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Artificial Intelligence and the ADHD Advantage

If you listen to the media or read popular online posts, you will find that Artificial Intelligence (AI) is touted as the next major revolution after the driverless car. AI refers to the ability of computers and robots to be able to “think” as we do to help with decision making, which could include everything from financial buy and sell recommendations to your health care diagnosis.

This is how it works. A computer or sensor, or data crunching robot, watches and collects information over time and gradually learns what to do. If you had a robot in your home with AI, and every day at 3:00 you asked it for a snack, the robot would learn to bring you things in advance of your asking because it would gradually learn your preferences. It could also crunch the information from the weather outside, your heart rate, stress levels and bring you a bowl of chocolate ice cream if it concluded that you were having a bad day.

There are a number of things that robots or computers do with AI that tell us it’s a very rational, statistically analyzed process based on predictable and common sense information.

But this is where those of us with ADHD have an advantage that can never be copied with computers or robots. The spontaneous reaction and decision making that is based on a sense or impulse that quickly can lead to success. Robots and AI models couldn’t predict the financial crash or crisis of 2008-2010, nor can it predict presidential elections (very much blew that call), because things don’t always go as they should.

Adults with finely tuned ADHD skills can often sense the right decision, which may make no sense to others based on the information before them or deep analysis of the data.

Paralysis by analysis - taking too long to make a decision and letting the opportunity pass you by, is a common problem with AI and rational, time sucking analysis. Sometimes you just need to take action because you know it is the right thing to do.

Another of the many actions that AI will never be able to replicate is parental instinct. Parents know some things because they just do. We can’t explain it, we can’t analyze it nor reduce it to some mathematical model. Parents have a sense when there is danger near their child, or when something just isn’t right with them. It’s a sense or feeling that we can’t really explain. As a parent, you get this, right?

Common sense is the final one I’ll discuss today. It’s a fleeting skill today perhaps because we are relying more and more on mathematical models and AI. Does it really make sense to dump sewage into Lake Erie and then later suck that water back in so we can drink it? Does it make sense to build more and more wind turbines only to have them sit idle because we don’t need the power or pay the U.S. to take it from us? Does it make sense to tell parents that they should NOT discipline their children?

We don’t need AI or a computer model to help us decide. Just ask someone with ADHD.

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