The AI Dilemma: Prioritising real people in an increasingly automated world

As artificial intelligence (AI) continues to evolve, its integration into various aspects of our lives raises significant questions about the implications for humanity. One of the most pressing concerns is the potential for AI to overlook the nuanced needs and experiences of real people. This term, “real people,” refers to the diverse, multifaceted individuals who make up our society, each with unique backgrounds, cultures, emotions, and aspirations. Understanding and prioritising the well-being of real people is crucial as we navigate the delicate balance between leveraging AI for progress and preserving the human essence that defines us.

Defining ‘Real People’

Real people encompass a wide array of individuals from different walks of life. They are not merely data points or consumer profiles but are individuals with complex lives influenced by their cultural, social, and economic environments. Real people are characterised by their emotions, experiences, personal stories, and the human capacity for creativity, empathy, and critical thinking. They are the backbone of society, and their diverse perspectives and needs should be at the forefront of any technological advancement.

The risk of robots taking over

The fear of robots and AI taking over human jobs and roles is a common narrative in discussions about the future of work. This concern is not unfounded, as advancements in automation and AI-driven systems have already begun to replace certain tasks traditionally performed by humans.

The risk here is twofold:

  1. Economic displacement and
  2. Erosion of human skills.

As machines become more capable of performing tasks with greater efficiency, the demand for human labor in certain sectors diminishes, potentially leading to job loss and economic instability for many individuals.

Moreover, the increasing reliance on AI can result in a depreciation of human skills and creativity. When machines take over repetitive and analytical tasks, humans may lose opportunities to develop and exercise critical thinking, problem-solving, and creative abilities. This shift could lead to a society where individuals become overly dependent on AI, reducing their capacity to think independently and innovatively.

The Risk of Overusing AI

While the threat of robots physically taking over jobs is significant, a more insidious risk lies in the overuse of AI by humans, leading to a decline in creativity and independent thought. The pervasive use of AI in decision-making processes, content creation, and problem-solving can result in a homogenisation of ideas and solutions. When humans rely too heavily on AI-generated outputs, they may become less engaged in the creative process, trusting algorithms to provide answers instead of exploring diverse perspectives and innovative approaches.

This over-reliance on AI can make human thinking more robotic, as people begin to adopt the patterns and biases inherent in the algorithms they use. Creativity, which thrives on diversity of thought and experience, may be stifled as AI systems prioritize efficiency and conformity over novel ideas and unorthodox solutions.

The importance of traditional market and cultural research

To counterbalance the risks associated with AI, it is imperative to engage in traditional market and cultural research methodologies. Approaches such as ethnography, qualitative research, and other human-centric methods provide deep insights into the lives and experiences of real people. These methods prioritise understanding the context, emotions, and motivations behind human behavior, offering a richer, more nuanced perspective than data-driven AI models alone can provide.

Ethnography: This approach involves immersive observation and interaction with people in their natural environments. By understanding the cultural and social contexts in which individuals live, ethnography reveals the underlying values, beliefs, and practices that shape their behaviors and decisions.

Qualitative Research: Methods such as in-depth interviews, focus groups, and case studies allow researchers to explore individuals’ thoughts, feelings, and experiences. These insights are crucial for developing products, services, and policies that resonate with and meet the real needs of people.

By integrating these traditional research methods with AI, we can create a more holistic understanding of human experiences. This integration ensures that technological advancements are guided by empathy and a deep appreciation for the complexities of human life, ultimately fostering a future that enhances human well-being rather than diminishing it.


As we continue to develop and integrate AI into our lives, it is essential to remember that technology should serve humanity, not the other way around. Prioritising the needs and experiences of real people ensures that AI advancements enhance, rather than undermine, our creative and intellectual capacities. By combining the strengths of AI with the rich insights gained from traditional market and cultural research, we can navigate a future that values and uplifts the human spirit, ensuring a world that is better for humans, not robots.


(Ps. the hero image of this article is generated by ChatGPT, but we still feel images by real people such as our real people photographer Thomas are better.

Thomas McCammon is the artist behind the lens of Square Holes Real People


Share this: