When we think of the changing nature of work today, we might not immediately associate it with Artificial Intelligence or Machine Learning. While some are actively adapting to these changes, others are still a little worried about the consequences.
Perhaps, one of you just thought, "Losing a job ten years ago was different from losing one now." Maybe it was. Maybe it wasn't. For there has always been someone lurking in the shadows competing for the position, someone more efficient, more learned, more skilled. The result - you are no longer needed. But this time, it won't just be a human that you'll pitch yourself against. It could potentially be a robot.
As artificial intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning have advanced, so has the nature of work that continues to change and evolve. There are certain tasks in the workplace where human labour is no longer necessary partially or completely.
I mean, you must be thinking - will my career interest be automated too? Is my passion on the verge of being transitioned through technological advancements? Or what can I do as a 16-year-old to make my career automation-proof?
As it turns out, a lot.
Automation is Accelerated
Of course, automation is bound to affect two major categories – the ones who already are in the workforce and those who will soon be a part of the future workforce. Fortunately, you need not be an expert at everything. However, as a high school student, you'll have to know about the occupations that'll be entirely or partially automated in the years to come. Then you'll also have to learn about the new emerging job opportunities that will change the way we work forever. And technology will continue to create more jobs like it always has.
So, is there a need to 'Re-think your Career Interest'?
Several articles have been written on "The Future of Work," and most of it is meant to sound depressing. Research after research provides one with the prediction of automation that will replace the human workforce, causing millions to lose their jobs. In fact, as per the 2017 McKinsey study, found that only 5% of the jobs in the US could be completely automated, as opposed to 60% of American jobs that could be partially automated. Leaving humans to be - 'Humans.' Although the study confirms the surge in these potential shifts to happen over a decade across industry verticals, automation has already unleashed its power in certain areas of work. Mainly the tasks that are repetitive, monotonous, and can be easily learned. Find out what are the chances of a robot taking your job.
Then how do I become better than Artificial Intelligence or Machine Learning?
Remember the time when you did try and did something different. Perhaps, learned something new only to boast or be ahead of the game from your fellow friend or roommate. One where you challenged each other while trying to get better than before. Only to prove "I am better." So, back then, sometimes the word “I” meant another fellow human, and in the future - "I" will likely refer to another robot. The idea is still the same. But only this time you'll have to do better than a robot. Simply by learning skills such as critical thinking, creative problem solving, empathy, cognitive agility, ability to analyse complex insights, last but not least strong communication, and listening. And you’ll have to keep learning new skills because to survive in the age of enhanced efficiency and productivity, the workforce today has to upskill to stay relevant up to the very minute to protect their jobs. And so, will you.
If and when automation is deployed on a large scale - how hard will it be to choose the right career in your lives?
Could you imagine staying afloat with just a couple of skills in the future of varied needs? Yes, we are living in the midst of another great speedup. One that is driven by technological advancements and co-dependencies of the economy on digitization. The Fourth Industrial Revolution has brought advances in Artificial Intelligence, Cloud Computing, Machine learning, among other technologies, and promises to provide new job roles that haven't been heard of. As the extent of automation will continue to vary across industry verticals, career options and skill levels will be tried and tested in the years to come. So, it is imperative to develop the skills which may or may not align with your career interest at the moment but will be in demand in the future of work.
Automation will not happen overnight. Even though it won't for a while, but as long as technology continues to evolve, so will the skills required to complement those changes. The changes that will occur at their own pace. And while it does, you still have time to prepare for the unknown. Because re-evaluating your career interests for the future at an early stage is the - 'Call of the Wise.'