By the year 2020, it is estimated that 85% of all customer interactions in America will be managed without a human!
As modern companies continue inventing ways to automate jobs, our workforce continues to move away from the manual labor that characterized the pre-industrial world, toward the computer-focused cognitive work that is so pervasive in our machine-driven globalized society. This trend is picking up steam, faster and faster every day. If artificial intelligence statistically leads to a lower risk of “human error”, then opting for this route seems unlikely to slow down. But remember – this artificial intelligence does not possess inherent creativity, nor does it have the ability to keep moving forward if the system fails, becomes interrupted, or gets hacked. There is no such thing as perfection, even with the best of the robots.
Why do I focus on the weaknesses of artificial intelligence? Because three of most famous tech-savvy initiators in the modern world (Bill Gates, Elon Musk, and Stephen Hawking) all have stated a mutually shared belief that artificial intelligence – or “A.I.” for short – will be an integral part of forming humanity’s future in the years to come, but is also potentially the greatest threat humanity has ever faced. This sounds like doom and gloom, but the point is that we have to be smart together and research what complements our future and what does not. In terms of technology, more than ever before there are a lot of “chefs in the kitchen” screaming to be heard and proclaiming to be an expert. Nothing is wrong with freedom of expression, but balance must be an integral part of business – otherwise we will be lost together in a gigantic cognitive traffic jam, without a way to get into the fast lane.
Who has already been affected by advancements in A.I? Office workers, medical personnel, laborers, and countless others. Already, robotics have led to revolutionary breakthroughs in industries as diverse as medical surgery, heavy industry, and visual entertainment. Automation is increasingly replacing workers in industrial sectors of commerce. Factories engaged in product packaging, food preparation, metal fabrication, and automobile creation are rapidly replacing (or eliminating) career roles that were traditionally filled by human workers and replacing them with robotics-driven automation systems. Even in places as common as grocery stores or fast food restaurants, places of business with “self check-out” counters – areas where a customer simply engages with an electronic touch screen in order to pay for the products they wish to purchase – are replacing human clerks and cashiers with computers.
What is the solution to the problem of human workers being replaced with automation?
Don’t become a robot, and fight to learn! By keeping on top of trends in technology, and continually educating yourself on advancements in computer based communications, you can create a buffer between yourself and the ever-increasing trend of automation and artificial intelligence. If you work in an area or industry that is being increasingly overtaken by automation, do constant research (and ask for feedback from others around you) to determine which other areas of work you can explore that possibly complement your initiative, so that you stay relevant in your role and not subject to replaceable automation. Or, if automation is becoming a permanent part of your business, master the skills needed to bring value to your industry by having strong analytical knowledge of the systems and programs that will be put into place, thus automatically making yourself a valuable asset in the new workplace environment. Always remember – robots and A.I. are subject to a total breakdown, but humans are not.
– Tim S. Marshall, Author of “The Power of Breaking Fear”
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