We have been hearing it for centuries now. This *insert innovative new technology here* is going to take all our jobs! Well, I’m still employed, are you? This fear of innovation was probably there in the Neolithic revolution where some hunter-gatherers saw the field yielding crops and shook their heads at their own impending doom. The main problem here is that we can easily see how the previous jobs become mostly obsolete, while hindsight is typically necessary to see the new opportunities that will replace them. Who knew agriculture could go on to grow into a massive industry, employing millions of people? Well, not the hunter-gatherers.
We, arguably, find ourselves at the brink of a new evolution, one in which even our intelligence can be matched by the creations of our innovation. It’s terrifying and yet I believe that we’ll be all right. We must simply be capable of doing that which AI cannot.
Remember the Industrial Revolution? Those workers, who had initially lost their jobs to robots and automation, were quickly rehired at a much better wage to repair and build these new machines. Anyone with AI experience or the ability to develop or improve these technologies will flourish in this new marketplace.
This means that if you are in programming, cyber-security, data-science or engineering your future should be guaranteed. They have not yet built a robot who can build, code or protect itself. When that happens we can all panic again!
So in order to not be replaced by some mechanised masterpiece you need to be able to do what AI cannot. So far there are three main things which the technology is finding impossible to overcome and luckily is stuff we humans know anyway.
We saw the disaster that the chat-bots became. AI-capabilities just don’t stretch as far as social interaction and speech. Sales reps, you guys are safe. The new technology has no understanding of what is appropriate and what not and cannot build up the trust necessary to get a client to sign that big deal. The best AI could do is to spam people with new bargains. Make sure that you build up your social skills, network, make jokes and look people in the eyes so that they may see and appreciate your humanity.
Another area the novelty glitches out on is context and creativity. A bit like a young child, AI cannot see the connection between two things. That is why AI cannot write a novel or come up with a new idea. Even sitting on a table is a level of creativity that has to be coded into an AI. ‘Chair = sit on. Table is not chair… ERROR’
Any job that requires you to read into a context or do anything creative is safe. Problem solving with new ideas is a bit too advanced for these glorified calculators. They can repeat knowledge, but they cannot create anything new.
Throughout history we have gotten fatter, happier, healthier and richer. We would be appalled to see the squalor an Ancient King lived in. He had no right to sanitation and his son was sat there chewing on a rat. Technology has always brought us a higher quality of life. Don’t let this latest bit of fear-mongering get you down.