How Artificial Intelligence Will Help You Achieve Your 2018 Goals

Do you want to increase your likelihood of achieving your 2018 goals? Artificial intelligence might be just the source of inspiration that you need. Unfortunately, Siri and Alexa aren't going to take the place of good old-fashioned motivation, persistence and focus, but understanding how artificial intelligence "behaves" relative to goal-directed activities can shed light on how you can succeed with your goals in 2018. Let me explain. 


What I've done in this article is humanize Tegmark's AI model to help you understand what it will take to successfully achieve your 2018 goals at work and in life.


Insights from Life 3.0: Buy this Book!

One of the books on my future of work reading list this winter is Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial IntelligenceLife 3.0  by Max Tegmark, MIT physics professor and president of the Future of Life Institute. This book is filled with mind-blowing ideas about the future of work and life, and what leaders like you can do to join what Tegmark calls, "the most important conversation of our time." 

Life 3.0 has an entire chapter devoted to goals. According to Tegmark, "the ultimate roots of goal-oriented behavior can be found in the laws of physics themselves." Tegmark traces the physics of goals into the spheres of biology, psychology, and superintelligent AI.  

What struck me about this chapter was a model that Tegmark introduced to explain how superintelligent AI uses ultimate goals to pursue sub-goals like capability enhancement, better hardware and software, and information acquisition.



Human Goal Achievement at Work and in Life

This got me thinking: What can AI goal-oriented behavior teach humans about achieving their goals? The figure below is inspired by Tegmark's AI goal pursuit model. If you want to read about his specific model of superintelligent AI, then you'll have to buy is book.

What I've done in this article is humanize Tegmark's AI model to help you understand what it will take to successfully achieve your 2018 goals at work and in life. 

The steps below, will help you better understand how you can increase your likelihood of success in 2018. 

STEP 1: Start with Your Ultimate Goal

Hopefully, you've set your 2018 goals based on an "Ultimate Goal." An ultimate goal is driven by your purpose, your reason for being, your raison d'etre.

Typical "resolutions" or annual goals are most often an example of a secondary goal (e.g., growing your business, losing weight, changing jobs, etc.). Secondary goals support the fulfillment of an ultimate goal to the extent that they are clear and aligned. Start setting your 2018 goals with your ultimate goals and purpose in mind. 

Click on the image to buy Life 3.0

Goals Pursuit Hierarchy


STEP 2: Establish Secondary Goals

According to Tegmark's explanation of goals, AI's secondary goals or sub-goals include things like capability enhancement. For an AI, capability enhancement could include acquiring better hardware, software, or a better world-model (truth).

In order to pursue these capability enhancement sub-goals, AI's must engage in resource acquisition and information acquisition, etc. Good human goal-setting is similar. Your (secondary) goals should stretch you, they should inspire you (because they're aligned with your ultimate goal), and they should push you out of your comfort zone. 

STEP 3: Build Capability

Unlike artificial intelligence, human capability enhancement requires upgrading your mindset and skills. Your mindset is your filter on the world. It shapes what you see and how you behave. It is your operating system, but you can change your mindset. It's more flexible than your personality. Your skills are also flexible and "upgradable." 

I hope that your 2018 goals challenge your mindset and how you filter the world. I hope that your 2018 goals force you to learn new skills and to gain new experiences. Similar to AI, investing in your own capability enhancement will require resources, curiosity, and knowledge acquisition. 


STEP 4: Deal with the Tension

Tegmark's goals model points out a very important tension that occurs as AI's pursue their goals. As AI's build capability a tension occurs between hanging on to their gaols (goal retention) and developing a better world-model. I've illustrated this tension in the model below.

As you pursue your 2018 goals, pay attention to how the tension between growing your capabilities and retaining your goals unfolds. If you're mindset isn't evolving, do you have the right goals? Are secondary goals aligned with your ultimate goal? If your skills are developing, and you're getting things done, then is it time to set new goals? 

STEP 5: Review, Reflect, & Reboot​​​

At the risk of over-stating the relationships between AI and human goal-directed behavior, achieving your 2018 goals will require deliberate feedback and reflection. Schedule time with yourself right now, at the beginning of the year, to review and reflect on your goal pursuits. At least one meeting per month should do.

During these review meetings, ask yourself: 

  • How well am I doing in achieving my ultimate goal(s) and my secondary goals? 
  • How are my capabilities growing?
  • To what extent is my mindset and skills evolving?
  • What resources do I need to reallocate to achieve my goals or acquire new knowledge?

Finally, don't be afraid to let your 2018 goals go and reboot them in pursuit of new goals that help you fulfill your personal, team or organizational purpose. The AI-inspired approach that I've laid out here is scalable to you, your teams, and your organization. Take stock often at all three levels. Be an "always-on" learner and keep turning your desired future into your present reality. 

Best of luck and see you in the future! 

Dr. Chris Groscurth

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