Finding Authenticity Amidst The AI Mirage

15 Jun 2024

Being authentic has always been paramount. However, today, in June 2024, when even baby toys have embedded AI, and every piece of software is crammed with AI, what the hell does “being authentic” really mean?

You see it everywhere: emails, messages, posts, comments, and replies. Don’t have the time? Don’t know what to say? Afraid of saying the wrong thing? Want to say it the right way? Don’t worry; AI is here to help.

Ask AI. Enhance it with AI. Write it with AI. Say it with AI. Just waste away at your capitalistic cubicle hellhole while “your dating ‘AI concierge’ dates hundreds of other people’s ‘concierges,’” as Bumble’s Whitney Wolfe Herd puts it!

Why not let AI live your life for you while you’re at it? Don’t worry; it will give you a summary of what you should feel like at the end of the day at 2x speed so you do not waste any time actually living!

The ubiquity and ease of using AI tools have led to a bizarre paradox: the more everyone tries to sound unique, the more they sound the same! Even those who don’t use AI and seem a bit more unique than others are often following someone else’s blueprint on how to be themselves!

The little hope we got as people started to leave corporate speak behind and learned how to break through the tyranny of the algorithm is now drowned by the AI tsunami taking over every aspect of our lives. It’s giving rise to a new normal where everything we read or see is just good enough to trick us into thinking it’s original.

A whole new world of fake personas swimming aimlessly in an endless sea of bland communication. Authored, filtered, and managed by machines trained to simulate intelligence just enough to make us believe there is a “there” when it’s all just an AI mirage.

But this is not about purity; it’s about authenticity.

Sure, use templates, copy the next guy who’s getting lots of likes, ask ChatGPT to write it for you, and get your team’s approval, as long as there is more of you in whatever you put out into the world. Even if you come off as boring, at least you’re boring because you’re being your boring self.

Meet Dominic Vogel, a cyber risk expert who introduces himself as a “Positive Troll” and “Associated with Happiness.” He’s gained a reputation for his outrageously positive, creative, and uplifting comments, usually packed with as many emojis and exclamation points as he can sneak in!

A selection of Dominic's comments

  • “Kady!!! You’re the rainbow sprinkles to ice cream, the happy tunes to any morning playlist, and the disco-dancing robot to a party crew!!!!!!! Your post is a confetti cannon brightening the landscape!!!
  • ​​Tessa!!! You’re a marvelous mastermind of magnificent musings!!!!!! Your post is a plethora of positivity, a parade of passion, and a pyramid of pure awesomeness! Keep shining your sparkling starlight!!!!
  • You literally are the most AMAZING person on the planet!!!!!!!

“Some people think the comments are generated by AI because no human would speak like that,” he shared with me while we were having lunch a few weeks back. We burst out laughing!!

Technically, they’re right. No human speaks like that except him. That’s who he is in real life. The moment you meet him, you’ll feel the palpable energy of his joy, empathy, and authentic presence.

He is his comments, his words, and whatever comes through his LinkedIn posts is who he really is in real life.

Copycats can generate leads, results, and money while pretending to be someone else. But people living the truth of who they really build their businesses while forging timeless connections, making the hard work lasting relationships demand, and architecting a life worth living.

In one of Dominic’s latest client interactions, the personal assistant to the CEO insisted they “must work with Dominic because his emails are better than therapy!”

As AI continues to flatten skill levels and give everyone content-generation superpowers, what matters most is no longer how good you are. As algorithms fill our feeds with generative content, we will seek real moments of human touch and shared experiences beyond the many layers of AI polish.

A real person with a distinct way of communicating, tone of voice, and a personal presence exists within each of us. All we need to do is give them permission.

The magic may take time, but as we give permission for our authentic selves to show up, our circle of influence and impact will change. The people who were there for the digital double we made up while trying to sound good enough will be replaced with true engagement and real interactions with real people who are here for the person we really are.

No matter how uncomfortable we may feel when all the made-up engagement is gone, we must remember there are millions of people to meet and know out there! So why would we ever want to be stuck dealing with people we do not like or care about?

We must set them free by setting ourselves free to be who we really are.

With our real selves at the core of everything we do, we post and message people as if we are speaking to them in real life, and we are remembered, like the great Maya Angelou said, not for what we said, but how we made people feel.