we think and looking at a situation objectively. If we ‘FLIP’ our thoughts to see them from a different perspective, we engage the more logical part of our brains (the prefrontal cortex) which helps us to rationally think through a situation. By consciously challenging all our negative responses and habitual thinking patterns in this way, we can embed new thinking patterns.

Some useful questions to challenge assumptions are as follows:

Whilst the future of what AI will look like is still unknown, the positive ground-breaking, possibilities are endless. Improving medicine, equality and economy to name but a few.*

But what about your future? What beliefs have you held onto until now that could be challenged? What possibilities and opportunities lie ahead for you and what can you do to make them happen? To delve deeper, book onto one of Laughology’s FLIP-it programmes or request one of our lovely Laughologists for a coaching session.

No Artificial Intelligence was used in the writing of this blog.

(* Max Tegmarks’ TED talk ‘How to get empowered, not overpowered, by AI)



Laura Drury LR BlogLaura Drury began her professional career as a performer and trained at Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts. Her passion lay in theatre; particularly Shakespeare, comedy and farce. She always felt she had great comic... wait for it... timing!...