EI vs. AI: Emotional Intelligence vs. Artificial Intelligence

EI vs. AI: Emotional Intelligence vs. Artificial Intelligence

This week, our guest writer John Andersen helps us see the clear difference between reality and the artificial in “EI vs. AI: Emotional Intelligence vs. Artificial Intelligence.”

With all the technology and buzzwords floating around it is easy to get lost, confused or sometimes plain lied to. Marketing spin, new names and great acronyms can supplant common sense and knowing better. Manufactured solutions are different than organic solutions and the commitment to following it is also vastly different.


Let me give you an example. I have the good fortune to live minutes from Walt Disney World for much of the year. While I am getting a little old for most of the rides and have done everything you can imagine, I still manage to go to one of the parks about once a week. I have taken to studying how they manufacture a guest experience. From avoidance of shadows in high photo locations to the smell of popcorn that seemingly is pumped into the air during parades or fireworks. Subtle music, barely audible in quiet zones to bring down your pulse rate, or rhythmic tones during a line cue to help build anticipation. The imagineers continue to tweak, study, and implement new ways to enhance the guest experience. The intel they gather and maintain on guests is astounding, overwhelming and valuable. They spend millions of dollars maintaining the experience and finding new unique ways to entice the money from your wallet and keep you onsite and engaged. If it’s all you know and all you see, you could believe it is real, but eventually your inner voice will call out, “Artificial!!!”


In contrast, this week I have parked my home on the seawall of the Atlantic Ocean. There are still thousands of people around me as we prepare for the Daytona 500. Much like Disney, it’s all business and profit driven. At the urging of a wise old friend, I got up to see the sunrise since there is nothing between me and the ocean except thirty yards of sand. It was predawn when I went outside and stood on the sea wall. On both left and right were people standing quietly with cups of coffee, dogs, and partners. Nobody looked awake and all were silent. It started as a pink glow but within minutes the sun was breaking from the water and fully exposed. My face warmed and the hairs on my arms stood up. It was like I was being filled up with faith, hope and energy. Bathed with light that nobody else had seen yet. We all stood there for 20 minutes or so before one by one our tanks read full, and we left to start our day. Sunrise is so much different than sunset. It radiates peaceful enthusiasm, and positive momentum. A sunrise sends specific signals to the brain and body that can’t be manufactured. In this case your inner voice doesn’t call out, it whispers…” Thank you.”


That’s the difference between AI and EI. Artificial Intelligence versus Emotional Intelligence. AI will be pervasive in so many areas of your life over the next decade. It will change the way you do business and how you operate inside and outside of work. You can expect higher levels of service, refined experiences, and likely better and cheaper products. In this utopian environment setting yourself apart will require something organic, real, and different. That requires a skill AI can’t learn. That is where the great will become the exceptional and businesses and customers alike will seek you out. That is harnessing emotional intelligence. We all have it, but the drive is being overshadowed by the noise of AI. Finding a blend of both will lead you to the top of your potential markets and success. Last week I attended a symposium virtually with the greatest leaders in AI and technology. Each had a viewpoint about how technology would change the world for the better and the worse. However, one phrase stood out and much like the sunrise this morning, I can’t ignore what it meant. AI will never supplant EI because AI doesn’t have a gut. Surround yourself with data, predictive models, and AI of all types. Use it to elevate your abilities, skills and services but seek out EI. EI is found in Passion, Wisdom, and Instinct where AI is based on Data, Intelligence, and Modeling. 


This brings me back to my Daytona 500 outing. A computer could generate the race, but it’s the spirit of the drivers that engage us. Like the sunrise, you need to feel it!

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