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AI Needs EI: It’s About the People 

In November of 2022 when OpenAI launched ChatGPT (Chat Generative Pre-Trained Transformer), an AI technology that lets users ask questions and receive humanlike responses, many early adopters and influencers were quick to try it out and use it in their work. When it comes to technology, I admit that I’m one of those middle-majority adopters. I want others to check it out and work out all the bugs before I get into it. So, I just recently put AI to the test, spurred on by a colleague who described how it was helpful to him.  

I’d been working on projects for several clients over the past few days, and in addition to researching and developing my own material, I entered various commands to see what it produced. The results were amazing! 

What about the people? 

Right now, leaders in organizations and educational institutions are figuring out how best to leverage AI both ethically and functionally, and frankly determining the degree to which it can replace or reduce the need for people performing certain tasks. It’s both an exciting and scary question. And yet, AI only exists because humans review and label data, build software and create models. It shifts the required skill sets and business processes, in ways that are still evolving.  

Thinking about the value that people add to organizations, I asked ChatGPT to give me a comparison of artificial intelligence and emotional intelligence (EI). (The result is at the end of this article.) If technology can replicate the thought process of humans, I wondered how it addresses emotional intelligence.

As I reviewed the responses, I received from my ChatGPT queries, I also made a few observations. 


There’s a saying, “Garbage in, garbage out.” The answers are only as good as the questions asked. In every situation, you must provide appropriate perspective and evaluate whether the output is suitable. You can add context to your query to improve the results, but it’s all highly situational, and well-developed emotional intelligence is important. 


Humans explain and make meaning of information based on nuances, environments, emotions, history and more. The same information can have different meanings for different people. And while technology can “learn” after the fact, how well can it interpret the variety of human responses? 


The site disclaimer says that ChatGPT is sometimes wrong. We’ve already heard multiple news reports of people who used AI to write reports, legal briefs or other documents, only to later find that the information provided was incorrect or ‘hallucinated’ (entirely made-up). AI is frequently used in the “chat” feature of business websites. ChatGPT provides accurate responses to my questions about half the time. The rest of the time, I’m frustrated. 


ChatGPT can prepare well-written documents. However, there’s value in individuals learning how to structure a document, developing the flow of communication and conducting research to understand what information is important, relevant, related and adjacent to the topic at hand. The very process of exploration can generate additional ideas as well as strengthen information in your memory. 


By now you may be asking whether I’ll use ChatGPT to write my monthly leadership insights. The answer is no. For me, sharing learnings with my readers connects to my passion. I get inspired by conversations with others, which leads to topics that I write about. (Thanks to another colleague for the idea to write about AI.) I enjoy the process of creating something new and sharing it in my voice. Yes, sometimes my brain freezes when a deadline is looming, but when I finally get that inspiration, my spirit leaps.  

Test AI: it’s all about the people

AI technology will improve in the future, and we’ll all be able to increasingly use it in a variety of ways. But the uniqueness of emotional intelligence remains unparalleled in fostering genuine human connections. Organizations must integrate EI to effectively manage AI applications. Even in the realm of technology, it is still all about the people. 

And just in case you’re wondering, here’s ChatGPT’s comparison of AI and EI:

AI (Artificial Intelligence) and EI (Emotional Intelligence) are two distinct concepts, each with its own set of characteristics and implications. 

1. Definition: 

  • AI (Artificial Intelligence): AI refers to the development of computer systems that can perform tasks that typically require human intelligence. These tasks include learning, reasoning, problem-solving, understanding natural language, and perception. 
  • EI (Emotional Intelligence): EI, on the other hand, is a measure of one’s ability to recognize, understand, manage, and effectively use emotions in oneself and others. It involves empathy, self-awareness, social skills, and emotional regulation. 

2. Nature: 

  • AI: It is a form of machine intelligence that relies on algorithms, data, and computing power. It is designed to mimic cognitive functions. 
  • EI: It is a human trait related to social and emotional skills that enable effective communication, collaboration, and interpersonal relationships. 

3. Functionality: 

  • AI: Focuses on tasks traditionally requiring human intelligence, such as problem-solving, decision-making, language translation, and image recognition. 
  • EI: Focuses on understanding and managing emotions, both in oneself and in others, to navigate social situations effectively. 

4. Decision-Making: 

  • AI: Makes decisions based on programmed algorithms and data, without emotional considerations. 
  • EI: Involves considering emotions and interpersonal dynamics when making decisions. 

5. Learning: 

  • AI: Learns from data and experiences, improving its performance over time through machine learning algorithms. 
  • EI: Involves personal growth and learning through experiences, self-reflection, and feedback from social interactions. 

6. Context: 

  • AI: Primarily used in technological and computational contexts, often for automation and efficiency. 
  • EI: Primarily used in interpersonal and social contexts, influencing communication, teamwork, and leadership. 

7. Ethical Considerations: 

  • AI: Raises ethical concerns related to privacy, bias, accountability, and the potential impact on employment. 
  • EI: Emphasizes ethical behavior, empathy, and social responsibility in personal and professional relationships. 

8. Independence: 

  • AI: Operates independently of human emotions and consciousness. 
  • EI: Depends on human self-awareness, consciousness, and the ability to manage emotions effectively. 

AI and EI represent different facets of intelligence and capabilities. AI is associated with computational tasks, automation, and problem-solving, while EI is associated with human emotions, interpersonal skills, and social intelligence. Both can complement each other, as a balance of technological and emotional intelligence is often crucial for effective decision-making and collaboration in various fields.

Still uncertain about AI? Learn to embrace your uncertainty in this article.

About the author

Priscilla Archangel

Priscilla Archangel, Ph.D. is a seasoned leadership consultant, executive coach, author, speaker, and teacher. She has a passion for developing leaders, and motivating individuals and organizations to align their values, behaviors and goals with their purpose. Visit priscillaarchangel.com.

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