This morning, while running, I thought about the AI and ChatGPT hype and how we’re rushing to embrace AI (without looking where we are going) across all aspects of work and life. My thoughts shifted to the wisdom and human intelligence we rarely discussed in the unglamorous industries such as plumbing, construction, agriculture, trucking, and Maritime – cargo and deep-sea fishing. Individuals working in these professions for twenty, thirty, forty, or more years possess more innate knowledge and experience than can possibly be coded into AI.
Because these individuals’ knowledge and experience are gained by doing and from this knowledge, they can detect subtleties that may cause problems such as how a minuscule shift in the wind or how the waves unexpectedly changed direction. Ship captains’ who have transverse the Atlantic and Pacific know that Mother Nature is always in control. A change in barometric pressure, a storm’s movement, or a rogue wave encounter will instantly change everything. For sword fishermen and fisherwomen, these sudden, unpredictable changes may determine if they catch anything or, in some cases, make it back home. For the trucking industry, veterans know when to break and not break (it’s not that simple, using this example for the post) with a load or empty trailer. Again, human intelligence combines thousands of experiences, nuances, and wisdom data points gained from millions of miles under their tires or ship hulls.
Human intelligence encompasses more than we understand or can conceptualize. Unfortunately, society tends to use specific skills as human intelligence benchmarks. When we discredit human intelligence, we do so at our own risk.