Source | LinkedIn : By Bernard Marr
There’s a Robotic Apocalypse coming – everyone seems quite certain about this. I’m not talking about a Matrix or Terminator scenario where the human race is enslaved by AI, although some very smart people are concerned that this could happen. The real and present danger appears to be about jobs.
At first it seemed that it was mainly manual jobs which were under threat, when production lines workers were expected to be replaced wholesale with robots and machines. But in recent years huge advances in fields such as machine learning and automation have made it apparent that white collar and professional workers are equally under threat.
So how should someone go about ensuring their own career prospects are not exterminated by this incoming robot army? Well, two people whose opinions I respect very much have a few suggestions. Tom Davenport and Julia Kirby’s ‘Only Humans Need Apply – Winners and Losers in the Age of Smart Machines’ outlines a survival strategy based on aligning one’s skills within the new workforce paradigms that big data, artificial intelligence(AI) and smart machines are likely to create.
The book suggests five strategies – stepping up, stepping aside, stepping in, stepping narrowly, and stepping forward. These, suggest Davenport and Kirby, are the different ways a candidate can ensure they remain competitive against AI and smart machines in the job market.
“These are the five key roles or classes of roles that people can play, with regards to smart machines,” Davenport tells me, “and two of them – stepping aside and stepping narrowly – don’t even really involve working that closely with smart machines.”
Stepping Aside is fairly self-explanatory – it simply means leaving the machines to do what they do best, and picking a career requiring mainly skills such as creativity or empathy.
Stepping Narrowly involves developing a speciality, in a field where there is little demand or no business case for implementing automation (a local tour guide, or a wine expert specializing in a particular region, being possibilities here).
Stepping Up means taking oversight of and responsibility for the work carried out by computers and AI – essentially becoming their boss, and considering the big picture strategy of implementing technology across an organization.