By Scott Vollero
Are the robots coming for your job? It is a known fact that robots have been replacing some factory workers in jobs once reserved for humans. Robots can perform tasks faster and cheaper on assembly lines than their human counterparts. Now we have machines replacing cashiers and even taking the place of drivers in our cars. Robot traders access over 80 percent of stock markets, and over a half-million robotic surgeries are performed each year.
The robots are just getting started. As many as 45 percent of the activities that human employees are now paid to perform on a daily basis could be automated with a few adaptations to currently demonstrated technologies. If the trend continues at the current rate, the World Economic Forum has predicted that artificial intelligence (AI) and robots will take over 5 million jobs traditionally held by humans by the year 2020.
Is It Time to Panic?
Panic would be a bit premature at this point in time. History tells us that technology is a job creator, not a job destroyer. Reference the Industrial Revolution in any history book if you need specific details. Even then, workers worried about the introduction of mechanization stealing jobs. It turns out that jobs weren’t stolen from humans, but the workforce was shifted in a new direction. Technology is actually attributed with the creation of more jobs than it destroyed in the last 144 years. The introduction of mechanization actually saved people from dull, mind-numbing repetitive and dangerous work.
AI Still Needs Us
Artificial intelligence may be smart but it still needs humans to input the code that makes it work and to build the machines that house it. This need can lead to new waves of innovation and create jobs that pay more to keep it going. With the surge in technology, we should be focusing on training and educating displaced workers with the skills they’ll need to keep up with the jobs of the future.
Preparing for the Coming AI
As AI technologies grow and develop, there will undoubtedly be some workers that are displaced. But the fact is that the need for a human labor force is no closer to be eliminated today that it was in centuries past. In the end, AI will play a major role in transforming the American economy for the better. It has the potential to drive productivity to unprecedented levels and free up humans to focus on more meaningful activities.
It is the responsibility of all of us, whether we are in the labor force or sitting in the CEO’s office, to prepare ourselves for the future. Technology is changing rapidly and the skills needed today could be worthless tomorrow. Evolving our skills to match the demands of the market should be seen as a welcome challenge.
Providing training for currently employed workers to move forward with the growing technology is a paramount function of business today. It is also necessary that the unemployed be trained to face the changing jobs market as the use of AI spreads through our factories and businesses.
AI should not be seen as a threat to your career. Rather, it should be viewed as a motivational factor to guide you toward the next level of employment in your chosen field. You may possess the skills necessary for the job you’re doing now, but if you aren’t willing to change with the times as technology flows along, you could end up falling behind. Stay relevant by never losing your drive to improve your marketable skills. Instead of fearing for your job because of AI, use it to push yourself to reach for you own new heights.