Informed in one way or another, we all await for the faraway future to welcome robots on a grand scale. But robots are coming faster than we can tell. In fact, robots are already here and now it’s the best time to start preparing yourself for what once seemed only a distant possibility on the horizon.
We had a poignant but necessary history lesson about the first time machines took over jobs from people. Similarly, a new lesson won’t be pleasant for the unprepared worker. Therefore, if you want to think middle and long-term, it’s time to train your coping skills about the age of the fourth industrial revolution when robots take a stronger hold on our lives. Despite this murky start, this is not an apocalyptic review, we’ll get to more of the bright side at the end.
In case you were wondering when will that be, don’t hold your breath for too long. It’s beginning now.
I see it everywhere – the buzz about robots, artificial intelligence, Universal Basic Income (UBI), and the accompanying job changes. If you are just a bit like me and read entrepreneurial, business, tech or finance magazines then you can make use of the book “Jobs for Robots” in more than one way. Even if your common literature is mainstream lifestyle magazines, you probably haven’t missed an article or two about robotics and automation. I guess you’ve used a kiosk or talked to Alexa – in that case, you’ve interacted with a robot.
Ever used a self-service checkout machine? Have you considered that behind the simple DIY cashier is a human who has lost a job? The latter may be or may not be true. After all, many cashiers are now customer service agents in a different way, focusing more on the human interaction aspect of the job.
But for many jobs of the current present, the science of robotics is working on their replacements or improvements. Many jobs are forever lost at the same time while new ones are being created. Some jobs will thrive and others won’t survive at all. What’s Schenker’s stance on the doomy-gloomy vs. the utopian outlook on robots?
It is somewhere in-between Robocalypse and Robotopia, and he seems to know what he is talking about.
Jason Schenker is an authoritative predictor of economic and social trends and comes with a long list of degrees, certifications, and references from reputable sources. Even if you don’t agree with him about everything – and I don’t, for example, I find his view on UBI too conservative and restrictive – you will reap a lot of benefits from listening to his tips about making yourself irreplaceable in the robotics era.
Building on his past experience in predictive economics, the meaningful insights picked up in past work, and a comprehensive list of web resources on the topic at hand, Schenker gives several clues to help you sail to the other side of the robotics age.
You will become more aware of how job trends are interdependent with tax policies, social security, debt, new technologies, as well as how past economic cycles repeat, and how to learn from them. Jobs with a human touch are not jeopardized. If you are in healthcare, you are most likely to thrive in the future. But many low-skill, low-income, and low-education jobs will disappear – so there is a risk if you belong to one of the occupations under these categories.
One example of substantial transformation is jobs in transportation, including a very well known robot – the driverless car. As another example of human-replacing machines, Schenker mentions kiosks – for cupcakes even – and positions them in the future work as machines people will be happy to use.
Finally, I’m not so happy with Schenker’s saying “Busy people are happy people” because he connects happiness to having something to do.
Many busy people are anxious people, using their jobs as anxiety drivers or curtains, and are very unhappy. I wouldn’t give someone a job only to keep that person so occupied as to not be able or have time to notice their misery!
Future automation jobs will require education and you need to prepare for a steep learning curve. In a nutshell, Schenker’s advice to survive in the automation era comes down to three elements: work in an evergreen industry, learn valuable skills, and keep moving from jobs, companies, and locations.
It’s a book that gives yes to novelty and alertness, and no to complacency, a proven tactic for growth and avoiding unpleasant circumstances such as getting fired or becoming redundant.