OPINION: Are you ready to compete with a Robot for your job

By Lilian Katiso

I was reading a document late in the night and reached a point where I wasn’t going beyond one paragraph. I suddenly wished someone would read out the document for me and I just listen. Adobe reader came to memory and I immediately converted the word document to PDF and turned on the Read-Out-Loud function. Well it helped but not quite because of a few limitations.

I got thinking of how machines are taking over human roles so fast. According to internet sources, it is said that perhaps 75% of the jobs done by humans will be gone in 50 years. As they are starting to do today, machines will manage the routine while humans take on the unpredictable – tasks that require creativity, problem solving and flexibility. No existing or future job without exception is safe simply because computers as general purposes machines think smarter, less error prone and continue to be programmed to be more creative than humans in the long run.

Information technology has automated tasks with low added value for humans, such as manufacturing and data entry. It also has enabled previously unknown levels of efficiency and optimization, with systems that are able to continuously learn how to improve themselves.

But humans are still a very essential part of the process. Think about delivering services to a client. Most customer challenges are routine, but humans play a very important role in addressing new issues, solving them the first time they appear and then consolidating the process into the system.

Managing the unpredictable is where human work gets the most interesting, and that’s the future we’re moving into – along with our machine teammates.

Some studies say that the jobs at risk of being replaced by robots include bookkeepers, loan officers, receptionists, paralegals, salespeople, drivers, security guards, fast food cooks, bartenders, marketers, journalists and lawyers.

It is observed that the smarter machines become, the greater the likelihood that the space remaining for uniquely-human skills could shrink further. How will your profession or your business compete in 10, 20 or 50 years’ time with ‪#artificialintelligence?

Imagine job hunting and you come across this notice: Humans Need Not Apply!

As I read more about the Artificial Intelligence and potential of the bots, I came across an interesting video clip ‘Humans Need Not Apply’ which I would recommend you to take 15 minutes of your screen-time to watch. This is a 2014 short Internet documentary film that focuses on the future of the integration of automation into economics, as well as the worldwide workforce.

The director of the film, CGP Grey, observes that 45% of the workforce could be replaced by bots, a number which is both inclusive of professional, white-collar, and low-skill occupations, and higher than the 25% unemployment figure of the Great Depression. Grey mentions that even creative occupations are not secure, as he mentions the included bot-composed music in the background of his video.

Grey reminds the viewer that he is not discussing or portraying a future based upon science fiction, as he uses examples such as Baxter, self-driving cars (referred to as autos in the film), as well as IBM’s Watson, to deliver its subject

Grey makes an analogy describing how humans once displaced horses from their jobs, by creating mechanical muscles, such as automobiles, dismissing the argument that humans will always find new work, seeing as horses are not nearly as much used now. Grey says horses aren’t unemployed now because they got lazy as a species, they are UNEMPLOYABLE.

So if you are a Driver, General Doctor, Lawyer, Accountant, Pharmacist, Artist, Wealth management Advisor, Writer, Music Composer, Researcher, Programmer, decision maker, (list is long), how are you evolving to remain indispensable in 2025 and beyond?

Clearly automation is inevitable and now we need to think what to do in the future where for most job.

Lilian Katiso is Financial Management Consultant & QuickBooks Trainer