Redefining Intelligence In The Age Of AI
Though all industries will become digital, smart, and rely on the power of the cloud, the most difficult jobs to automate will be those that quintessentially require higher-order thinking.
In today’s age, it is no longer enough that only software programmers and IT specialists understand emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), 5G, blockchain, and data science. To understand their use and implications, current and future industry leaders ought to be able to recognize and have a grasp of these groundbreaking technologies. They should be able to gauge the impact these technologies have not only on business, but also on society and life.
One of the most pervasive questions that come up in discussions about the human race’s days ahead is around the future of work. This is understandable, given that today’s technologies alone can automate more than 45% of all activities we are now paid to do. The Luddites and the Musks of the world have often expressed their apprehensions of a future in which robots have taken away almost all our jobs. In such a scenario, it’s worth wondering: what will humans keep themselves busy with in an era in which AI matches or even surpasses human intelligence?
The truth is: a lot. Though all industries will become digital, smart and rely on the power of the cloud, the most difficult jobs to automate will be those that quintessentially require higher-ordered thinking: jobs that require imagination, critical thinking, cultural agility, collaboration, and influential leadership.
A few decades ago, wanting to become a ‘cloud architect’ or ‘social media manager’ was completely unheard of; yet today these are some of the most prevalent jobs. So, what sort of work can we expect to do in future? Here are a few examples.
Smart City Urban Planner
In an interconnected world abound with the Internet of Things, smart city planning is bound to get very exciting and meaningful. We can expect to see the future generation aspiring to become smart city urban planners in order to benefit their communities by tapping into multiple data points that they will have access to. A planner will use data from autonomous vehicles and the IoT to improve traffic flow, enhance sustainability, optimize safety, and improve the overall experience of city-dwellers.
AR & VR Experience Designer
Individuals with an artistic bend can choose to combine their love for art with technology to create mind-blowing Virtual Reality experiences. In the future, as industries like retail, healthcare, construction and education incorporate VR tech, we’ll see a lot more VR and Augmented Reality (AR) architects than now. A VR experience designer, for instance, may combine his/her love for treating others by creating virtual worlds where individuals suffering from paralysis can happily travel around the globe or experience the rigors of physical exercise.
VR designers will have to exhibit a lot of empathy to curate a meaningful experience for the user by identifying their needs — a skill that will be difficult for AI to master. As another example, a designer creating VR workspaces will have to capture the nuanced workflow dynamics of an organization in order to make it a wholesome and productive experience.
Specializing in things like gene therapy, genetic engineering, and neuro-hacking, biotech engineers will be those individuals who have the ability to help you upgrade your biology. In the future, you may expect to not only make a regular visit to your local doctor, but also to your local bio-hacker who can, for instance, add a nano memory drive to your organic brain for more storage.
Robo-ethicist and/or Technology Advocate
Though we seldom run into modern-day philosophers today, students interested in ethics, morals and philosophy may see a hopeful future full of exciting jobs and career paths. They will spend time mapping solutions for how humans can co-exist with machines in an automated world. We’ll need thought-leaders who can analyze current and future trends and then help draft legal solutions to these. Solutions can include, for example, proposing educational and upskilling opportunities to workers in industries that are ripe for disruption, or determining whether or not our operating systems, that display human-like traits, shall have civil rights.
Autonomous Vehicle Customer Experience Specialist
In an age of driverless cars, we may encounter frustrated passengers who require care and attention, or who simply want to enhance and customize their AV experience. Customer success lies at the core of any product or solution. So, in order to enrich the experience of these passengers, we can expect to see an uptick in individuals who specialize in AV customer experience — as consultants, experience enhancers, researchers, or simply support technicians.
With the rise of jobs that require a high degree of empathy and creativity, we may wonder how success in the workplace, which has historically been viewed in a linear manner, can be measured.
In their book Human + Machine: Reimagining Work in the Age of AI, a must-read for business leaders, Paul Daugherty and H. James Wilson identify eight fusion skills for the workplace. These include futuristic skills such as intelligent interrogation, where humans have the ability to ask machines the right questions across multiple levels, and relentless reimagining, where humans keep reimagining how AI can transform and improve work, processes, business models and even entire industries.
With more people doing jobs that require non-linear thinking, human interaction, problem-solving and creativity — skills that keep us more engaged in the long-term rather than doing repetitive work — automation can, in fact, increase our overall happiness. The very technologies some fear, then, may just be what end up helping more people find meaning satisfaction through work.