By Arbresh Useini, 14. January 2019
A few months ago, I attended a mini conference about robots in the workplace. I was the youngest at my table. Next to me sat a bunch of people almost twice my age, all of them holding a position with different level of employee responsibility – employees at all ages – and all of them skeptical about whether robots could ever be a part of our jobs or even take over our jobs. As they said: “Many jobs need critical thinking and creativity. It’s only a part of our tasks that are routine.”
I tried to convince them that robots weren’t coming, but that they already have arrived. It didn’t go well with the convincing at first, so I mentioned one of my colleague’s quotes: I asked them how they had found their way out here and what they used to navigate traffic. They replied (as I expected) that they had used their phones. I then asked, if they had been critical or blindly trusted the robot?
Before we had time to continue the debate, the next speaker went on stage and started the presentation:
The fear of being replaced by robots is big, but we cannot put the world on a pause. Robots are not on the way. They’re already here.
My point exactly!
How adaptable are you?
It’s estimated that 1.8 million jobs will disappear in 2020 because of AI, but that AI also will create 2.3 million new jobs. Are we ready for this? My guess is no. Is it a problem that jobs disappear? Again, I must say no. As history tells us, radical technology changes aren’t new. Throughout decades we’ve witness jobs disappearing and even more jobs being created. A study from 2015 by Deloitte says that during a 144 years period, technology created more jobs in England than it destroyed. It’s crucial to turn our attention to AI because it might be the only way for your company to survive. Fewer than 12% of the Fortune 500 companies from 1955 still exists today, and by 2051 all of today’s Fortune 500 would be replaced. It’s no surprise that the ones surviving was, and will be, the most adaptable companies.
Bosch are investing 220 million Euros in AI and Google has been investing the total sum of $3.9 billion in AI start-ups. AI has become the hottest topic these years, even World Economic Forum says so.
But for digital natives, this isn’t the latest fashion – it’s more like the little black dress; an essential in the wardrobe. So, as a digital native myself, I allow myself to claim that if you want to learn about embracing digital tools and AI, ask the digital natives.
You might ask: Why should a young generation of people with limited work experience teach me about AI? For several reasons. First, because digital natives, also known sometimes as Generation Z, will represent 20 percent of the total workforce by 2020 (same year 1.8 million jobs will disappear). Second, Generation Z will have jobs that doesn’t exist yet. 17 percent want to be entrepreneurs, they want to change the world, and with an extremely entrepreneurial spirit, they’ll probably invent jobs we can’t even imagine.Third, we have seen the world change so radically in recent decades that unlike before, AI is already a natural part of our work life. And who knows how to navigate with technology better than the generation that have never lived without it?