The digital economy has made it easier than ever to start a business. All you need is a credit card and a website. You don’t even need to come up with a product.

If you don’t want to spend money on product development or warehousing, just drop ship from China! 

This is great news for aspiring entrepreneurs everywhere but it also means that the playing field is getting far more competitive.

So, how do you stay ahead of the competition?

It might seem obvious: you need to innovate, differentiate yourself, and think outside the box when it comes to looking for untapped opportunities. At least, these are the kind of tips you’ll hear from business coaches.

And, they’re good tips. But what do they have in common?

One thing: creative thinking.

How are you going to discover a hidden niche or come up with an innovative offering if you can’t think creatively?

The answer is: you’re not going to.

If you think the economy is competitive now… just wait.

It’s not going to be long before you have another kind of competition: AI.

That’s right. It’s well known that AI will soon replace Uber drivers and fast food workers. But the AI revolution is not going to stop there.

AI is only going to get smarter and the number of jobs it can’t do is going to get smaller. Eventually, your competition is going to use it against you. It’s inevitable.

In order to compete, humans are going to have become more human and focus on the things that AI struggles with: being flexible, emotionally intelligent, and yes…creative. In other words, higher-level cognitive skills.

It’s not just employees that will need a human advantage over AI. Business owners will also need to develop these skills.

Ray Kurzweil has predicted that AI will pass the Turing Test by 2029. While passing the Turing Test does not mean that AI will have achieved human-level intelligence, it does mean that an AI can effectively pass as a human.

At this point, AI will likely already have taken over most lower-level positions in fields like customer service, administration, and transportation, and be rapidly moving into more skilled vocations. 

It might seem like a long way off, but the economy is already changing.

If you want to stay relevant, it’s time to start developing those higher-level skills.

So, where do you start?

As a great thinker, it’s no surprise that Ray Kurzweil himself has a powerful method for solving problems and coming up with great ideas.

This is something that you really should test out next time you have a major problem or need to come up with a better idea.

Here’s how it works:

First, consider the problem. This technique works best when you have a clear understanding of the obstacle that’s facing you.

Then, imagine you have the solution.

Next, visualize yourself giving a talk to a group of people. This might be a presentation at a board meeting or a TED Talk. It doesn’t matter.

Then, imagine yourself explaining the solution in detail.

Work through the issues one by one. How did you address them? What were the results? How would you explain that to your audience.

When you’ve got something that you think might work, write it down.

Then, follow through and give your talk to an audience of real people and see how they react. Ask them for feedback on what they think of your solution, what they think will work and what won’t, and so on.

This process is a powerful way to come up with innovative ideas. And, it’s a very human way to approach a problem.

The important thing to remember here is that this technique won’t give you a perfect solution or a genius idea every time, but it’s often the first step towards one.

It’s a way to break out of your everyday thinking and push yourself to come up with something innovative. You’re forcing yourself to think at a higher pitch. 

And that’s a valuable skill.

While Ray Kurzweil’s hit rate has been amazing (85% of his predictions have come to pass), there’s no way of knowing if he is 100% right about AI achieving human levels of intelligence by 2029.

Whether his prediction comes to pass or not, there’s no doubt that AI will play an increasing role in business over the coming years. Training yourself in these valuable “human” skills will not only prepare you for the rise of the algorithms, it’ll give you an advantage over your competitors too.

It’s time to embrace the next step in human (and non-human) evolution!

Stephan Spencer

Stephan is an internationally recognized SEO Expert, author, blogger professional speaker, consultant, and founder of Netconcepts.