While the old tagline “innovate or die” comes to mind when exploring the idea of artificial intelligence, it’s important to note that for future careers, individuals will need to innovate, adapt and force change (or face extinction, as dramatic as that may sound).
The big question on many people’s lips when it comes to the future, is whether careers and jobs are going to survive automation. For example, there is certainly a great deal of hysteria in the Australian market around automation, with one government report citing that 44% of Australian jobs were “under threat".
After the artcle was released, Australians threw their hands in the air and gathered their pitchforks looking to blame anyone who embraced Artificial Intelligence (AI) or automation. And yet, automation is here to stay, and if you’re looking to ensure that your career survives, there are a few simple tips that you need to keep in mind.
Let’s cast our minds back to the pre-Google days
It wasn’t that long ago that industries faced similar challenges. In an article published in 1960 — Marketing Myopia — marketing guru Theodore Levitt, challenged people to look at the big picture; "People don’t want a quarter-inch drill. They want a quarter-inch hole!” Levitt gave an example of the US transcontinental rail networks, which was arguably one of the biggest, most exciting businesses during the gold rush. It was supposedly an industry and investment that 'couldn't fail'. But it did — thanks to the motorcar. While an industry may be the best and biggest, it will only retain that title for a while.
Why did major industries such as oil and rail networks fail? Because they focused on what they were producing, not what solution they were providing. They misinterpreted what business they were in; they failed to look at what the customers were looking for and ‘move with the times’, which in today’s automation age is a timely lesson to be aware of.
Tips for surviving the automation age
The key for the future of employment is not ‘if’ your career will be affected by technology, but ‘how’ it will be affected.
Staying at the forefront of innovation and development in your industry, and harnessing the power of technology to your advantage will most likely make your current role obsolete. But — and this is a big 'but' — it will also create new and exciting opportunities for you.
Here’s a few tips for surviving automation in your career:
Digital markets are continuously evolving and changing. Keep up to speed by learning and educating yourself on all of the latest improvements.
Take steps to improve your skills and understand technology
It’s difficult to understand all the ‘ins’ and ‘outs’ of technology. However, you should always be curious and ensure that you challenge your skill set by going outside your comfort zone.
Technology is changing at lightning speed, making it critical for you to continuously improve and grow your skill set so that you can keep up with technology for career and personal development.
Focus on science and technology
Careers that might be affected by automation include agriculture roles, postal work, sewing machine operation, data entry, word processing and switchboard operation — roles that can all be easily replicated.
However, the wave of automation is creating plenty of opportunities in the areas of new business, the creative arts, technology science, and maths. You can choose to focus on these careers as a mode of survival.
Intelligent machines are taking over many processes and jobs that might have been carried out by humans in the past. However, there are still plenty of jobs and careers that simply can’t be automated.
Embracing virtual environments and automation
Just as Freelancer.com has helped millions of freelancers to create a career from the comfort of their own home, virtual environments have become the workplace of the future.
Automation will mean there will be a huge demand for individuals in the IT sector. This includes demand for: information security analysts, big data analysts, artificial intelligence specialists, app developers, web developers, database admins, business intelligence analysts, and online designers.
Other on-demand jobs that will continue to lead us into the future include: engineers, lawyers, artists, writers, project managers, therapists, psychologists, health services, teachers, sales reps and building contractors. Those careers will never go 'out of fashion' — for now.
The key to getting in front of innovation is to become a part of it. If you are setting yourself up for a career in working on a production line or in another low skilled job, your future career prospects may not look that good. But if you are looking to jump on the wave of innovation by embracing technology and the evolving world of artificial intelligence, you’ll be onto a winner.