How Can Businesses Stay Relevant in a Robotic World?
If you're a lawyer, banker, doctor, accountant, marketer, you may be on the path to become obsolete
In ancient times, the land was the most important asset. When too much of land got concentrated into a few hands, the society split into classes – Kings and commoners.
Then in modern times, during the last century, the most important asset was immovable property such as factories and machines. When too much of this property got concentrated in a few hands, the society was again split into classes - capitalist and proletariat.
Today, data is the most important asset. Now when too much of data gets concentrated in a few hands, the society will not just divide into classes but into two species – humans and robots.
Big Technology companies have disrupted everything from commerce (Amazon) to relationships (Facebook) and media (Google and Facebook). The Top 4 data technology companies in the world are worth more than the GDP of France.
The World is going to change in the next 20 years faster than it has in the last 200 years. The speed with which this transformation is happening is exponential. What worked yesterday will be outdated today and will be forgotten tomorrow. Science fiction has now become a Science fact. Microsoft took 22 years to reach a billion users, Gmail took 12 years, Facebook 9 years and Angry Bird only 35 days.
A Workplace Revolution
Only 15 years ago, no one knew about social media; today 35 million people are employed in this industry. The world is going through a workplace revolution that will bring a seismic shift in the way humans work. According to research by the World Economic Forum, by 2025 more than half of all current workplace tasks will be performed by machines and 70 percent of new jobs in 2030 have not been even invented yet.
Artificial intelligence is getting better and better at automating things that humans do. Not just repetitive tasks like assembling parts in a factory, but complex tasks that have traditionally been the domain of humans. Pretty soon, these machine agents will take all the jobs. Human needs do not apply.
If you’re a lawyer, banker, doctor, accountant, marketer, you may be on the path to becoming obsolete. If your business is built on routine, it’s going to be replaced. The next few years will see the rise of data architects, drone operators, AI supervisors.
How Can Human Operated Businesses Survive?
The next era will see routine tasks converted into automated repetitive processes. This also means that anything that cannot be digitized or automated, will become immensely valuable.
All “human only” jobs are going to be very powerful. After all, Artificial Intelligence is no substitute for natural stupidity. So the question is what is extremely human about us? Some important keywords here-
- Personal Observations
- In-depth Understanding
- Sense of context,
- Imagination and Creativity
In order to prepare for that future, we need to emphasize developing higher-order thinking and emotional skills.
There are three elementary ideas for improving our prospects in the future of work:
Learn to Tell Stories: A lot of businesses stay relevant because they can tell a good story every single time. Machines aren’t very good at storytelling beyond rote reports. Telling engaging and creative stories is essential if you want to collaborate effectively with other humans.
Build Creative Networks: A lot of people think creativity can’t be learned; you either have it, or you don’t. But that’s not true. Creativity is a process, it’s a matter of discipline. For example, taking regular reflective breaks, going for walks and making time for unstructured play(yes, even for adults!) have been shown to boost creativity.
Invent New Ways of Selling: Selling is an inherently human trait, and it’s an incredibly important one. It is not just about selling products but also selling yourself, your ideas, and convincing others to get on board with you. Mastering the basic concepts of sales involves a whole lot of human qualities: understanding psychology, listening and asking questions, empathizing with others, and finding creative solutions to problems. These activities have so much scope for inventing newer ways of selling.
Replace or Get Replaced
The advent of agriculture put hunters and gatherers out of business. Then industrial farming put farmers out of business. But each time technology ate one type of job; new ones appeared to take their place. Human ingenuity did its thing, we adapted, and we survived to live (and work) another century.
This time, we need to double down on our humanity. Technical skills will undoubtedly remain important in the future of work, but as AI allows us to automate repetitive tasks across many industries, these will in many cases take a back seat to soft skills.
Quantum computing, virtual reality, Artificial Intelligence, etc will impact our society in an unprecedented way. Yet, you can’t download happiness ever and there will never be an app for trust.
A bigger problem today is not machines taking over but that humans acting like machines. Remember customer care service lines?
We need to Re-align technology with a clear eye view of human nature because of technology changes, human biology does not.
Societies can be driven by technology but can only be defined by humanity.
The article was originally published at entrepreneur.com.