It’s been at the forefront of scaremongers’ A boards for years, you’ll know the kind – dirty faced, distant look in one eye, laser focus in the other, shuffling around urban retail developments using their own urine as both a means to stay clean and repel pigeons. ‘Our robot overlords will kill us all’, ‘the Matrix is real, Terminator was a documentary’ and so on. Now however we can no longer afford to chuckle heedlessly at the benighted saps as it turns out they may’ve been on to something.
There is an increasing and potentially worrying amount of evidence coming forth that as many as 47% of jobs will be lost to automation. This is no longer scare mongering, no more is it the muttered rhetoric of the manic street preacher – this is real, very real and coming to a job market near you soon. With the increased push to explore what is possible, automation is entering every aspect of our lives, creeping insidiously towards domination. Uber and Tesla are very close to cracking self driving cars, where does that leave every taxi driver, bus driver, train driver, pilot and so on going forwards? Self-checkout at supermarkets, ticket machines, Siri. These are just the first wave as AI finds firmer footing, a computer has been created that has the capacity to not just think independently and problem solve but actually write its own code, so where does that leave us useless lumps of oxygen breathing meat sacks? Oxford University recently released a report suggesting the figure of 47% of jobs lost to automation could be within around 20 years and Shelly Palmer wrote about the top 5 jobs that would go the way of Old Yeller, which are not necessarily the ones you would assume. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/5-jobs-robots-take-first-shelly-palmer .
An article this morning by Calum Chace, https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/whats-wrong-ubi-calum-chace talks eloquently about a ‘post-jobs society’ where 40% of society do not have the skills to compete with machines that can do what they used to do, but better, cheaper, quicker and more efficiently. In fairness the article is more about the complete breakdown of society as nearly half the world finds itself out of work and are getting understandably a bit angsty. It’s all a little bleak if their predictions hold true, but how does anyone insulate themselves from it? How do you prepare for a future where you are trying to outrun a foe that by design is better than you in every practical way that counts?
1/ Don’t be complacent – Make yourself continually relevant. It’s no more the case that you will take a job for life, keep training, keep learning, keep developing. By pushing yourself to acquire new skills you can assay a number of roles, try new and different things, stay ahead of the curve.
2/ Make the robots your bitch – Since Cro-Magnon man we’ve shaped our world to suit us, crafting tools, spears and later AI, all with the idea of making our lives easier, robots or at least computers are tools, master how to use the tool and you can keep on the right side of it.
3/ Don’t sweat it – it’s coming, the future is now and trying to hold back the tide is futile – whatever happens next, new opportunities will be born out of it. We may not be able to see what they are from this vantage point as yet but those options will emerge.
4/ Became part of the armed resistance formed to bring about the collapse of Skynet, travel back through time and save your own mother.
Unfortunately those are the options, limited though they may be, there’s no go around, no take backs and no magic bullet – the times they are a changing and only by embracing that change and adapting to the brave new world can you remain relevant in the post job society/robot apocalypse.