Most of our day-to-day interactions with AI are designed to soothe and smooth out our experience of the world. Netflix invites us to watch a film just like the one we enjoyed last night; our email accounts offer to finish our sentences; or a coaching platform aims to find us a coach who is a ‘good match’ for our personality.
No kinks, little thought. In all these interactions, AI seeks to ensure that our passage through the day is as comfortable and convenient as possible.
And sure, comfort is important at times. We all hurriedly escape into the security of familiar feelings, events and behaviours – it’s a deep-rooted human response to threat. But it can also help us to avoid facing real, hard feelings and questions, staying with different or new experiences, and making change even when we know, deep down, that change is sorely needed.
At Untapped we know that making real change, in individuals and across whole organisations, means staying with that discomfort and facing it. Our Accelerators, who work one-to-one with individuals across companies, are effective because they challenge as well as support. They gradually help our users peel back their defences and see what’s going on for them under the surface.
We all keep things hidden from others, but there are some things that we keep hidden from ourselves. And in the process of building self awareness we need to turn over those stones and have a peek at some of what’s beneath them. That’s a scary process but it’s also what makes real, deep change possible.
And that is where we started when designing our AI. We knew that AI could be a powerful tool to help us see the familiar patterns that we might not even be able to see in ourselves. Our AI was created with this in mind. It doesn’t soothe, comfort or give you more of the same content that you’ve liked in the past. And it definitely won’t attach you to someone that an algorithm has decided is a ‘good chemistry match.’
It is designed to tell the truth, to individuals and whole organisations - and it will show you things you probably will not recognise about yourself. And when we can see those patterns then we can begin to address the tricky problems in organisations that no amount of training or coaching seems to really deal with - whether that be in managing complex change, diversity and inclusion, or powerful leadership development.
So if we want to get into the uncertain, uncomfortable, honest mindset of truly building self awareness, then we’re going to have to come out of our comfort zones – starting with how we use AI.