The incessant pace of technology has birthed powerful tools for self-education and enrichment. At the same time, the perilous pace of progress renders some skillsets outmoded. In a recent Oxford study entitled The Future of Employment, researchers found that 47% of jobs are at risk of becoming computerized, including formerly secure careers in transportation, administration, and law.
Securing employment will become an exceedingly arduous task as we move into the future. As automation looms before us, so does economic uncertainty. In order to weather both, a wide array of skills must be attained. Luckily, there are some skills you can acquire to steel yourself against the ups and downs of a changing society. There are evergreen skills that once learned, may shield you from robot and recession alike.
Here are four skills that may help you brace yourself for the next wave of automation:
- Social intelligence
Over the past few decades, automation has claimed millions of jobs. Advancements in artificial intelligence could claim many more, as machines gain the ability to perform a broader range of complex tasks. While we have endowed machines with the ability to perform a variety of tasks, we have been unsuccessful in passing down human perceptiveness. What composes human perception and social intuition is somewhat uncertain to us, and therefore, impossible for us to mimic in software.
Smart software is far from being able to replicate human emotion or interact with genuine warmth, caring, or consideration. In other words, robots can’t relate. Therefore, to stay relevant in one’s profession in the coming decade, hone your persuasive speaking skills, speaking candidly with civility, empathy, and grace.
- Creative thinking
Creativity is at the core of innovation, and innovation is always in demand. Creative thinking is the process by which we connect seemingly disparate information and synthesize solutions. This sounds simple enough, but it remains a distinctly human activity. Machines are able to produce reports and predictions; these predictions aren’t of much use without humans creating plans and strategies based on them. Collaboration and creativity are intricate tasks that humans will still perform better than robots in the near future.
- Software development
Instead of fighting automation, help usher it in. Machine and deep learning software applications are booming and, at the moment, the complex software that powers advanced machines needs to be created, tweaked, and maintained by humans. Assist in building the next application for creating smart machines, utilizing open courseware and learning everything you can about the latest in data analysis and artificial intelligence.
Recessions, depressions, and waves of automations can all be survived if you are devoted to maximizing your adaptability. There’s no clear trajectory of the global economy or artificial intelligence, therefore the most useful skill to acquire is the ability to use the environment to your advantage, whatever that environment may be.
In order to adapt, you must be willing to be open to any and all things, pivoting when necessary. When a recession hits, you must search for the options available to you and pursue them as vigorously as you possibly can. The same can be said for automation. If your job is in danger of being absorbed by automation, you will do well to respond quickly to the threat.
Advancing in one’s career requires constant learning. In the digital age, keeping your skills sharp is both incredibly easy and unnervingly difficult. Social intelligence and creative problem solving are still very much in demand, and almost impossible, at the present moment for artificial intelligence to mimic. Skills that complement development in artificial intelligence, such as software engineering and machine learning, should continue to have a healthy job market as these jobs will help usher in the next wave of automation. More valuable than any of these skills is adaptability. Responding to change in a logical manner, using all the tools available to you, will ensure the highest chance of success, regardless of economic conditions.