Outmaneuvering AI: Cultivating Skills That Make Algorithms Scratch Their Head

By Miha Kralj

Once upon a time, in a not-so-distant past that didn’t require a Wi-Fi password, I was the reigning champion of the ‘Human Google’ league. Friends and family would flock to me, starry-eyed, with questions ranging from the existential (“Why is the sky blue?”) to the critically urgent (“What is the voltage in Japan”). I was like a living, breathing Wikipedia page, but with more personality and fewer requests for donations.

Then came the era of smartphones, and suddenly, my role as the go-to fact-finder was as outdated as a VHS tape at a Netflix evening. At parties, I watched in a mix of amusement and horror as my once awestruck audience now bowed their heads — not in reverence, but to worship at the altar of Google and Siri. There I was, ready to unveil the mysteries of the universe or at least the GDP of Luxembourg, only to be upstaged by a device small enough to fit in a pocket but powerful enough to hold the sum of human knowledge (and an unhealthy amount of cat videos).

This shift was more jarring than accidentally activating Alexa in a silent room. As my encyclopedic prowess took a backseat to the digital deity in everyone’s pocket, I realized I was witnessing the silent extinction of my beloved party trick. It was like being a skilled mapmaker in the age of GPS — nostalgic, but not particularly useful.

This tech-induced epiphany led me to a crucial question: In a future where AI might as well stand for ‘Actual Intelligence,’ what skills should I arm myself with? Skills that ensure I’m more than just a biological backup to a search engine? Skills that even the cleverest of algorithms would tip their virtual hats to, in a world where my brain needs to be more than just a storage unit for good algorithms, old poems, and forgotten Latin proverbs?

Navigating this brave new world, where AI often steals the spotlight and even my cats prefer YouTube over my laser pointer antics, I’ve come to realize the need for a skillset upgrade — a sort of mental software update, if you will. Enter the Fabulous Five: CreativityReasoningEmpathyResilience, and Metalearning. These aren’t just buzzwords I picked up from a trendy self-help book that doubles as a coaster on my coffee table. No, together they promise to transform us from mere spectators in the AI revolution to active, adaptable, and irreplaceable participants. So, buckle up and let’s embark on this skill-enhancing journey. After all, it’s not every day you get to future-proof yourself against an army of smarty-pants algorithms lurking from the future.


In the digital age, where algorithms predict our next pizza topping choice, creativity stands tall like a beacon of human uniqueness. It’s not just about painting a Mona Lisa or composing a Beethoven’s Fifth; creativity in the future skills context is about innovative thinking, problem-solving with a twist, and connecting dots that AI wouldn’t even realize are in the same universe. It’s the secret sauce that turns mundane into magnificent, ordinary into extraordinary.

Take, for instance, the way businesses reinvented themselves during the global pandemic. Restaurants turned into delivery powerhouses, gyms went virtual, and companies like Zoom became household names faster than you can say “mute yourself.” These weren’t just survival tactics; they were creative masterstrokes in response to unprecedented challenges.

So, how does one cultivate creativity? Start by embracing the ‘what ifs’ and the ‘why nots.’ Doodle on the edges of your meeting notes, daydream about solutions to everyday problems, or simply ask yourself, “How would a five-year-old tackle this?” And remember, creativity loves company. Collaborate with people from different backgrounds or fields. The fusion of diverse perspectives is like a creativity catalyst.

Applying creativity in future scenarios could mean designing more empathetic AI, developing sustainable technologies, or even finding novel ways to connect in an increasingly virtual world. It’s about seeing beyond the obvious, challenging the status quo, and daring to imagine a future that’s not just a linear upgrade from today but a kaleidoscope of possibilities. In a world where AI can crunch numbers and analyze data, creativity is the human touch that can turn data into stories, numbers into experiences, and challenges into opportunities.


Reasoning, the intellectual ninja of skills, is all about slicing through misinformation, assumptions, and biases to get to the heart of the matter. It’s not just drawing conclusions, but thinking about how we do that. This skill is the brain’s bouncer, keeping cognitive fallacies and hasty generalizations at bay. We humans, bless our hearts, are prone to jumping on the bandwagon or seeing patterns where there are none (like seeing a face on Mars or believing in hot streaks at Vegas). These mental shortcuts, or heuristics, can lead us astray, making reasoning not just useful but essential. AI is trained on our past reasoning reflected in old works. But it can’t reason on its own — at least not yet.

Consider a business deciding whether to invest in a new technology. Without proper reasoning, they might follow the hype (everyone else is doing it!) or rely on gut feelings (it just feels right!). But with reasoning, they dissect the decision, weigh the evidence, consider alternatives, and make a choice that’s not just good on paper, but good in reality.

To sharpen your reasoning, start by playing devil’s advocate with your own beliefs. Challenge your assumptions, ask for evidence, and be aware of your biases (yes, we all have them). Practice lateral thinking puzzles and engage in debates (friendly ones, please). And most importantly, cultivate curiosity. Ask ‘why’ more often than a two-year-old, and don’t take ‘because I said so’ for an answer.

In a world brimming with information (and misinformation), reasoning is the flashlight that helps us navigate through the fog of data, guiding us to make informed, rational, and ultimately, better decisions. It’s not about thinking more; it’s about thinking better. If we think better, AI will be trained better too.


Empathy, the emotional Einstein of interpersonal skills, is about understanding and sharing the feelings of others. It’s the glue that binds human connections, transcending mere transactions into meaningful interactions. In a world where machines can mimic emotions but can’t genuinely feel them, empathy is our distinctly human superpower. It’s what separates a heartfelt hug from an automated “Your call is important to us” message. Even for those who feel they’re on the asocial side of the spectrum, empathy is crucial. It’s not about being a social butterfly; it’s about understanding and respecting the emotional landscapes of others.

Imagine a leader navigating a team through a crisis. Without empathy, they might focus solely on the attained KPIs, disregarding the team’s morale. But with developed empathy, they understand the stress and anxiety of their team, leading with compassion, which in turn fosters loyalty, cooperation, and a harmonious work environment.

To enhance empathy, start by actively listening. Not just waiting for your turn to speak, but truly hearing what others are saying. Practice putting yourself in others’ shoes, especially those who think and act differently from you. Read fiction widely and diversely — literature is a window into the minds and hearts of others. And don’t forget to reflect on your own feelings; understanding yourself is a key step in understanding others.

In personal and professional life, empathy can transform relationships, negotiations, and leadership. It’s about creating an environment where everyone feels heard, valued, and understood. In a world increasingly run by algorithms and data, empathy is our touch of humanity, reminding us that behind every email, every transaction, and every interaction, there’s a human being.


Resilience, the mental equivalent of a bouncy ball, is the art of bouncing back from life’s curveballs with a little more ‘oomph’ each time. It’s about adapting to change, overcoming setbacks, and emerging stronger and wiser. In the relentless marathon of life, where change is the only constant, resilience is your personal trainer, keeping your mental muscles flexed and ready. This isn’t just about avoiding a stumble; it’s about knowing how to pick yourself up, dust off, and keep going. By building resilience, we not only dodge the potholes of despair and mental fatigue but also pave a smoother road to mental well-being.

Consider the story of any successful entrepreneur (pick one, they all have the same tale to tell). Their journey is often a saga of failures, rejections, and setbacks, but what sets them apart from mere mortals is their resilience. They view failures not as dead-ends, but as stepping stones, lessons to learn from, not to lament over.

So, how does one become the Rocky Balboa of mental resilience? Start by embracing challenges as opportunities for growth. Cultivate a positive mindset; think of it as mental sunscreen, protecting you from the scorching rays of negativity. Build a support network — humans are social creatures, and having a cheer squad can make all the difference. And don’t forget self-care. Sometimes, resilience is about knowing when to rest, recharge, and indulge in some good old TLC (Tender Loving Care, not the ’90s band, though their music might help too).

Resilience is about writing your own comeback stories, those where you’re the hero who overcomes the odds. It’s not just surviving the storm; it’s learning to dance in the rain, even if you have two left feet.


Learning How to Learn” is the Swiss Army knife of skills in our cognitive toolkit, essential for navigating the labyrinth of an ever-evolving world. It’s not just about accumulating knowledge; it’s about understanding how you absorb, process, and apply information effectively. This meta-skill turns us into lifelong learners, equipped to adapt to new challenges and technologies that haven’t even hit our news feeds yet.

Look at the rapid evolution of tech skills. Once, knowing how to fix a printer paper jam was the height of office heroism. Now, we need to navigate cloud computing and AI. Those who have mastered metalearning keep pace with these changes, continuously updating their skillset like a smartphone app. Organizations that foster this skill are like educational chameleons, constantly adapting to market changes and technological advancements, giving them a competitive edge in the innovation race.

Developing the metalearning skill hinges on tapping into a blend of strategies tailored for the digital age. It’s about scouting for and leaning on credible sources, linking new information to what you already know, and engaging in relational reasoning — comparing and contrasting new concepts with familiar ones. Adopting methods to gauge your learning progress is key, be it through self-quizzing, seeking guidance from a mentor, or observing the results of applying your new knowledge. Sharing and discussing your learnings with others not only reinforces your understanding but also broadens your perspective. Equally important is keeping your finger on the pulse of emerging trends and developments. This multifaceted approach to learning ensures you’re not just absorbing information but truly integrating it into a dynamic, ever-growing framework of understanding.

In a world where change is the only constant, metalearning is not just a skill; it’s a survival strategy. It’s about staying curious, adaptable, and always ready for the next big thing — even if it’s something as mind-boggling as quantum teleportation (hey, you never know!).


As we hurtle towards a future where your fridge might remind you to buy milk or your toaster could tweet about its existential crisis, one thing is crystal clear: adapting our skillset isn’t just a good idea, it’s a survival tactic. Creativity, Reasoning, Empathy, Resilience, and Metalearning aren’t just fancy buzzwords to throw around at parties to sound smart (though they could be a hit at nerdy gatherings). They are the essential gears in our mental toolbox, helping us keep pace with a world that’s changing faster than a teenager’s TikTok feed.

As we teeter on the tightrope between today and the tech-tastic tomorrow, it’s time to take a hard look in the mirror and ask: “How am I gearing up my mental toolkit to not just survive but thrive in this fast-forward future?” It’s about embracing these skills like your favorite comfort food on a bad day. Remember, the future isn’t some sci-fi movie that we just watch with popcorn in hand; it’s a DIY project, and we’re all holding the hammer (or the keyboard, more likely).

So, as you plot your course through this digital jungle, think about how you’ll jazz up those skills. Who knows, one day you might just be schooling AI in the fine art of being beautifully, chaotically, wonderfully human. Now, wouldn’t that be something to post about, hashtag #HumanTeachesRobot?