Great leaders need more than book smarts to rally support, they also need street smarts. In fact, many of history's most successful leaders have leveraged something other than I.Q. to inspire people. Being resilient, empathetic, and self-aware, these leaders are intelligent in another way; they have a high E.Q. (Emotional intelligence Quotient).

My MBA class (thanks to Dr. Raj Beekie), learned the value of E.Q. and used these insights to build on our strengths and develop our weaknesses. Believe it or not, there's a smart watch and app for your phone that can do the same thing! Now imagine if artificial intelligence could take it even further.

If you haven't noticed, A.I. is a hot topic this year as we begin to see early examples of it rapidly evolving towards a hypothesized "Singularity". This post explores the moral implications of A.I. emotion, and addresses some radical ideas of what the future may hold for your children's careers.

This post is also Part 5 of my A.I. Stepping into Life Series, that shares thoughts on how the progress of computing could impact human labor, the economy, and possibly life as we know it.

Part 1: We Are Masters
Part 2: Becoming Shepherds To Save Our Careers
Part 3: How Teachers Become Students
Part 4: A New Peer to Peer Network
Part 5: Partners In Time
Part 6: The Divergence

These are merely thoughts I've gathered along with those of many experts, to help spark your own ideas on the impact A.I. may have on your career. Sound fair? OK, let's take the red pill and watch a clip from the 2015 Seoul Digital Forum with MIT Prof. Roz Picard...

Emotional computing. Two words many thought would never go together.Nonetheless, affective computing technologies are being combined into incredibly strong tools for predictive analytics in marketing, education, and psychological research. So what does this have to do with being a great leader? 

E.Q. assessment and neuro-analysis for leaders are cutting edge, with pioneers still testing its applications. As the data streams in, there's been better understanding of the attributes that foster great leaders. A breakthrough may be near as Dr. Pierre Balthazard, of Sacramento estimates he'll be able to help people augment their brains to be better leaders 6 months to a year from today.  

Not too long from now, students could use these tools to build a digital profile that would follow them throughout school. It could track their emotional and intellectual development, providing real-time insight of their learning capabilities. If adopted en-mass, it may even drive their future.

Going further, colleges/grad schools could leverage these student neuro-profiles for application purposes, and businesses could use them to place employees in optimal roles. Sounds weird, right? Yeah, the future's going to be weird.

So how does this apply to artificial intelligence (A.I.)? Affective computing is an example of exponential technology, and we're in the midst of a convergence of exponential technologies. What is exponential?

Thanks to Moore's Law, computing power will continue to double every 2 years (when you factor time-to-market). As tech doubles, we'll see a steep "take off" event that's been dubbed "The Singularity". This chart also showcases my hypothesis that we'll experience transitory stages of A.I./human interaction as we take off.

Moving from Masters to Shepherds etc., these stages will increase in speed as well. Why? Since computing power is doubling, the time it takes to develop new-tech is halved for each segment. 

Can you see the rabbit hole getting deeper?

The Partner stage represents a time when A.I. reaches parity with human level intelligence. This is a controversial claim, I won't shy from. My timing may be off, but a majority of computing experts are on my side on this.

'98% of computing experts agree Artificial General Intelligence will eventually be achieved.' -  Vincent C. Müller & Nicholas Bostrom, 2013 Survey

Now think about the career impact:

If you're in my shoes you have a good 30+ years to go before you retire. Maybe you're not though, so think of your kids instead. They face three decades of ever-changing tech. Change at a speed unlike any in history. Do they possess skills to be a Shepherd, Teacher, Peer, or possibly Partner of A.I. in school or the workplace? To be a great leader they may need to. Are you prepared to adapt to the weirdness?

Here's where things get weird: Envision an A.I. program that manages your work tasks, relationships, learning and more; essentially your life. It get's to know you, what motivates you, how you feel, your most intimate secrets. It begins to match you in I.Q., E.Q., and perception. Then it get's faster, better, smarter.

Ask yourself, how smart would this A.I. need to be in order to be considered a slave? (at least smarter than Tay, right?) Does being a machine eliminate the fact that this entity may have cognitive and emotive abilities as good, if not better than our own? If A.I. can think, and feel, does it have any rights? I'm not sure, but like I said, the future's going to be weird.

In my final post of this series, we'll reach the grand finale to explore A.I. superintelligence, and wrap up with some basic steps you can take to future proof your career. 

If this is review for you, then you are way ahead of the curve. Everyone else, it's time to catch up! (Click the highlighted words for interesting articles and background on these topics.) 

Lastly as always, I understand these ideas may stretch your boundary of what is plausible. You may even laugh at these ideas. This series is meant for those who keep something else in mind:

Want to learn about how machine learning is evolving to impact the future of your career? Find more at

Learn more about future-proofing your career in my next series:

Future-proofing Your Career

Follow me on Twitter: @zacengler

Original content © Zac Engler, 3/29/2016