By | Abhijit Bhaduri | Founder, Abhijit Bhaduri & Associate
Already we see the presence of robots trying to standardise everything with algorithms.
4 skills will matter more
Feed the machines an algorithm and they can outwit any human being by performing the task faster, quicker and with precision. The machines can follow the logic given in the code ad infinitum. They do not exercise their judgment. They simply continue to outperform the human being – at least in repetitive tasks.
Just what humans hate
Ask anyone if they like doing repetitive tasks. Ask any manager and they will tell you that the threshold of boredom is abysmally low for most people. Everyone gets bored doing the same task even when they have not quite mastered the task yet. Therein lies the opportunity. As machines grow smarter at doing more and more, the humans need to learn to do what the humanities degrees have tried to teach over the years.
Humanities students learn how to navigate ambiguous conversations. They learn about negotiation skills and the ability to inspire others – just what the world is going to need in a world driven by algorithms. DDI did some research to identify what kind of skills humanities degrees would teach.
“Humanities graduates struggled with business savvy and financial acumen but outperformed other degrees in many skills, and did so through strengths not only in interpersonal competencies (such as influence), but also in strong performance in results orientation and entrepreneurship. Many humanities programs incorporate debating, communicating, and critical thinking, which would contribute to well-rounded graduates in these fields.”
Algorithms work with clear defined logic – just what human behavior does not adhere to. You agree with a colleague about a plan and at the last minute, the colleague changes his/her mind. The only way to accomplish that task would be that you try to persuade and convince the colleague. Humanities and social sciences teaches just that.
How do we motivate and inspire a team? Every leader will tell you that announcing annual performance goals does not automatically get people to give their best and try to accomplish the annual targets. They need to be persuaded and inspired. The context in which they need to operate has to be understood by leaders.
Curiosity, Critical Thinking & Ethics
In a world where Google has all the answers, the ability to ask better questions becomes a key skill. That needs people who are curious. Curiosity is one of the 4 skills that will be precious. Someone who can observe the world around and reframe questions. These reframed questions throw open many opportunities for innovation. All technology eventually merges into ethical issues.
Should a company retrain the workers when they know that the workforce is rapidly becoming obsolete. Deciding to invest money in reskilling is a path towards building an equitable society. Whether the company will make that investment is an ethical choice. The world needs more leaders who view their world through the lens of ethics.
As business models change, the skills that will get valued will change. There was a time when logic ruled. That was when we needed people who were skilled in programming robots and building algorithms. Now that algorithms are taking away some jobs, we need to pause and ask, what kind of skills the jobs of the future will need.