Are Robots Really Taking Over? 3 Tips to Stay Relevant in Tomorrow’s Workplace
From self-driving cars to Amazon’s Alexa, artificial intelligence (AI) is transforming the way we interact with devices and has created an environment of constant change in the process. These advancements and continuous innovations are predicted to disrupt markets for the foreseeable future, leading to increased automation in the workplace, which will impact every industry.
To further demonstrate the predicted impact of AI, check out the below statistics that shed light on how the future of AI is expected to shift the workplace over the next 10-20 years:
- According to a report by PwC, over the next 15 years “38% of jobs in the U.S. are at high risk of being replaced by AI.”- Forbes
- McKinsey predicts that “half of today’s work activities could be automated by 2055, or in more extreme scenarios, up to 20 years earlier.” – McKinsey Report
- Citing various studies, it is expected that “39% of jobs in the legal sector could be automated in the next 10 years” and that “accountants have a 95% chance of losing their jobs to automation in the future.” Fast Company
- It is “estimated that 47 percent of current jobs, including insurance underwriter, sports referee and loan officer, are at risk of falling victim to automation, perhaps within a decade or two.” New York Times
While that may just sound like a lot of scary statistics about our obsolescence as human workers, we know the rise of AI is a true opportunity versus something to be afraid of. The secret to embracing these predictions lies in maintaining a forward-thinking approach, embracing technology and innovation, and looking for opportunities to stay relevant.
To help, consider following the below three tips, designed to better prepare you and your employees for the workplace of the future.
Tip 1: Make Learning a Constant
It’s impossible to know the full impact that AI will have on the future workplace, but one thing is certain—the rate of technological advancements is rapid and not easy to predict.
Think about it this way—”every twelve to eighteen months, computers double their capabilities, and so do the information technology that uses them”—and that’s just over the course of a calendar year (The Emerging Future). If we extend that timeline, here’s what we can anticipate:
“Forty years out, with technology a trillion times more advanced than today, we will be so far away from our current knowledge base that it is pure guesswork as to what will be going on…This is the time period that “The Singularity” is supposed to occur. This means that bio, nano, robotic and computer technology will become so rapid, so advanced, and so profound that today’s limited understanding does not allow us to describe, within reason, what life will be like.” – The Emerging Future
What does this mean for today’s workers? First and foremost, learning must be constant across all position levels, from C-suite executives to support staff. Given the unpredictable future of AI and its impact on the workplace, employees have to “squash the common notion of education ending at age 22” if they want to remain relevant, and the C-suite must “invest heavily in continuous education programs for employees if they want to keep the business moving forward” (Fortune).
Takeaway: Find opportunities to challenge yourself, dip your toes, and experiment—whenever possible. From webinars and online courses to workshops and testing out new software programs, ongoing learning can better position you as a relevant employee for years to come.
Tip 2: Invest in Your Humanity
A proactive way to approach this tip is to not focus on how technology will eliminate high-volume tasks that can be automated, but instead ask the question: “Which human jobs will no longer exist, which human jobs will be created thanks to technological advancements, and which jobs will always belong to humans?”
Many new technologies will require human involvement in some capacity, and without the required human support for AI implementation and training, it will nearly impossible for companies to “go all-in on AI without balancing the investment ratio between technology and human workers” (Entrepreneur).
In general, it’s safe to assume that technology will disrupt many jobs for many people. However, the good news is that there’s an upside. For example, technology has the potential to provide more flexibility for talented people, as well as add career longevity by putting off retirement for others. Smart employees and smart employers will be on the lookout for these technology advancements, as they look to make career shifts ahead of these changes.
Takeaway: Despite the inability to fully predict the future of AI and its impact on automation in the workplace, employees are smart to seek opportunities for skills training sooner rather than later.
Tip 3: Sharpen Your “Human” Skills
While we can predict that certain jobs will be replaced by AI, we can also predict that other jobs will still require human involvement. This prediction is especially applicable in fields like technology, healthcare, and creative, where human direction will be still be vital because of the need and ability to understand relationship dynamics, which is a key component to the decision making process.
For example, let’s consider our industry, Human Resources. While AI has made some aspects of HR more efficient, like the ability to quickly sort 1,000s of applications, streamline the onboarding process, and automate tasks like payroll and job postings, the HR field will still require human work for the foreseeable future and should not be neglected. Why? Because “HR directors know their employees and their organization in ways AI software doesn’t…from making the final hiring decisions to finding creative ways to keep workers engaged” (Talent Culture).
Takeaway: Regardless if you work in HR or in another industry, it’s important to remember that while “we still don’t know if robots will help us or hurt us in the long run, it’s safe to say that if you cultivate your essential human abilities, a robot will have a hard time replacing you” (Inc.).