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  • Tanya Krim

HI > AI: How Human Insight and Interaction Outshines Artificial Intelligence

Updated: May 16

Storytelling has been an integral part of human culture since the beginning of Time. People have narrated stories to share experiences, insights, wisdom, humor, beliefs and values, some based on facts, others on imagination and others a combination of both.

At Timeless Lives, we focus on people.

We interview them in real time, face-to-face or on Zoom, about their Life experiences and create a personalized book to portray the stories of their life. We ask them a whole bunch of questions as we are extremely nosy AND know that there is power in telling one’s story – with all the intricate details. Because a story which is heard and digested by another human being provides its narrator and listener/reader with a ‘full flavor’ experience and, in so doing, accords it its full dignity.

That said, we are, of course, aware that Artificial Intelligence (AI) is trending.

Many large corporations have jumped at the chance of incorporating AI into their business

model as quickly as possible because being on top of the latest technology is perceived as

innovative, which is what everyone wants. So accepting and using AI feels like a ‘good look.’

And some may suggest that it is time to jump on the AI bandwagon when it comes to

experience curation and storytelling.

We think not.

The reality is that incorporating AI doesn’t guarantee success for storytelling because HT and HI - ‘human touch’ and ‘high interaction’ still offer a valuable, added dimension. One which is unlikely to be credibly matched by AI any time soon, especially as AI is still quite new and hasn’t been fully battle tested yet.

Let’s recall that when discussing AI-generated stories, we are referring to machines which

create narratives in a way which sound like they are crafted by a human. This necessitates that the AI machine recognizes words and phrases as well as the context and meaning behind them. This is no easy feat and the end-product runs the risk of sounding and feeling less than real.

We fully acknowledge and value the benefits of the online world, social media’s influence

and AI offerings. Nonetheless, in our role as experience curators/storytellers, we are

charged to interact with our fellow human beings in a warm, friendly, empathic fashion as

this helps forge tighter connections which enable us to mine richer, deeper insights into

who they are and how they behave, act and view the world.

At Timeless Lives, we continue to prize ‘human touch’ interactions.

Machines are excellent at following patterns, rules and structures, but do not understand what it is to be human. The nuances, emotional depth and creative flair which are displayed by human storytellers are certainly not matched by AI as it lacks ‘personal connection’ capabilities. It consequently has a tough time creating stories which are unique, emotionally resonant and represent what it means to be human.

It is possible that, in the future, AI might be used to create stories at scale rather than individual stories as a computer might be able to streamline the creative process. However, that process is certainly not suitable for a person who is trying to narrate a personal tale/journey as he/she wants a personalized touch with the customized data which represent his/her experiences rather than a data synthesis collected from thousands of others who lived through a similar - but not identical - cancer or a cardiac journey.

Let’s stop and think for a minute.

How can we ever really expect a piece of technology to show real understanding of humanity? It is only human-authored stories which can successfully portray the essence, complexity and emotional depth of an individual’s life experiences. Only human writers can draw on their personal experiences, perspectives and emotions to capture all another human being lives through with true authenticity, insight and nuance.

Moreover, those who interview a person about their story or listen to it can observe the

storyteller and provide an additional layer of description and interpretation to enhance

the story and give it even more life. For example, someone can describe the inflection in a

storyteller’s voice or the expression on his/her face at a certain point in the story with more

accuracy and vividness: As Jason reflected on those turbulent days, he flinched, obviously reliving the intensity of the pain he had experienced when making the decision to walk away from Ashley.

After interacting with her respondent for a few sessions, a human interviewer can add a

powerful observation to the narrative such as ‘she was a woman of equal wit and heart.’ And this can serve as valuable insight into a person’s character and demeanor – way above that offered by a robot who would be unable to do that.

The value of face-to-face interaction between people has also been illustrated again by the

recently conducted Pew Research Study in Fall 2023. This indicates how interpersonal

relationships – parent-teens well as teens with each other – have suffered because of social

media. 72% of U.S teens say they often or sometimes feel peaceful when they don’t have

their smartphone; 44% say it makes them feel anxious. Only 30% of teens believe that it

helps people their age learn social skills. When it comes to distracted parenting, parents

paint a rosier picture than teens. Nearly half of teens (46%) say their parent is at least

sometimes distracted by their phone when they’re trying to talk to them, including 8% who say this happens often.

So it seems like even teenagers have now started to confront the limitations of technology (and AI is part of that!) and to admit that their Quality of Life is enhanced by person-to-person interactions as that is when authentic, emotive connection can happen!!! An analogy might be an AI robot which can provide a round-brush blowout but does not have the magic words and fingers of a human stylist who can provide a compassionate ear, a cranial massage as well as a beautiful hairdo!!

So, the most up-to-date research shows that even in today’s digital world, human connections still count!

Staying True to the Timeless Truths to create Authentic Personalized Stories

At Timeless Lives, we understand that technology plays a huge part in moving the world

forward. We believe that HI trumps AI when it comes to stories.

We embrace humanity, empathy, passion and creative flair as timeless values which is why we do not currently use AI for storytelling voyages.

In order to traverse the expanses of the human heart and mind, we sit down with each individual and unearth all that is part of his/her life narrative.

We engage in dialogue as this is still the essence of human interaction and connection. And this full engagement enables us to craft personalized stories about Life journeys which give access to a richer, deeper, more holistic and complete picture of who individuals are and what they experienced.

We write with a beating heart and a compassionate soul so that we capture meaningful stories and insights to be cherished by today’s generations and future ones.

The end-product is a beautiful, handcrafted, personalized book which honors and enhances individuals’ Quality of Life – the narrators as well as the readers.


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