Do you ever wonder where words come from, as take for example “robot” which comes from an old Slavic word meaning to “work“. While maybe more adapt in the 1920’s to represent the rise of the industrial worker, it was first used in a play about “mass-produced” laborers overthrowing their human creators. Yet in the near future these robots and technology itself will be our fiercest competitors for jobs in the workplace, as shared by Dr. Michio Kaku, a theoretical physicist and popular futurist.
With technology growing faster and cheaper at exponential speeds mean more and more employers are putting Artificial Intelligence (AI) to work. This now means that any job involving repetition, rote memorization or task is at risk of extinction. As us mortals will lose out on jobs like bookkeeping, bank telling, and accounting. Other jobs such as those performed by realtors, will now only trade in “gossip“, as is this a good neighborhood, how are the school rather than the clerical work of the past. As while the idea of a paperless office has been unfulfilled as of today, all paper transactions however can be easily made digital and devices such as tablets will further this ability. Thus, the tipping point of this long sought after promise is very near.
It’s here that Kaku says “It turns out that the jobs of the future will be those that cannot be done by artificial intelligence”. With this being the case, what is there left for humans to do that a silicon based computer can’t? For one, they lack the ability to apply “common sense“, as computers might be unrivaled at solving problems of logic. Yet their ability to understand irrational behavior and then make inferences about the workings of the world around them is limited. Here Kaku also points out “They don’t know that water is wet. They don’t know that strings can pull, but strings cannot push“. So while they are great at creating a general ledger, and solving complex modeling issues such as the human genome project, they don’t realize an iPad can’t swim.
You can prepare for the coming showdown between flesh-and-blood workers and AI by developing your “intellectual capital”: decision-making skills, ingenuity, finesse. In the job market of tomorrow, the winners will be workers in fields that demand moral understanding and analysis of the same, in short philosophers.
So what are we suppose to do then for employment you ask? Well there is a scary thought As Kaku says there is one job which will never go out of style and can you guess what it is? Yes, it’s the second oldest profession in the world, as in Law. As here he says “Lawyers will have jobs in the future and that’s because law involves… human values that change constantly” proving the old adage that, while there is death and taxes lawyers will always be needed for both.
Yet light humor set aside, this will mean that the future will be far more social then in the past and social abilities in the youth will be critical for their success…