How To Stop A Robot From Stealing Your Job

The trick is to find things in your work a robot cannot do.

02/09/2016 4:33 AM AEST | Updated 03/09/2016 7:43 AM AEST
Colin Anderson
There are several ways to make sure your career is not taken over by a robot. First, be very creative.

If you're not already worried that robots and software utilising Artificial Intelligence (AI) are taking away jobs that were previously only reserved for humans, then perhaps you should be.

Professor Moshe Vardi from Rice University has said that middle class jobs will be the hardest hit. And Boston Consulting Group has predicted that within the next ten years, up to 25 per cent of jobs will be replaced by robots or smart software.

Scared yet?

If you've dined out recently and been served by a human, those jobs are already starting to be given to robots. On the Royal Caribbean cruise ship, you'll meet robotic bartenders. He might not be able to listen to your boyfriend/girlfriend troubles but he can make you a cocktail that you create via a tablet. Then you simply watch him shake it and pour into your glass.

Innovation psychologist Amantha Imber told The Huffington Post Australia the best way to make sure your job is not stolen by a robot is to take a good look at what type of 'thinking' your job consists of.

"Is it a routine job where there's lots of tasks that are repeatable? If so, then there's a good chance a robot will take over. How much of your work is all about 'thinking outside the box?' Those are the sort of questions you need to ask yourself. Then you need to look for opportunities to introduce more strategic thinking within your role. The more innovative and creative you are, the more safe your job will be," Imber said.

Amantha Imber
Innovation psychologist Amantha Imber advises people to think outside the box and step up your creative skills if you don't want a robot to take your job.

"Even with journalism, there is a particular AI app that will replace the job of journalists reporting on financial results. So it's interesting to look at the job of a journalist because there are some jobs they do that are very straight forward that can be taken over by robots. But the more creative, exploratory and investigative stories are more difficult for a robot to do."

Imber believes organisations need to start thinking more inclusively about how they label their people.

"Titles such as 'Creative Director' or 'Innovation Manager' can mislead people into thinking that the responsibility for innovation rests not with them, but only with the ones with such titles," Imber said.

"Creativity and innovation lead to the ingenious problem-solving and leaps of knowledge and technology that have driven human history. They are qualities that, as yet, robots and AI cannot duplicate. Organisations should be offering all employees innovation and creativity training. If they don't, employees should start requesting it."

Collective Hub CEO Lisa Messenger told HuffPost Australia business people need to get wise and focus on human relationships because, no matter how 'cool' it sounds, nobody really wants to have a business relationship with a non-human.

"Everything in business comes down to humanising things and it's all based on relationships and that's something a robot can never replicate. So, the more we remember to emulate real life and friendships, the less likely a robot will force you out of work. Let's face it, most of us prefer to do business with people they like and trust and can be inspired by, so if you aren't already focussing on those points, you must do so," Messenger said.

Collective Hub
Lisa Messenger advises people to take care of human relationships and close business ties, as a robot will never be able to replicate trust and friendship.

"The more we keep human relationships as a litmus test, the better. I see so many people doing business presentations relying on slides or external tools based around technology. But I'm notorious for going into every single meeting with nothing except my brain."

"I always try to humanise the business relationship by asking, 'What's your vision? What's your belief system? Where's your business trying to go?' This way, I don't have any preconceived ideas. Then I work backwards, identify a gap and only then do I pitch. That's a very personal technique that can never be replaced by robotics."

When Messenger launched Collective Hub back in 2013, she decided to launch it as a print magazine, which went against everything that was happening in the marketplace.

"My journey is actually a good example of how to behave when everything is becoming robotic: bring it back to that human element. That's the way you'll really get to break through and get the point of difference and, eventually, success."

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