Will AI Take Over Your Career? Not if you use AI to your advantage and develop the right competencies.
Many people are worried about their future career prospects in a world dominated by AI, but with the right mindset and focus, anybody can thrive in it.
ChatGPT is in everybody’s mouths, but is the AI threat real?
ChatGPT is the fastest-growing app ever, reaching 100 million users in its first two months. ChatGPT, Google Bard and other generative AI systems seem capable of doing more tasks that, only a few months ago, everybody thought were reserved for humans only.
Many people are worried about their jobs, and they should be.
AI will only get better from here, never worse, so people are right to be worried.
Will we end like horses at the beginning of the 20th century when they were displaced by cars and tractors? Or will AI and robots usher in a new golden era of productivity and job enhancement?
Technology will disrupt the job market like never before, but with the right mindset, skills and focus, it is possible to thrive in this new world dominated by machines.
The AI Threat
Some people argue that technology has disrupted the job market before, but it has always ended up creating more and better jobs.
Others say this time is different; this time for real.
Who is right?
Since the Luddites broke industrial machinery in the 18th and 19th centuries for fear of losing their jobs to them, people have worried about technology negatively impacting employment. This fear has generally been unfounded, as technology has eliminated low-value-added jobs and has created new, more added-value ones.
The net result was always positive.
Artificial Intelligence is different, some people say. The key is in the word “intelligence”. If AI is really intelligent, it will do more and more jobs that are only suited to human beings in all industries until there are no more jobs left for humans to do.
It may take years or decades, but the end result will be the same: AI will do all the jobs, and there won’t be much else for us lousy human beings to do.
The AI threat is real.
Researchers don’t seem to agree on the data and on making predictions of the future, but some of the stats out there are sobering. For example, Zippia tells us that “AI could take the jobs of as many as one billion people globally and make 375 million jobs obsolete over the next decade”.
Surfing the AI wave
AI has improved a lot, especially in the last couple of years.
Through automation, it has slowly but firmly encroached on many of the tasks that were the sole reserve of humans.
But we are still far from the moment when AI will have the capability to take over most of the jobs currently done by human beings. When that happens, we may enter an age of abundance, which wouldn’t be such a bad thing if you asked me.
As Arthur C. Clarke said, “The goal of the future is full unemployment, so we can play”.
It would be great to be able to play and dedicate your time to leisure and creativity. A world without work would have its own unique challenges and issues, but we’ll leave that discussion for another day.
Before we get there, though, if ever, we need to navigate the disruptive environment AI is creating right now, in the present.
We will have to surf the AI wave.
It will be a challenging wave to surf, but it is definitively surfable.
There are two ways to avoid the AI threat and navigate the disruption it will create in the job market: to make AI your friend and to develop skills AI cannot easily replace.
Make AI your friend
AI can be your friend if you know how to use it.
Everybody is talking about Chat GPT and how it can do many things the same way as human beings. The truth is, it is still a rather poor substitute for human skill in writing, but it can be helpful, nevertheless.
Use ChatGPT or similar systems as an intern fully dedicated to you. They are not at the same skill level as you, but they can do some basic work for you.
For example, I use ChatGPT to help with my writing. I ask it to provide possible outlines for articles or propose different headlines, first lines or closing lines. I don’t let ChatGPT do the writing for me, but it’s an excellent way to get new ideas.
ChatGPT has enhanced my job as a writer without replacing me, and I hope it doesn’t do so any time soon.
The issue with this approach is that, as explained above, AI is improving every day, and we haven’t evolved much in the last hundred thousand years. We will reach a time when AI will be better than us in whatever we do. It may take one year, a decade, or a hundred years, I don’t know, but we will get there one day.
That’s why it is more sustainable to focus on the second solution.
Develop skills and competencies AI will not easily replace
There is something AI will have difficulty doing better than us, and that’s being human.
We are human; after all, they aren’t. We make silly mistakes, we forget things, and our emotions dominate us. We are also creative, caring, and purposeful.
To beat AI, you need to tap into your humanity and humanness.
How do you do that?
You need to focus on the following:
– Emotional intelligence: understanding your and other people’s emotions, having empathy, self-awareness, etc.
– Creativity: AI can create beautiful things, but it lacks human creativity with real meaning. It doesn’t know why it does things. Its creations don’t have a higher meaning or purpose.
– Purpose and meaning: only you can have a life purpose that goes beyond your personal self-interest, focused on helping others and finding meaning in life. Machines have a purpose, but this is utilitarian, not spiritual.
Modern society is making us increasingly like alienated robots or machines, but the solution lies elsewhere.
The solution to the AI threat is not to become more like a machine but to tap into our humanness and humanity.
We need to be more human to beat the machines.
Overcoming the AI threat
Jules Verne said, “In consequence of inventing machines, men will be devoured by them”.
Verne was a prescient man. He predicted many things in his 19th-century science fiction books, like our trips to the moon or submarines. Let’s hope he is wrong this time and machines help us live better lives but don’t devour us.
For that, we need to use AI to our own advantage and develop competencies that machines cannot easily replace.
We need to be more human to beat the machines.
For that, we need to focus on our continuous personal growth and work on our emotional intelligence, creativity, and our purpose. Develop these qualities and find a job that requires any or all three of these to succeed.
Do that, and you will be fine, at least for a few decades.
After that, all the bets are off.
Read more: The Meaning of Life in a World Without Work