Social Quotient: the Edge for Human Supremacy in the AI Age

the edge for human supremacy in the AI age

By Srinath Sridharan

The future of leadership must strike a balance between human and AI intelligence, where humans enhance their emotional and social intelligence. Social quotient (SQ) emerges as a crucial metric for human interaction and cooperation in an AI-dominated world, emphasising the value of empathy, communication, and collaboration.

The AI age presents humanity with unprecedented opportunities and challenges. To make humans relevant in this era, we must nurture a new form of leadership that embraces human traits like emotional intelligence, creativity, and adaptability. We must also prioritise social justice, consider the broader human-race context, and navigate singularity fears with ethical responsibility.

The rapid advancement of artificial intelligence (AI) and emerging technologies is ushering humanity into a new era. While these innovations promise unprecedented progress and efficiency, they also bring forth existential questions about the role of humans in this AI-dominated future. To remain relevant and maintain a harmonious society, it is crucial to cultivate and embrace a new form of leadership, one that recognises the intrinsic value of human traits, addresses social justice, and navigates the singularity fears.

The rise of AI has led to concerns about the displacement of human labour, causing apprehension among the workforce. As machines increasingly take over repetitive and even complex tasks, there is a growing fear of humans becoming obsolete. This fear is not unfounded, as some experts predict that the singularity – a hypothetical point where AI surpasses human intelligence – could reshape the world as we know it. However, it is essential to understand that AI, no matter how advanced, lacks the qualities that make humans unique.

Human traits, such as creativity, empathy, and adaptability, are not only capable of facing AI-induced challenges but are essential for overcoming them.

Slowing down AI development won’t necessarily solve human fears or insecurities. The rapid advancement of AI is an inevitable aspect of technological progress, and attempting to halt it may even impede potential benefits. Instead, addressing these concerns requires a focus on ethics, governance, and education.

Human traits, such as creativity, empathy, and adaptability, are not only capable of facing AI-induced challenges but are essential for overcoming them. Creativity allows us to innovate and find novel solutions to complex problems. Empathy enables us to navigate the human dimensions of AI, ensuring that its development and deployment align with our values and well-being. Adaptability empowers us to evolve alongside AI, leveraging its capabilities while preserving the core principles that define our society. Human traits are not threatened by AI but rather provide the foundation for us to thrive in an AI-augmented world. To secure our relevance in the AI age, we must leverage these qualities to adapt and excel in new ways.

Embracing Human Traits

Embracing Human Traita

  • Emotional intelligence: One of the primary traits that set humans apart from AI is emotional intelligence (EQ). Humans have the capacity to understand, interpret, and respond to the emotions of others. In a world where AI dominates tasks, empathetic leadership will be invaluable for fostering positive relationships and maintaining social cohesion.
  • Creativity: While AI can analyse data and perform calculations, it struggles with creative thinking and innovation. Human leaders must harness their creative potential to solve complex problems, develop novel ideas, and envision a future that aligns with human values.
  • Ethical decision-making: Human leaders must take the responsibility for ensuring that AI technologies are developed and used in ways that promote social justice and equity. This requires a deep understanding of the ethical implications of AI and a commitment to making morally sound decisions.
  • Adaptability: Humans have an innate ability to adapt to new situations and learn from experience. In a rapidly evolving technological landscape, adaptable leaders who can embrace change and guide their organisations through uncertainty will be invaluable.

The rise of AI raises intriguing questions about the balance between human intelligence (IQ) and emotional intelligence (EQ) in leadership. AI has already demonstrated remarkable capabilities in terms of data processing, pattern recognition, and problem-solving. In many specific tasks, AI systems can outperform humans, potentially leading to concerns that AI may surpass human IQ in various domains.

While AI excels in specific tasks, it lacks general intelligence and the ability to understand complex, multifaceted issues. Human leaders bring a holistic perspective, critical thinking, and the ability to navigate ambiguity, making them essential for high-level decision-making.

The increasing automation of jobs through AI and robotics can lead to job displacement. This raises concerns about unemployment and economic inequality, potentially affecting the emotional well-being of individuals.

Over-reliance on AI for decision-making may lead to a decline in human critical-thinking skills. Humans may become overly dependent on AI recommendations, potentially diminishing their problem-solving abilities.

AI can complement human intelligence by processing vast amounts of data quickly and accurately. This can lead to more informed decision-making and problem-solving, amplifying human cognitive abilities.

AI can assist in augmenting emotional intelligence. For instance, AI-driven sentiment analysis can help leaders better understand public sentiment, customer feedback, and employee engagement. This data can inform empathetic leadership and decision-making.

While AI can provide data on emotions and sentiments, human leaders must ensure that they don’t become emotionally detached or overly reliant on data. Emotionally intelligent leadership involves empathy, active listening, and understanding the human context beyond data.

The future of leadership in the AI era is likely to involve a delicate balance between human intelligence (IQ and EQ) and AI-driven capabilities. While AI can enhance IQ and EQ in certain ways, the key is responsible and thoughtful integration. Leaders must continue to develop their cognitive and emotional skills while leveraging AI as a valuable tool for informed decision-making. In this symbiotic relationship, humans can harness AI’s capabilities to become more effective and empathetic leaders, addressing complex challenges and opportunities in the evolving landscape.

In the AI age, the concept of social quotient (SQ) emerges as a vital metric to gauge an individual’s ability to interact effectively and empathetically with other living beings. SQ reflects a person’s capacity to build meaningful relationships, understand diverse perspectives, and navigate complex social dynamics. This metric becomes essential because, as AI takes on more tasks, humans must excel in areas where machines fall short – connecting with one another, fostering cooperation, and nurturing the social fabric of society. SQ underscores the importance of empathy, communication, and collaboration as critical skills for individuals and leaders alike, ensuring that the human touch remains central in a world increasingly influenced by artificial intelligence.

The increasing automation of jobs through AI and robotics can lead to job displacement. This raises concerns about unemployment and economic inequality, potentially affecting the emotional well-being of individuals.

The importance of social quotient lies in its role as a counterbalance to the expanding role of AI in our lives. In an era where technology can sometimes foster isolation and disconnection, SQ reminds us of the profound value of human-to-human interactions. It promotes the development of empathy, cultural understanding, and interpersonal skills, all of which are crucial for building inclusive, harmonious communities and addressing complex global challenges. By placing a premium on SQ, we ensure that the qualities that make us uniquely human – our capacity for compassion, cooperation, and ethical decision-making – remain at the forefront of our efforts to navigate the evolving landscape of the AI age. In a landscape where intelligence is augmented by machines, it’s our emotional and social intelligence that define human ascendancy, reaffirming the enduring value of humanity in the AI era.

Self-awareness is the cornerstone of a high SQ, and it is essential for fostering positive relationships and enriching our interactions with others. By understanding our own emotions, biases, and behaviours, we gain the ability to navigate social situations with empathy and authenticity. Self-awareness allows us to recognise how our actions impact those around us, enabling us to make conscious choices that contribute positively to our social environments. It’s the compass that guides us toward meaningful connections, deeper understanding, and ultimately, a more harmonious and compassionate society where individuals with high SQ thrive.

Humans can mitigate and avoid conflicts by harnessing their social quotient. High-SQ individuals are adept at understanding the perspectives of others, empathising with their emotions, and practising effective communication. By actively listening, acknowledging diverse viewpoints, and seeking common ground, they can build bridges of understanding and cooperation, preventing conflicts from escalating. Moreover, individuals with strong SQ skills excel in conflict resolution, using their emotional intelligence and interpersonal finesse to find harmonious solutions that honour the needs and concerns of all parties involved. In a world driven by diverse opinions and cultures, SQ acts as a powerful tool for conflict prevention, fostering empathy and fostering peaceful interactions.

Collective development of SQ is indeed possible and, in fact, highly beneficial. While SQ encompasses individual interpersonal skills and emotional intelligence, it also thrives within the context of social groups and communities. As individuals collectively work towards improving their social interactions, communication, and empathy, the entire group benefits. Through shared experiences, open dialogue, and mutual support, communities can foster an environment where the development of SQ is encouraged and celebrated. This collective approach not only strengthens relationships within the group but also ripples outward, contributing to a more empathetic and socially intelligent society as a whole. Thus, SQ development is both an individual and collective endeavour, with the potential to elevate humanity collectively. Here are some key aspects of why SQ is important in the AI age.

Emphasis on collaboration: In a world increasingly driven by AI, collaboration becomes more critical than ever. Whether it’s working on cross-functional teams, cooperating with international partners, or engaging in multicultural environments, individuals with a high SQ can foster collaboration, resolve conflicts, and drive collective success.

Effective leadership: Leaders with a high SQ can inspire and motivate their teams, cultivating an environment of trust, respect, and open communication. They can understand the needs and concerns of their team members and make decisions that consider the well-being of the group.

Cultural competence: In a globalised world, cultural understanding is paramount. Individuals with a strong SQ can navigate cultural differences, show respect for diverse perspectives, and avoid misunderstandings that can hinder progress or cooperation.

key aspects of why SQ is important in the AI age

  • Empathy and compassion: Empathy is at the heart of SQ. It enables individuals to understand and share the feelings of others, fostering deeper connections and more meaningful relationships. In healthcare, customer service, education, and countless other fields, empathy is invaluable.
  • Conflict resolution: SQ equips individuals with the skills to handle conflicts constructively. They can mediate disputes, find common ground, and seek win-win solutions. This is crucial for maintaining harmony in both personal and professional relationships.
  • Ethical decision-making: Individuals with a high SQ tend to make ethical decisions that consider the impact on others. They are more likely to act with integrity, transparency, and a sense of responsibility, ensuring that AI and technology are used ethically.
  • Mental and emotional well-being: High SQ is associated with greater emotional intelligence, which can lead to better mental and emotional well-being. It helps individuals manage stress, build resilience, and maintain positive mental health.
  • Adaptability: SQ includes the ability to adapt to various social situations, from networking events to family gatherings. It allows individuals to feel comfortable in diverse contexts, fostering a sense of belonging and inclusion.

In the AI age, harmonious coexistence between humans and machines is achievable by leveraging the respective strengths of both. AI can provide its unmatched intelligence and data-driven insights while humans lead with their emotional quotient (EQ) and social quotient (SQ). Humans can infuse AI-driven decisions and actions with empathy, ethical considerations, and a deep understanding of the human context. This synergy ensures that the power of artificial intelligence is harnessed to benefit humanity, guided by the values and emotional intelligence that only humans possess. It’s a partnership that aligns technological advancement with the fundamental human principles of compassion, cooperation, and ethical leadership, creating a more harmonious and prosperous future. It’s not a matter of humans versus AI; it’s humans working alongside AI to achieve shared goals and aspirations.

The fears that machines will rule over humans are misplaced, at least for next few decades. The real threat lies in how we, as humans, navigate the ever-evolving landscape of technology and artificial intelligence. Machines are tools, and it is the choices we make and the values we uphold that determine their impact on our lives and society. The true challenge is to harness the potential of AI for the betterment of humanity while ensuring that we don’t compromise our ethical principles, empathy, and social cohesion. It’s not machines that can destroy us; it’s the choices we make as individuals and as a collective that will ultimately shape our destiny. In the AI age, our greatest strength and responsibility lie in our own hands.

About the Author

Srinath SridharanDr. Srinath Sridharan – author, policy researcher and corporate advisor. Strategic counsel for over 27 years, with leading corporates across diverse sectors. Mentors and coaches founders and CXOs. Works with boards and leaders in transformation efforts. Published author and media columnist. Works on intersection of finance, digital, consumerism, urban studies, GEMZ (gig economy, Millennials, gen Z), ESG, green and blue economy. Blogs at, twitter @ssmumbai.