Could a computer take your job? Why it’s important to plan for the future

future of work at risk computer technology

THE FUTURE OF WORK WILL BE HEAVILY INFLUENCED BY TECHNOLOGY. ARE YOU READY TO BE REPLACED BY A COMPUTER?

I often feel fortunate that my day job involves helping organisations manage their online presence effectively.

Why? Because I’m passionate about digital tech. I’m grateful for the opportunity to get paid to make sense of something I’m really interested in.

I routinely monitor trends and issues and analyse these to work out whether they present an opportunity or risk. Studying for a crisis management-related diploma reminded me of the importance and value of doing this.

If you spot problems early enough and act quickly to fix them it’s entirely possible to stop something bad from happening, or getting worse. The internet is a great tool for this ‘issue management’ approach. But it’s also the cause of a risk I’m currently concerned about.

EXPERT WARNINGS ABOUT THE FUTURE OF WORK

Enough experts have shared similar views about the future of work to have me concerned.

To put it simply – computers are replacing brain power.

TIME TO WAKE UP

Throughout history technology has made things easier and faster for humans. While also changing the job market.

A hundred years ago you might have relied on a knocker-upper for a morning wake up call. They were replaced by alarm clocks. And then the mobile phone.

Once switchboard operators connected cables so people could speak to each other. Now we have mobile phones (which we barely even use for talking to people.)

People used to write letters which were sent through the post and were sorted and delivered by postmen/women. Then came faxing. And email.


RACE AGAINST THE MACHINE

I think it’s vital that you find out if your role is at risk. At the very least.

Experts say repetitive, high-volume tasks are those most able to be done by a machine:

  • retail/cashiers
  • customer service
  • call centre workers
  • admin/data inputting

are some such examples. I recommend you watch Anthony Goldbloom’s video to learn more.

WHICH JOBS ARE FUTURE-PROOF?

Goldbloom suggests machines aren’t (yet) able to multi-task. They can’t be as creative as humans or solve problems as well. Analysing data, gathering insight and making recommendations are strengths we have over robots.

Humans are likely to always have the same basic needs. Food. Shelter. Healthcare. In fact caring professions may be more in demand in future as society gets older on average.

There are certain situations where people will prefer dealing with people. We’re sociable by nature.

Humans bring extra benefits to some experiences, such as providing empathy or as a form of socialising. Simulated caring features of machines just won’t be the same.

GET AHEAD OF THE PACK

Given my crisis-management background I’m always someone who plans for the worst case scenario. I like to use it for motivation. To let it scare me into action.

At some point there’ll be a lot of people displaced and wondering what next. I don’t want to be left behind. Do you?

I’m aware I have a responsibility to plan for my future. This isn’t something I can rely on others, such as employers, to do.

It’s important to invest in personal development and understanding what’s happening in the world. It’s vital to work out how to future-proof your income.

THE FUTURE OF WORK WILL INCLUDE DIGITAL SKILLS

The next generation does not know life before the internet. They’re at an advantage in some respects. It’s therefore important to keep learning as an adult. This can help keep your mind healthy in old age too.

While I don’t have the answers yet I’m generally excited by the opportunities the internet offers and is creating. I hope you join me as I explore these further – find me on Twitter.

What do you think? Are you worried about the future of your industry?

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