It is estimated that by 2030 Artificial Intelligence (AI) will contribute $15.7 trillion (USD) to the global economy. Machine learning is poised to impact everything from manufacturing to medicine and from agriculture to financial systems. Meanwhile, consumers interact with AI on a regular basis, whether it’s Amazon’s recommendations or Gmail’s auto-complete feature.

It’s no surprise that talk of AI was inescapable at C2, especially considering the theme for 2019 was ‘Tomorrow’. Keynote speaker WILL.I.AM made headlines when he announced a partnership with Stradigi AI during the conference. The musician-turned-tech entrepreneur will take on an advisory role with the Montreal-based AI company.

So, at a time when organizations are becoming increasingly intertwined and dependent on AI, what’s a brand to do to ensure a healthy bond with consumers? Act more human. Throughout C2, discussions repeatedly circled back to the idea that to succeed in the future companies must be more authentic, trustworthy and values-driven.

According to Hollywood, self-aware machines aren’t to be trusted. And while we’ve yet to witness a robot uprising, consumers are wary of the technology that we use daily, especially when it comes to data and privacy. It’s no wonder that companies have an incentive to act more human, now more than ever.

Acting human isn’t just reserved for those employing AI – it’s a sound strategy for any company at a time consumer trust is at dangerously low levels. So how does a company act more human?

  1. By caring about the world and its inhabitants. IKEA’s Dominique Fularski presented a plan from the Swedish retail giant to become completely circular by 2030. In the not-too-distant future, IKEA will be exclusively using existing materials to build new products while helping customers extend the life of or reuse IKEA products they already own.
  2. By treating people like people, with real emotions. Alicia Tillmam is CMO at SAP, the world’s largest provider of enterprise application software. One might expect a presentation from a tech giant to focus on speeds and feeds. Instead, she did a deep dive into research about the 27 distinct feels humans have and the importance of appealing to one another on an emotional basis.
  3. By having values, and actually living them. Refinery 29 co-founder Piera Gelardi talked about how Gen-Z is a values-driven generation: a group who will decide to patronize companies based on its values. Be warned though: ‘having values’ and living them are two different things, and Gen Z will be more discerning than previous generations. Piera talked about the evolution of its 29Rooms event, which evolved from an Instagramable pop-up event to a series of experiences informed by the values important to attendees: social justice, gender equality and disconnecting from technology to reconnect with each other.

Acting human requires trust and care. Is your company one that people can trust? And a company that genuinely cares for the world?