Using AI for (Human) Performance
Level 4: All-Star
Welcome Players! Artificial Intelligence is the latest technological advancement that promises to revolutionize how work is done. You may think that that the human performance field has no room for AI technology, but you’d be wrong. I’m going to show you how I used AI to do three day’s worth of research in just a few hours so that I could spend more of my time doing what actually matters.
AI for Human Performance
How to Use it, How NOT to Use it
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Whether you are on the performance side or the sport-medicine side - you can agree the profession is a delicate balance of science and art.
Strength & Conditioning coaches use science to guide decisions on how to structure a program while their experience and knowledge of the individual is used to try and provide a best-fit to produce effective results in a safe manner.
Athletic Trainers on the other hand use their vast training in sport medicine to evaluate, treat, and manage musculoskeletal injury based on the person standing in front of them.
Both careers are highly individualized and dependent on environment and context.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) on the other hand is a set of highly-intricate algorithms that are used to provide objective solutions to defined problems.
While AI is proving to be extremely useful for professions such as software development and data analysis, it is nowhere close to being capable to replace the critical thinking ability of a human-to-human interaction.
But that doesn’t mean it isn’t useful to use as a professional in the Sport Performance industry.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is a type of technology that allows machines to learn and make decisions like humans do. It uses algorithms, which are sets of rules and instructions, to process data and make predictions or decisions based on that data.
One specific type of AI is called a language learning model (LLM). LLMs are designed to help computers understand and use language. They're trained on large amounts of text and data which helps them learn the rules and patterns of language. By doing this they can understand and generate human-like language.
The algorithms used in AI are trained by giving them lots of examples of data and the correct output. For example, an algorithm that's designed to recognize pictures of dogs might be trained on thousands of pictures of dogs and told which ones are actually dogs. This helps the algorithm learn what a dog looks like and how to recognize one.
LLMs are trained in a similar way, but with text data instead of pictures. They're given lots of text examples and taught which words and phrases go together, and how to use language to convey meaning. This allows them to understand and generate sentences that sound like they were written by humans.
AI is a powerful technology that allows computers to learn and make decisions like humans.
Note: The above section was written entirely by Chat GPT. I used Chat GPT to write this section for 2 reasons: 1) to demonstrate its capabilities in a simple way, and 2) because that explanation is far better than any one I could have given on how AI works. I have not, and will not, use AI-writing to replace my own. If I do, I will clearly disclose what is written by me and what is not.
AI For (Human) Performance
There are a lot of things that AI can currently do - and a lot of things it can’t do.
Can Chat GPT write your training programs for you? No.
Can it write a nutrition plan for you? No.
Can it instruct you on which supplements to take or how to recover properly? No.
Don’t worry coaches, AI is not coming for your job. The “AI will replace every job ever” narrative is blown far out of proportion. The days where computers and robots autonomously replace a significant portion of human critical thinking are so far away it’s not worth spending a moments’ worry on it.
What is actually far more likely, and is already happening, is people learning how to augment certain tasks with AI to drastically improve efficiency, save time, and become 10x more effective in the skills that can’t be replaced.
So while AI won’t be writing any training programs that will dominate the marketplace, it will be used to improve distribution, marketing, and organization of those training programs so that the professional behind them can 10x their output.
Confused? It’s ok. Technology is complicated and this stuff isn’t for the feint of heart.
Early this week I was researching cognitive-enhancing (natural) supplements.
Normally I would have to comb through Google Scholar for literature on the topic, read the abstract to determine if it could be useful, and then skim each article fully to determine if it was relevant or not. If it was relevant, I’d save the PDF to my computer and read it from start-to-end and draw my own conclusion.
To thoroughly research a particular topic is a multi-day task for me.
I take great pride in not half-assing the research and working to become knowledgable in the topic so I have absolute confidence that the intervention I’m about to make works. In this case, I want to make sure I understand the effects (and possible side effects) of these supplements fully before I decide to put them in my body.
But thanks to the new AI revolution, there’s an amazing new (FREE) product called Consensus. Taken directly from the website, “Consensus uses AI to find answers in research papers.” And it does exactly that.
Input your research topic in the form of a question and consensus will crawl research databases not only for relevant topics, but for relevant answers to the research question you presented.
Let me show you.
I asked Consensus, “Is L-Theanine effective for cognitive enhancement?”
The first page (10 results) returned summarize the research article in a way that seeks to provide contextual answers to the question I asked. It also includes the type of study (RCT, Meta-analysis, opinion, etc), the quality of journal it was published in, and the main author / date published.
I’m not one to overreact - but this is a Holy Shit moment.
Anyone that’s done extensive amount of research reading understands how time consuming these tasks are, and in one input I was able to completely eliminate searching and skimming for relevant articles.
Let’s take that third research article and investigate further. This is what returns when I click on it:
I now can read the abstract and see further information on the article. This will either validate or invalidate the relevancy of the article. If validated then the next step is still to go read the full literature - you MUST always read the full paper!
In literally three minutes I was able to find a relevant research article for the topic I was studying and validate that it will be beneficial for me to read fully. Not only did I find just one article, but I now had a full list of relevant articles to read that would give me direct knowledge on the topic I wanted to learn about.
This is a GAME-CHANGER.
How to Use it, How NOT to Use it
So while AI won’t do the work for you - it will 10x, or even 100x, your productivity so that you can spend more of your time doing the work that matters.
This is the potential AI brings to the table.
For now - Consensus can significantly reduce the time it takes you to research a topic.
You can also use LLM such as Chat GPT4 or Microsoft’s Bing in collaboration with Open AI to seek answers to questions that you can then follow-up on.
Soon, Microsoft Office will be launching Co-Pilot, brining the power of AI to your favorite tools such as Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.
Right now I use AI to brainstorm marketing angles for products I’m working on, to narrow down my search for research questions, and to brainstorm ways to improve certain tasks that take me a significant amount of time.
While it’s not perfect, it is beyond worth the effort to begin practicing your prompting skills now and learn how you might best utilize the new technology to help your career and business.
I fully, 100%, unequivocally, recommend that every professional in the human performance field starts testing and playing with AI to find out how it can work for them.
I also warn you NOT to rely on AI for your most important tasks, nor to trust the results AI provides. The technology is still very new. The data-sets are still forming and the models are still being trained.
You should double-check every result you get from AI - as Chat GPT has been known to make up research articles, complete with made-up quotes, fake-data and all.
But now is the time to get ahead of the curve and become comfortable using new tools to increase efficiency. Because these products will only improve, and you want to be there when they do.
In the meantime they can drastically help you with certain tasks.
In the very least, you can 4x your efficiency in researching a topic like I did.
Because if you don’t take advantage of the new tools becoming available to you - you’re competitors (someone like me) will.