11 Things We Cannot Learn from AI

For those of us who were born decades before the home computer and internet revolutions, we’ve certainly watched our lives alter in dramatic ways. We have the advantage of knowing what life was like before and after having luxuries like cell phone service and Google Maps. Have a innate appreciation of how valuable a grainy flash camera photo from our childhood is and still treasure our local libraries.

While we certainly love reflecting on the nostalgia and have suffered the losses along the way, technology has enhanced our lives and opened up the global community in ways we never dreamed. Now, we’re on the brink of an AI tech explosion.

It makes one wonder what’s next. Are we ready for what’s next? And will AI really replace humans?

While AI has made significant advancements in various fields, there are still certain aspects of human knowledge and experience that are challenging for AI to fully grasp. Right now, we still need people! There are still plenty of things that we cannot learn from AI.

There are a plethora of doomsday articles. This is not one of them. It’s an article with a little bit of hope and one that I hope reminds us all how very special humans truly are.

Things that people currently cannot learn from AI:

Subjective personal experiences:

AI lacks the ability to truly understand and relate to the unique perspectives. It doesn’t have a unique environment, parents, or community that it was raised in aka the subjective experiences that shape an individual’s life. It also lacks the emotions that go along with these experiences and the ability to reflect and learn from life events.

The only one who can truly have a subjective personal experience for your life… is you!

Intuition and gut feelings:

Did you wake up knowing it was going to rain? Have you ever thought about a loved one only to have them call you seconds later? Did you shy away from a deal because you knew there was something off about it? An AI program may be able to predict the rain, predict the probability of who might call you when based on past records, or be able to assess a deal for its merits, but it currently doesn’t have that innate sixth sense we have.

AI operates based on algorithms and data analysis. Human intuition often involves a deep understanding and instinctive decision-making that goes beyond rational thinking.

Creativity and artistic expression:

The art work being produced by AI is stunning. However, while AI can generate art or music, it lacks the depth of human creativity.

Humans have an imagination and the ability to convey emotions through artistic expression. AI typically operates based on existing data and patterns, whereas human imagination allows for the creation of entirely new concepts, ideas, and possibilities. While AI may be capable of being programmed to teach art classes, it does not possess the ability to create the same artwork you may originate. A moment in your day may inspire your next artwork or a sign you see on the subway, this is something that is uniquely you.

Moral and ethical reasoning:

Should you tip the waiter who delivered poor service? Would it be better to tell your friend she looks great in her favorite color just to let her continue to experience the joy of wearing it? These are simple events we encounter hourly and make decisions based on our moral compass. AI can follow predefined rules and guidelines but lacks the ability to truly comprehend complex moral dilemmas and make value-based decisions.

AI also lacks the ability to contemplate abstract concepts, explore existential questions, and engage in philosophical discussions that are central to human intellectual pursuits. These are human characteristics that AI may offer some insights, history or advice on, but will not truly be able to see and decide from our personal perspective.

Spiritual or religious experiences:

On a similar note, AI does not possess the capacity for spiritual or religious experiences. This involves deep personal beliefs, faith, and connection to something greater than oneself.

Empathy and emotional intelligence:

There are plenty of people who speculate this is coming but AI is not quite there yet. AI may simulate empathy through pattern recognition, but it does not possess true empathy. True empathy involves understanding and sharing the emotions and experiences of others in an intimate way.

Physical sensations:

For most, our five senses guide us. Perhaps you have one sense that is no longer functional or some senses that are weaker than other, but AI cannot directly experience physical sensations like touch, taste, or smell, at all. These are all integral to our perception and understanding of the world around us.

If you’re not a good cook, it’s not likely AI will be able to tell you that. AI may know if you are off-pitch when singing, but will never truly know if your singing is still pleasing to listen to or not.

Contextual understanding:

Most of us give off subtle cues while having a conversation that indicate how we are feeling, if we like the person we are talking to, and even if we are lying. There are trained experts who can, within reason, deduce some of these. However, we’re all different in many ways and what may be a clear clue for you may not be true for someone else.

AI can process vast amounts of information, but it currently struggles to comprehend subtle nuances. Things like contextual cues and the broader shared collective significance of events or situations are most troublesome.

Personal growth and self-awareness:

AI does not have a sense of self or the ability to reflect on its own experiences like a human does. Nor can it read your mind to assess and reflect on yours. AI also is lacking in the ability to undergo personal growth and development in the same way a human does. For now, it’s likely best to stick with experts in the field for counseling and coaching.

Intimate relationships and human connection:

Don’t trade in your significant other just yet! The complexities of human relationships, such as love, friendship, and companionship, involve deep emotional bonds that are difficult for AI to replicate. AI may be able to talk or act like the “perfect” partner in the future, but the “true human” element will be missing.

Sense of humor:

AI can easily generate jokes. But, it struggles to grasp subtleties and nuances that make humor, well, humorous! Humor is highly subjective and often relies on plenty of subtleties like cultural references, wordplay, and irony.

These examples highlight some of the complex and multi-faceted nature of human existence which remain outside the realm of AI‘s capabilities. Do you agree these are things we cannot learn from AI? Are humans easier to copy than we think? What examples would you add?

Barb Webb. Founder and Editor of Rural Mom, is an the author of "Getting Laid" and "Getting Baked". A sustainable living expert nesting in Appalachian Kentucky, when she’s not chasing chickens around the farm or engaging in mock Jedi battles, she’s making tea and writing about country living and artisan culture.
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