The Role of Humans in an AI World

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Wednesday, June 26, 2024
By leveraging human characteristics in the use of AI tools, business schools can equip students with job-ready skills. Here’s what to consider.
Featuring Ana Freire, Universidad Pompeu Fabra (UPF) and David De Cremer, Northeastern University
  • Now more than ever, b-school curriculum needs to complement technical skills with human creativity and other unique characteristics, to enhance the capabilities of both.
  • Business educators need to teach students how to think critically about employing AI to identify problems and interpret solutions, rather than allowing AI tools, such as ChatGPT, to determine what’s relevant.
  • A new value framework—based on critical thinking and purposeful analysis—can help guide business schools, and accordingly students, to more meaningful solutions.


Ana Freire: [0:15] In my view, AI will replace everything. There are some human characteristics that need to be in place always, such as creativity, or the natural intelligence, the common sense, and many other features inherent from human behavior.

[0:32] We just need to find the way in how to basically combine artificial intelligence and the most wonderful characteristics of human beings in order to multiply the effects that both parts can generate together.

[0:51] Higher education institutions have the responsibility to not just teach the technological content, which is behind artificial intelligence, but also soft skills like communication or critical thinking in order to give the future leaders the opportunity to decide or to augment their own capabilities in order to multiply the effects of artificial intelligence when it's needed.

[1:17] Because maybe not in all environments and in all tasks artificial intelligence will be needed in our work.

Higher education institutions have the responsibility to not just teach the technological content, but also soft skills like communication or critical thinking.

David De Cremer: [1:26] Creativity is seen as something uniquely human. If you look at what creativity is about, it's really finding new solutions to problems that are relevant and meaningful to us.

[1:37] If you use that definition and we apply it to generative AI like ChatGPT, we see that there are a number of skills that our educators should train. First of all, ChatGPT provides solutions, it generates solutions, but who phrases the question? A human.

[1:54] It's about identifying a problem and then specifying in a question. It generates something, but who interprets what is generated? A human as well, because it needs to be seen as meaningful and relevant to a human. These are two important skills.

[2:10] Identifying the question relates to use generative AI in a way that you push our students to think critically. What are the big business questions? What are the big questions in life that business can help? Those are the problems that we define.

[2:24] That's related to what we call prompt engineering as well. If you know the right question, do you also know how to prompt ChatGPT to come up with an answer that's relevant?

Prompt engineering is a good skill to have, but it's not the job of the future.

[2:35] Prompt engineering is not the job of the future, I must say. Some people think it still is the case, but you have to remember ChatGPT is probabilistic. It's not deterministic, which means sometimes even with the same prompt, it may generate a different answer.

[2:52] Prompt engineering is a good skill to have, but it's not the job of the future. The job of the future in my view, is much more looking at what has been generated when you ask the right kind of question. That's based on your own purpose, what kind of value you want to create.

[3:06] That's why critical thinking about what is it that I'm doing, what is the value of my business, is important because you interpret from that framework. What's going to be the job of the future is really a content analyst.

[3:17] As humans, we participate in the real world. AI doesn't, so we assess the relevance and the meaning of it, and we can do so because we are active participants.

[3:28] Being a content analyst, knowing this is an outcome that ChatGPT generated, how can I transfer that into knowledge that I can use to come up with a solution for a problem? Those are skills that as educators, we really need to foster and ChatGPT is a very helpful tool to help in that process.

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