It’s Not a Zero-Sum Game

It’s Not a Zero-Sum Game

By Dr. John W. Mitchell


When AI (artificial intelligence) first emerged, reactions varied widely. Some were excited by its potential to revolutionize industries and improve lives, while others were apprehensive about job displacement and the implications of machines emulating human intelligence. There was a mix of enthusiasm, curiosity, and concern about the unknown capabilities surrounding AI.

Then Chat GPT appeared, and there was again a mix of fascination and curiosity. People were amazed by its ability to generate human-like text and hold conversations that seemed remarkably natural at times. However, there was also a fair bit of skepticism and caution about its limitations and the potential consequences of using such advanced language models. Overall, though, it sparked both excitement and questions about the future of AI-driven interactions.

The advancements of both has led to some uneasiness. People are panicking about AI taking over their jobs. We do not need to fear this (just yet). Robots are not taking over. As a matter of fact, new roles are emerging in fields like AI development and data collaboration. I have talked about this in previous blogs, whereby people are concerned because of potential job displacement, changes in their roles, and the uncertainty surrounding job security; they are concerned that they are replaceable.  While yes, everyone is probably considered replaceable, I do not think we should be worried about being replaced by AI.

Humans will continue to play a significant role for the foreseeable future. There is most definitely still a future for humans in the workforce. There always will be. While there are many articles, concerns, and much banter about AI replacing humans in the workplace, we still have the upper hand.  AI and people in the workforce are simply not always interchangeable. What AI may do is to take the repetitive jobs, the jobs that are capable of being handled by a machine.  And this is not necessarily a bad thing.  Think about the possibilities this may lead us to, the opportunities this will open for us.

Some view the world as a zero-sum game (meaning for every win, there must be an equal loss). I do not. And I believe  that when we think about human capacity and capability, it is also not a zero-sum game. I prefer Carol Dweck’s perspective—a growth mindset. For example, Dweck states that, “In a growth mindset, challenges are exciting rather than threatening. So rather than thinking, oh, I’m going to reveal my weaknesses, you say, wow, here’s a chance to grow.”[1]  This way of thinking actually allows us to think of AI advancement as an opportunity.  Embrace it! This advancement could free us up to look at all we do in a different way. “Mindset change is not about picking up a few pointers here and there. It’s about seeing things in a new way. When people…change to a growth mindset, they change from a judge-and-be-judged framework to a learn-and-help-learn framework. Their commitment is to growth, and growth take plenty of time, effort, and mutual support.”[2] This growth mindset can be a catalyst for positive change on a global scale.

All of our lives, we have looked at life with a winner take all attitude. This may create a divisive environment, and it overshadows the teamwork and shared success.  In addition, it also puts an immense amount of pressure on individuals and can develop burnout and unhealthy competition. This leads to the realization that we are not TAKING CARE of anything.  As Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler says in their book, Abundance, “Abundance is not about providing everyone on this planet with a life of luxury—rather it’s about providing all with a life of possibility.”[3] The authors believe that with our growing technologies, it will enable us to make greater gains in the next two decades than we have in the previous two hundred years. We will soon have the ability to meet and exceed the basic needs of every man, woman, and child on the planet. Abundance for all is within our grasp.

We have been given an opportunity to make the world a better place.  Every day, we have this same opportunity, and what to we do with it?  Years ago, nobody sat around and played with apps or had smart phones. Well, we do that all the time now. Some of it is to our betterment, some of it is not. Poverty levels across the globe are at the lowest they have ever been. Why is that? Well, because people have a chance, have an opportunity to work on these things. And we are working to make it so this globe is a less impoverished place.

I challenge you to have that growth mindset.  Continually working on your mindset, continually working on your business, continually growing your workforce is the recipe for success. Stretch yourself, as Dweck says, “The passion for stretching yourself and sticking to it, even (or especially) when it’s not going well, is the hallmark of the growth mindset. This is the mindset that allows people to thrive during some of the most challenging times in their lives.”[4] Clear goal setting, when aligned with a growth mindset, provides a structured approach to personal development and setting clear goals  fosters determination to achieve them.  If we can make small consistent actions that can ripple outwards, we can indeed make the world a better place!

[1] Carol Dweck, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, Ballantine, Reprint edition, 2007.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler, Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think,  Free Press, 2012.

[4] Dweck.