7 Unique Human Abilities To Lean On To Be AI Proof

Start With What Makes Humans Unique To Do What Can AI Not Do

Thinking about how to keep your career AI-proof?

You're not alone.

Because AI, or I should say, “humans using AI,” are making A LOT of jobs unnecessary.

In the post, we will start from square one by looking at what makes us humans unique.

Below, I’ve compiled a list of unique human abilities that AI cannot do.

But first…

Quick Backstory

After writing a post about the “4 Future-Proof Skills for Jobs AI Can't Replace”, I realized I missed a step.

I realized I had missed “natural abilities” and had them intertwined with “skills.” They need to be separate because they are different.

  • Natural abilities are traits that are hardwired in humans.

  • Skills, on the other hand, we can learn, measure, and accumulate throughout our lives (more on skills below).

While going through this process of future-proofing ourselves, I think it’s super important to start with natural abilities to know where we stand.

Then, we have a measuring stick to help us determine whether or not and to what extent something we’re working on is AI-proof.

The Ultimate Goal

The goal of defining and listing our abilities is to…

  • Nurture high-leverage skills - Spend as little time working on skills that are easily replaced.

  • Give us a reliable measuring stick - I’m a big believer in the phrase, “You manage what you measure.” A solid list of AI-proof abilities and skills gives us a quick reference to judge whether or not we’re wasting our time.

  • Provide a First Principles Foundation - We need a good foundation based on solid principles. First principles are the raw material we work with to build things. They will give us ultimate ownership and control over the quality of what we’re building (i.e. AI Proof careers).

First Principles Example:

A famous example of First Principles thinking is one Elon Musk described when sourcing batteries for Tesla’s. Having batteries manufactured by someone else costs more, gives them less control over quality, and puts them at the mercy of potential supply chain disruptions.

But when they looked into what the raw materials would cost (lithium, nickel, cobalt, etc), they realized they could order them individually, make the batteries cheaper and faster, and avoid one extra step in the supply chain.

On top of that, they could use their newfound battery knowledge in other products to increase their bottom line.

Now, let’s list the raw material for making us AI-proof humans…

Our Natural Abilities AI Can’t Do

Here’s a list I came up with the help of ChatGPT, Perplexity, and my research, watching lots of videos and reading looks of books and articles:

  1. Emotional Understanding/Empathy

  2. Creative Thinking

  3. Ethical Reasoning

  4. Adaptability

  5. Skillful Touch

  6. Social Skills/Leadership

  7. Intuition/Gut Feeling

Let’s expand on those a little:

1. Emotional Understanding/Empathy: We can truly feel and understand emotions, not just recognize patterns or mimic responses like AI. We connect on a deep, emotional level, understanding the subtleties of feelings in ourselves and others.

Here are some examples of tasks associated with this ability:

  • Online counseling or virtual therapy, providing emotional support and understanding through digital platforms.

  • Mediation in conflicts where understanding the emotional dynamics between parties is key.

  • Customer service roles that require a personal touch, especially in handling sensitive or emotionally charged situations.

2. Creative Thinking: While AI can generate ideas based on existing data, we can think outside the box, inventing completely new concepts and solutions that have never been seen before. Drawing inspiration from emotions and experiences in ways AI can't replicate.

Here are some examples of tasks associated with this ability:

  • Digital marketing strategy, devising innovative campaigns that connect with human emotions and use creative narratives.

  • Writing books, poems, or creating artwork that conveys deep personal experiences or new perspectives.

  • UI/UX design, creating intuitive and aesthetically pleasing user interfaces that require an understanding of human behavior and preferences.

3. Ethical Reasoning: We have a sense of right and wrong based on societal values and personal feelings, guiding our decisions and actions in complex, nuanced ways that AI, which follows programmed instructions, doesn't grasp.

Here are some examples of tasks associated with this ability:

  • Managing data privacy and ethical issues in companies, ensuring that user data is handled responsibly and ethically.

  • Policy-making roles where considerations about societal impacts, ethics, and human values are paramount.

  • Medical ethics roles where decisions about patient care, consent, and moral dilemmas are frequent.

4. Adaptability: We are remarkably good at adjusting to new situations and learning from them. We can handle unexpected changes and challenges on the spot, something AI struggles with unless specifically programmed to do so.

Here are some examples of tasks associated with this ability:

  • Emergency response roles, like firefighting or paramedics, where rapid adaptation to unpredictable situations is crucial.

  • Event management, where real-time problem-solving is necessary to handle unforeseen issues.

  • Roles in dynamic environments (like startups) where strategies and roles frequently change and adaptability is key.

5. Skillful Touch: In tasks requiring manual dexterity and the subtle manipulation of objects, humans excel. Our fine motor skills and tactile feedback capabilities are far beyond what current AI and robotics can achieve.

Here are some examples of tasks associated with this ability:

  • Surgeons and dentists who require precise, manual dexterity and tactile feedback.

  • Craftsmen or artists working with materials that require a delicate touch, like sculpting, painting, or jewelry making.

  • Professions requiring fine repair work, such as watchmaking or restoration of artworks.

6. Social Skills/Leadership: We are naturally social beings and can navigate complex social interactions with empathy, subtlety, and understanding. We inspire, motivate, and guide others by forming genuine connections and understanding complex group dynamics, a nuanced skill beyond AI's capabilities.

Here are some examples of tasks associated with this ability:

  • Sales positions where building a rapport with clients and understanding their unspoken needs leads to success.

  • Diplomacy or international relations roles where cultural sensitivity and interpersonal skills are key.

  • Online teaching, coaching or personal development services that require the ability to connect with, inspire, and motivate people on a personal level.

7. Intuition/Gut Feeling: We can make decisions based on intuition — a deep, instinctive feeling rather than a logical analysis. This allows for rapid decision-making in complex situations where AI would need to methodically analyze data and might still not reach a conclusion.

Here are some examples of tasks associated with this ability:

  • Executive leadership roles where strategic decisions often rely on a mix of experience, instinct, and incomplete information.

  • Investment or trading positions where intuition about markets or trends plays a role in decision-making.

  • Digital media buying, where instincts about audience behavior and content performance guide purchasing decisions.

  • Creative direction in fields like fashion, film, or digital advertising, where trends and tastes are intuitive and not always data-driven.

(By the way, if I missed any or any one of these is wrong, let me know in the comments).

Stick to work involving those, and you’ll dramatically increase the odds you’ll be AI-proof and be more valuable in the market place.

Your Next Step

You’ll see the skills you should nurture to be more AI-proof and the three places where you should invest your time.

Before you go…

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