The tech industry is accelerating so fast that the faster it accelerates, the more it seems to impact our lives. It’s going to impact the way we live our lives and, eventually, it’s going to turn humans into robots.

There are so many great examples of how far we’ve made it with artificial intelligence.

There’s the Neuralink project where Elon Musk wants to create a link between electronic devices and the human brain. When you read about it, you understand how fascinating (and at the same time scary) a world like this could be.

Then, we have companies like Boston Dynamics and the way they use artificial intelligence to empower their robots. If you haven’t seen their latest choreography, click here.

What’s more realistic than this and truly amazing is the AI assistant developed by Google a few years ago. Its purpose is to help businesses get things done faster. If you haven’t heard about it (it’s called Google Duplex, by the way), click here to check a short 4-minute video.

While all these seem to be still a bit far from daily use, there’s one aspect of artificial intelligence that’s part of our daily lives for a while now and it’s turning humans into robots.

There’s a technology called chatbots and it’s close to what Google Duplex does, only chat-based. While Google Duplex can call people, chatbots interact with people only through online chat.

A business can use chatbots on Facebook, Whatsapp, or even on their website. The chatbots are used to automate conversations so employees focus their time and efforts on something else.

For example, when you want to schedule an appointment for medical consultation, you search on Google for places near you where you can get the desired consultation. After you find a few, you check their website and contact them. Here you have three options: you either call them, e-mail them, or talk with them through an online chat.

In case the chat is automated, whenever you open the chat, you’ll find there some general questions like:

  • Are you looking for an appointment?
  • Do you want to see our opening hours?
  • Are you looking for a specific doctor?

Since you were looking to schedule an appointment, let’s say you select the first one.

Then, other options are listed, like:

  • Do you have problems with your heart?
  • Do you have headaches?
  • Do you have trouble breathing?

And it goes deeper and deeper until it creates a profile of what you’re looking for. If the chatbot is well automated, in the end it will create an appointment for you. If it’s not, it will simply provide you with a phone number to call or will ask for your phone number and you will be called shortly after that.

While this is really helpful for businesses, there’s another side of chatbots and artificial intelligence that is turning humans into robots. You can easily see it on LinkedIn and I’ve discovered it recently.

LinkedIn chatbots are turning humans into robots

Considering Optimist Toolbox is the most recent project I have, I decided to add it to my experience on LinkedIn.

Whenever you’re adding a new experience to your LinkedIn profile, there’s an option to share your new role with your network.

If you check it, your connections will see the update about your new role and they will be able to congratulate you. You don’t have to write the congratulations message yourself; you just have to click on one button.

While this sounds all right and it looks like a great conversation starter, LinkedIn doesn’t tell you what you should do after you congratulate someone. Which means, if you have many connections, there’s a chance you’ll get the exact same message from a lot of people.

Actually, that’s exactly what happened to me.

Over 50 people sent me the exact same message. While that’s all right and I can understand the positive gesture behind their message, there’s something missing. The more we get to press one button to congratulate someone, the less effort we put into social interactions. Therefore, the more robots we become.

While in Facebook’s case, the chatbot is used to help businesses understand the customer’s needs and generate a more efficient communication process, in LinkedIn’s case, the chatbot is no one else than the person who’s clicking the button.

But that’s not all. Even more unpleasant than getting the same congratulation message from more than 50 people is what comes after that: people trying to sell you things you don’t need.

Right after I responded to the congratulation message with a simple ‘Thank you’, there were a few conversations where I got this wall of text about things that weren’t even close to what I was interested in. It’s like going to the closest mini-market to buy some food and right after you step in, someone comes at you and tries to sell you a plane.

How to use LinkedIn to network better

While having this simple and effective way of congratulating people is great, there’s something else that you should do if you want to sell your products and services to others.

First, in case you see someone got a new role at a new company, then congratulating them is a great conversation starter.

Right after that, you don’t want to sell your products or services. Instead, you want to be interested in them. Ask them questions like:

  • What makes you excited about your new role?
  • What new responsibilities you have that you believe will help you grow?
  • How hard was it for you to get the job?

Next, if they seem interested in speaking with you, ask them about their struggles either at job or at home.

If you’ve done a great job until now, they’ll open up and share with you information that they don’t usually get to share with anyone else.

We’re living in a world people don’t care about people. It’s sad, but we care more and more about money. Therefore, asking someone about their struggles and obstacles will get their attention because there are only a few people who don’t focus their conversations on selling, selling, and more selling.

And finally, you can introduce your business, service, product, or whatever you want to sell. Even more, if you can find a connection between what you know about the person and what you’re trying to sell. All this to avoid turning humans into robots.

Networking takes time

If you expect to sell something just by copy/pasting a message, then you’re wrong.

Selling something requires trust and building trust takes time.

If you get to sell things to people just by copy/pasting a message, then congrats, you’ve found the magic pill. You have the secret. You’re the magician every entrepreneur wants to meet.

But for the rest of us, who don’t have access to this type of sorcery, selling takes time.

With love and optimism,
David

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