Tomorrow's Jobs Are Today's Opportunities
Humans are irreplaceable as long as we continue to reinvent ourselves and upgrade our skills.
As a mother, I am deeply invested in my child’s education. Whether it be Ballet, Taekwondo, Mandarin language, or painting. I meticulously plan every minute of her life to ensure she is equipped with the skills that she needs to face an uncertain, and challenging future.
Her schedule is planned similar to that of an army general planning an attack on a foreign country. Thought-out with Military precision!
I find that my friends also are very invested in their children and have started planning what their children’s futures would look like.
Awhile back, as I was chatting with a good friend of mine, she mentioned that despite all the preparations and extra classes her daughter takes, at the end of the day everything will be taken over by robots and machines and she feels disheartened.
We then discussed how we have been seeing more robots taking on human jobs with simple things such as self-checkout counters at the grocery stores or McDonald’s having self-service kiosks where customers no longer need to go to the cashier to place their orders.
I began to wonder, is humanity doomed? Will all of our jobs be automated?
If you’ve read my article How AI is Affecting the Way Doctors Treat Patients, then you know that I’m not a believer that AI, robots, or machines will completely take over human jobs. More than ever we are seeing that computers and machines come with flaws. They can be hacked, malfunctioned, and can only function based on their programming.
Commander Data of Star Trek has proven that no matter how advanced a synthetic life is, it will never be able to have any emotions, empathy, and humanity.
Now let’s think about this more thoroughly, how long has humanity existed?
We’ve put men on the Moon and have supercomputers such as smartphones in the palm of our hands. Yet still, people are willing to pay Millions of Dollars for paintings created by Old Masters such as Rembrandt. The Sistine Chapel is still unbeatable, and around the world, people are still playing Moonlight Sonata and Fur Elise.
Call me an optimist but there are just somethings that robots and machines cannot and will never be able to do no matter how much advancement, data, and logic mankind puts into them.
People seem to be looking at things all wrong when it comes to AI and robots. We seem to have a fear that computers will take something away from us instead of seeing it for what it truly is.
An opportunity for us, humans, to evolve into something better as well.
Currently, in China, mining companies have begun using robots for excavation, using the 5G network. This ensures that miners no longer have to be exposed to dangerous elements and conditions while excavating the mines. The excavators are controlled remotely and the miners or operators can operate them from a distance in comfortable offices. Even the mining cars and trucks have no drivers and are operated remotely.
On the other side of the world, Dubai has become home to the largest 3D printed two-story building in the world. 3D printing has been used to make affordable housings in the past. It was an efficient and cost-effective way to build homes. For the two-story building in Dubai, the cost of the 3D building was approximately a third of building a regular two-story building.
What we need to bear in mind is that with all these efficiencies and technologies, there are also opportunities. The excavators in the mining company in China had the opportunity to upgrade their skills from regular manual drivers to digital operators of the mining cars, trucks, and other equipment needed in an excavation. For the workers in Dubai, it also means that traditional workers have the chance to upgrade their skills and operate the 3D printing machines as opposed to doing the manual labor work of laying bricks one after the other.
Let’s remind ourselves that change is imminent. Some examples of jobs that have disappeared from the past are royal scribes, switchboard operators, and typists (yes, this was a real thing, people were paid to type letters, notes, memos using typewriters).
By fearing AI and technology, we are hindering progress. Instead of fearing change we should embrace it and upgrade ourselves with new and much-needed skills to be able to utilize, operate, and compete with things that are automated.
At the beginning of the 20th century, Henry Ford’s assembly line was the epitome of modern machinery, similar to the typewriter. At one time somebody must’ve said “Wow, this typewriter is so advanced! I can barely keep up”. Then, in 2011 the last typewriter factory in the world closed. It could no longer keep up competing with computers. Nobody uses carbon copies anymore. I had to use it till a few years back when five separate offices needed a copy of the memo. And yes the papers were colored white, yellow, pink, blue and green…..Give this same memo paper, carbon paper, and typewriter to a Millennial and I’m sure they won’t know what to do with it. The same goes for telephones and having to dial extensions.
Technology will keep evolving. So instead of fearing it, why don’t we embrace the change?
When I worked at a PR agency in 2014, social media promotion was optional for clients and was still in its infancy. Normally, the clients would opt out since the main focus would be to get an advertisement on television or in a magazine. But today, social media is the main focus of almost all businesses.
This has lead to new opportunities such as digital marketing, SEO, SEM, content marketing with new jobs being available such as “Digital Marketing Manager”, “Content Manager”, “Social Media Manager”, and “SEO Manager”.
None of these things was a real job a few years back.
If you asked someone in the marketing or PR field how to get more traction for their brand, our answer at that time would mostly be TV advertisement or influencer engagement via brand Ambassador. This would then be accompanied by pitching to publications and some type of event. Today, every company and brand wants someone tech-savvy to be part of their team, regardless of what role you’re in.
What this means is that there is a big opportunity for growth. So instead of fearing change, let’s embrace it and prepare for a wonderful future where no one has to risk their lives and their health just to do an honest day’s work.