The Future of work, Artificial Intelligence and where you stand

A few years ago, I attended a seminar hosted by my University’s  Junior Chambers International chapter it was tagged “The Future of work”, Although it was more focused on trading and sock exchanged at that time. After working for a consulting firm for a couple of years and had the opportunity to live in Europe, the true meaning of the ‘Future of work’ has dramatically changed. The present reality of what the future of work now means; automated systems, work heavily dependent on the machine, software as well as robots. Research shows that half of the present human workforce is expected to be replaced by a robot in the next 20 years.

As an Human Resource person, I have personally been concerned of the implication of what this future of work is. Although, for most businesses especially big manufacturing company most of the daily operations require producing a number of X Item and in return, this X items should bring about Y profit or revenue. They have to understand how to maximize production efficiency. However, this decision to rely hugely on the machine has an opportunity cost! It means that humans cannot be programmed to achieve this type of production capacity, thus the use of the machine. For this reason, the machine would have to take your job!


Photo: Shell Station 

Looking closely at this shop at least there are 6 visible pumps which are automated, i.e they do not need an operator. And what the station needs is not even a security person, just an experience cashier who do not mind running multiple shift per week.

There are no doubt data powers a society, machines are resourceful and time-saving and human relationship management requires investing time and money. So, how do you compete with a machine that can couple or produce 300 products in one hour ?well you are not a machine that is the reality but, you can do things that the machine cannot do.

Machines cannot feel empathy: Yes, a machine cannot understand why sales are dropping neither can it helps you create intangible good will for your customers and client. So, rather than focus on the efficiency of machinery alone, think of how you can create intangible value both as a business owner or even as an employee. Remember that apart from making the profit or earning a salary, your business is there to provide a solution and not create more problems.

Break down the invisible barrier: Some of the limiting barriers to achieving extraordinary things may include leaving your comfort zone. I came across a friend who has been working as a project person for the last 10 years, working for the same company. I asked if she has done any other certification or taken a short course relating to the current trend in her field of work. She looked at me with a surprised look, as if she was going to say ‘For what ? Of course, there is a level of competency that comes with doing a task or being exposed to certain skills over a period of time. But just as technology and business have continued to evolve, you cannot afford not to continuously educate yourself. Read about current industry trend see how it may affect your business or career and take the strategic decision.

Choose to learn and unlearn: Change management process are not designed for business only. They should be incorporated into every human existing. There are no doubt we hate change and would resist it in any form. However, the truth is change always bring about the birth of new ideas, different perspective and motivation. A lot of people usually take vacation just to rejuvenate. So why not take the vacation from what you are used to. Rather than continue resuming at a job you hate, learn new skills. Feel not confident enough about your new role, take a short course or connect with someone who is an expert in such area. Even the so-called machine need someone to program it before it can work. Find out how you can create value in a competitive environment.


Photo Credit: h heyerlein

Lastly, it is obvious the machines have come to stay. I wish I can say otherwise. But as human we have to continuously developed our human relationship and business management skills. This so because, by continuously evolving and discovery new ways to solve some key economical, educational or social problems value can be created which cannot diminish. Even if you are a software engineer, because in the end. the machines would only solve problems that have been identified by humans and not by another machine.

Photo Credit: Featured image Alex Knight




Categories: The Future of Work

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