Something we’ve been hearing more about is concerns about automation and artificial intelligence taking over jobs. It seems that, one way or another, robots are coming to take your job, and there’s nothing you can do about it? But this isn’t necessarily true. In this article, I will share some tips on how to future-proof your career against automation and AI.
Whenever I hear the word automation, memories from my days as a massage therapist come rushing back. Newly married, building a home while providing for my family and siblings, this job was necessary. One day, the company brought in a massaging chair—an electronic device that mimicked hands moving across muscles—we were all ecstatic!
My passion vanished almost immediately when one of my clients had enjoyed themselves so much while using the chair.
He proclaimed to me, “Maria, you’re useless. You’ve been replaced by a chair. “
We both laughed, but his words pierced through every inch of my being. I couldn’t shake off how right he had been. What does this mean for me? What did this mean for my family, who relied on me financially? Not only did this mean my services were less valuable than before. But it also meant I’d let down the rest of my family too. Without me, they wouldn’t be able to provide for themselves or even put food on the table. That tore me apart.
Finding my way of dealing with being replaced by a machine
Being a problem solver from the time I was seven years old, it didn’t take me long to jump into solution mode. As opposed to worrying about losing my job, I focused on ways of making myself more valuable. Considering the tasks that were being performed by the tool, it became clear where my strengths lay. I had a realization of how tired the repetitive motions of giving massages made me. While it meant that people were less tense and feeling better, it wore me out beyond words. I started looking at the advantages this machine provided and then added my human touch to complement it. With more time on my hands, I found that there were always new ways to make people happy—whether they wanted someone to chat with while getting their hair done or someone who wanted a relaxing head massage while having their nails done.
As time went on, I explored other ways to automate less enjoyable tasks like booking appointments and sending follow-ups. This greatly increased our efficiency and made the organization very profitable. I became an essential asset to the company, which led me to become a co-owner. I went on to open and run two spas that combined old-school treatments with newer, innovative technologies.
Should you be worried about machines taking over your job?
In its simplest form, automation is the use of machines to do tasks that have traditionally been done by human beings. This can range from something as small as using a dishwasher to clean your dishes, to large-scale industrial processes that use robots to assemble products. I am aware that many people worry about whether or not their jobs will still exist in this era of automation. However, automating certain aspects of life has been going on since the dawn of technological times, and we loved it! Think back to the days when you mowed your own lawn before you got an automatic lawnmower! Nowadays, most people would rather let someone else take care of it. So, automating or replacing certain tasks may seem like nothing new after all, except that this time we are talking about our work instead of just cleaning up.
Job safety is one of the key concerns when it comes to automation and AI in the workplace. After all, if machines could do our jobs faster and cheaper, why wouldn’t companies want to replace us? Of course, many low-skill jobs are at risk of being replaced by machines or AI soon. It is understandable why some people are concerned. However, there are some things you can do to future-proof your career against automation.
Steps on how to future-proof your career against automation and AI
Firstly, focus on developing skills that are difficult to automate, such as creativity, critical thinking, and emotional intelligence.
Think about what other skills you could develop or learn that would greatly enhance your career. Developing new skills not only gives you new abilities but will help keep you competitive in a changing market. If nothing else, having multiple skill sets ensures that no matter what happens in the workplace, you’ll be able to adapt.
Be flexible and open-minded and be prepared to adapt to change and learn new skills as the workplace evolves.
Looking for ways to add value beyond your job description is an easy way to stay ahead of the curve.
Stay up-to-date with the latest technology trends. The best way to prepare yourself for a future where automation and AI have taken over is by being proactive!
Finally, avoid getting caught up in nostalgia for a world without automation. With sufficient planning and forward-thinking, it is possible to maintain a fulfilling and prosperous career into the foreseeable future. Plus, in many cases, there are things about human labor that automation just can’t replace, like empathy and creativity. These qualities should be leveraged with everything we’ve got if we’re going to compete with computers.
Thank you for reading. Do you have any additional advice on how to future-proof your career against automation and AI? Do you have concerns or any thoughts? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below. I would love to hear what you think.
About Maria Mac Andrew
I am a writer, social impact entrepreneur and I advocate for AI Ethics, diversity and Inclusion as well as equal access to AI technologies. I am the current COO of Adashe and Also COO and co-founder of AI ethics world.
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