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 Why Emotional IQ Is Prized in the ‘Smart Machine Age’

We’re on the cusp of a new era, led by artificial intelligence and deep learning. This so-called Smart Machine Age will lead to technology and robots outperforming humans in many tasks. This is bad news on the job front. In fact, research from the University of Oxford states there’s a high probability that 47%of jobs in the U.S. will be automated during the next 15 years. Further, based on that research along with independent research, the chief economist of the Bank of England predicts that the U.S. could lose upward of 80 million jobs during that time frame.
The key to staying employable in the Smart Machine Age is to further excel at what makes us unique as human beings - our real, not artificial, emotional and social intelligence.
The technology of the future, led by artificial intelligence and deep learning, will be able to outthink us in many ways. However, in the coming Smart Machine Age, our emotional intelligence will be the very factor that makes us unique and employable.
In the Smart Machine Age, you do not want to behave like a machine. As smart machines take over more jobs, the most successful people will be those who can leverage their emotions and the best of their humanness to think better, and be more creative, innovative, and collaborative.
Here are three steps that are key to mastering human emotions in order to be more successful in the Smart Machine Age:
1. Increase positivity. Positive emotions help us think and relate at our highest levels. Leading research by cognitive, social and positive psychologists, including Barbara Fredrickson and Alice Isen, shows that positive emotions enable and enhance cognitive processing, innovation, and creativity, and even lead to better judgment and decision-making. By contrast research has shown that negative emotions like fear and anxiety have the opposite effect. 
The strategy is two-pronged: one, generate plenty of positive emotions, and, two, stop allowing negative emotions to control your behavior and thinking.
2. Actively manage negative emotions. Examples of negative emotions are anger, fear, anxiety, dread and cruelty. Emotions usually last only 90 seconds unless you let them overtake you. You can let negative emotions float through your mind without engaging them. You are not your ideas, and you are not your emotions. You have a choice as to whether to engage with an emotion or not. And you have a choice as to whether you allow an emotion to be translated into a behavior.
One way to recognize when negative emotions are taking hold is to be very sensitive to physical changes that often accompany them. Then you should try to identify and label the emotion you’re feeling. You can learn to calm yourself by taking deep breaths and engaging your thinking to get to the root of the emotions and reflect on something more positive in your life.
3. Embrace the power of “Otherness.” Otherness is the ability to rise above our self-absorbed, ego-driven emotional defensiveness to connect to and emotionally relate with others. We can't reach our potential by ourselves. We need other people who can help us see past our cognitive biases and open our minds to new perspectives to think more critically, creatively and innovatively.
Our emotions - when properly cultivated - can propel us to the highest levels of human thinking and learning, and fuel our connections to others. To that end, smart technology may be smart indeed, but we should focus on being more emotionally and socially intelligent. Embrace positivity and excel at managing your emotions and otherness, because that’s what will help you thrive in the Smart Machine Age.
– Ed Hess and Katherine Ludwig
About the Author: Hess, edhltd.com, professor of business administration and Batten executive-in-residence at the Darden Graduate School of Business, and Ludwig, katherineludwig.com, are the authors of the book, Humility Is the New Smart: Rethinking Human Excellence in the Smart Machine Age.
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