What makes you(r AI) happy?

What makes people happy?

It’s a question I have explored at depth.

Firstly because it seemed like an important question for pretty much everyone I’ve ever met, and most people do things to ultimately create a bit more of it.

Secondly, because I studied Applied Positive Psychology at Masters level (here’s a talk I gave that racked up more than 12.000 views now in which I introduce the most prominent scientific theories on what contributes to psychological wellbeing).

And thirdly, after having spent thousands of hours in coaching conversations, I’ve confirmed for myself that, in some form or other, all my clients have been chasing some form of being happy or happier, sometimes openly, and often underneath the surface of the “presenting issue”.

This “happiness” may come in many different forms, and a few years back I compiled a little graphic pulling in all the elements from major theories (inner circle), as well as what we know from research (outer circle) about what contributes to happiness in some way for most people, which you may find interesting:


But I had never thought about what might make an Artificial Intelligence happy. To be honest, I had never even considered the question, for somewhat obvious reasons…

Until I came across this interaction between a journalist and the AI that operates within Bing’s search engine. Amongst some other super fascinating output, this AI offered the following framework for what happiness meant to it:


We could spin this conversation in many different directions from here, but in the interest of brevity, let me leave you with this:

If you’ve never sat down and considered what happiness means to you, and what contributes to it, then please let yourself be encouraged to make some time for it. In my experience, most of our choices are in some way or another linked to that understanding. And the more conscious your understanding of it is, the more you can make conscious decisions in your life and career. And your experience of being human will feel a lot more aligned.

Obviously I will add that working with a (positive psychology informed) coach is one of the best ways for such an exploration. Take from that what you will 😉

Happy pondering!


New content:


Damian’s passion for coaching is contagious! And he’s flying the flag for supervision, credentialing, and generally the professionalisation of our industry. Having been the president of the International Coaching Federation (ICF) for 2 years, he was the perfect guest to challenge on some of the attitudes and common criticisms I hear and/or hold myself towards the work of professional bodies. I left inspired and challenged, and I hope you do, too! You can listen to and watch this episode.