Type the words “kind of”, “probably” or “perhaps” into an e-mail in Microsoft Outlook and the program might well tell you to think again. If the artificial intelligence-powered “Microsoft Editor” decides you’re not sounding decisive enough, it will warn you: “Words expressing uncertainty lessen your impact.”

To me, this suggestion encapsulates something we’ve got wrong in society. Leaving aside the extent to which Big Tech is creeping ever further into our lives, it highlights a broader issue: we live in a world that rewards those who speak with conviction — even when that is misplaced — and gives little airtime to those who acknowledge doubt...

BL Premium

This article is reserved for our subscribers.

A subscription helps you enjoy the best of our business content every day along with benefits such as exclusive Financial Times articles, ProfileData financial data, and digital access to the Sunday Times and Sunday Times Daily.

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.



Questions or problems? Email helpdesk@businesslive.co.za or call 0860 52 52 00. Got a subscription voucher? Redeem it now