We want to follow human leaders, even if a computer could say all the right words, which is not an implausible prospect. We want to hear our diagnosis from a doctor, even if a computer supplied it, because we want to talk to the doctor about it—perhaps just to talk and know we’re being heard by a human being. We want to negotiate important agreements with a person, hearing every quaver in his voice, noting when he crosses his arms, looking into his eyes.
To look into someone’s eyes—that turns out to be, metaphorically and quite often literally, the key to high-value work in the coming economy.
Geoff Colvin has a good feature story at Fortune about the areas in life where humans will prefer to deal with other humans, even if a robot could theoretically do the same thing. Most of these areas involve the preference we have for relationships – hardwired into our DNA – not to mention the satisfaction we feel when someone is accountable.