Human or Robot?

Have you ever gone down the rabbit hole of videos that YouTube suggests for you?

I did just yesterday. It suggested I watch this video and other videos like it explaining the dangers of AI (artificial intelligence) and the pace at which AI is learning. It is learning at such a pace that “they” (you know, “them”, the “smart people” who create and modify this AI stuff) are discussing the need to install a failsafe to prevent a possible future scenario where the AI take over the world and get rid of us humans. (Who would have thought that the movies “I, Robot” and “Eagle Eye” foreshadowed this type of thing so accurately?!)

The funny thing is, that didn’t concern me as much as watching a snippet of what appears to be a meeting of government officials, hearing a man say “the biggest thing that I’ve seen that is absolutely…takes me to my core…is actually not so much about how human-like Ada [an AI human-looking robot] is, but how robotic we are. The algorithms that run our systems are extremely able to be analyzed and understood.” The narrator of the YouTube video goes on to say “I’ve also been surprised that so much research points to humans having the more predictable algorithms. But when we recognize them, we can change them.”

I’m not sure about you, but I do not want to be more “robot” than a robot!

What makes us like a “robot”?

A robot has programmed responses: the programer writes code that says when X happens, the robot responds with Y.

We humans, similarly, have programmed responses to life situations, a way we respond by default. We actually have choice in how we respond, but oftentimes we don’t even recognize those choices; we don’t see there is a different option. For example, when we are stuck in traffic, we typically default to something like impatience, anger, or rage, without knowing we don’t have to be that way. When we receive a compliment, we typically brush it off. When we think about our bank account, we typically feel it’s not enough. When we meet new people, we typically feel nervous. When something good happens to us, we typically feel we don’t deserve it. When something good happens to someone else, we typically get jealous.

But it doesn’t have to be this way! These are simply programmed responses.

If we want to be more human and less “robot”, that means we have to become more aware than we are now. We have to recognize our patterns and recognize our choices, and then we can change them.


Research in the area of “positive psychology” is showing us how.

University of Michigan researcher Barbara Fredrickson says, “Positive emotions…have the potential to broaden people’s habitual modes of thinking and build their physical, intellectual and social resources.”

So, not only do positive emotions feel good and decrease stress, they can help us be more aware of our patterns and choices.

In the ebook Overcoming Emotional Chaos, Doc Childre and Deborah Rozman wrote, “According to researchers, when you’re experiencing a negative emotion, the thoughts available to your mind are limited, yielding fixated and more predictable thinking and action. When you’re experiencing a positive emotion, a broader thought-action potential is called forth. Positive emotions produce patterns of thought that are notably unusual, flexible and inclusive, creative, and receptive, and lead to more creative action."

Experiencing positive emotions, such as appreciation, care, love, and empathy helps us move out of habitual patterns of the mind and brain and into the originality of the heart.

It is our hearts that makes us humans more “human” than robots.

I think we could all activate more positive emotion and be a little more “human” and little less “robot”.

What pattern of thinking are you programmed with?

What would happen if you brought in more positive emotion?

Here’s to conquering stress.

With heart,

The Stress Experts

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