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Will The Robots Take Your Job?

June 13, 2017

 

Graphic by Delcan and Company

 

It’s in the news every week now – a new development in Artificial Intelligence (AI) that makes a real-life version of Terminator look ever more possible. The National Post is currently running a 4-part series on how robots are changing the way we work. Spoiler alert: robots are going to create 3 new jobs for every job they eliminate, OR they're going to kill the middle class, depending on who you ask.  From the trivial to the amazing, AI appears poised to become part of our work and personal lives.  

 

The downside is that there are some jobs that will be eliminated by AI.  Check out this database to see if your job will be taken by the robots: http://business.financialpost.com/features/rise-of-the-robot#bottom  I'm not immune to automation either - my expertise in ISO 9001 consulting was recently outsourced to a cartoon owl by 9001 Academy. Generally, jobs that can be automated are ones that require repetitive motion, and/or unpleasant working conditions, such as extreme heat (or auditing, in the case of a cartoon owl). Repetitive work can lead to ergonomic strain and boredom. Automating these positions can prevent injuries and create more engaging opportunities for human work. 

 

As Carolyn Wilkins, deputy governor of the Bank of Canada, states, "Clearly, blaming the machines is not the way forward".  History is littered with examples of people who resisted change because it was threatening, scary, or overwhelming, and then were left behind. I’m pretty sure some of my high school teachers still think the internet is “just a fad”.  And as Elbert Hubbard said, "The world is moving so fast these days that anyone who says it can’t be done is generally interrupted by someone doing it”.  A better way forward is to try to learn about and understand new technology, and think about how you might use it to add value to your workplace.  

 

I can already hear people saying “I don’t have time”.  As a consultant, blogger and mom, I don’t have a lot of time either.  So take baby steps - the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.  My favourite:  talk to other people (especially millennials!!) about what apps or software they like, and try them out.  Some will be dumb, and some may just change your life.  I tried out Snapchat and deleted it after 2 days.  I tried Zoho books and now I don’t know how I lived without it.  Join a technology group on LinkedIn.  Read the new technology reviews in Saturday’s paper.  Browse through CNET magazine once in a while.  Some killer apps that my clients are using include Slack for communication, Entrust for security, Canva for graphic design, Fiverr for low cost service providers, and Cube for low-code workflow solutions. 

 

If you have a little more time available to you, check out some of the course offerings on Lynda.com.  Did you know you can take courses for free on this site with your Calgary library membership?  Another option is Udemy.com.  You can take a course on software architecture and design for $15.  WHAT??!! Yes, $15.  It’s on my to-do list.  Since these courses are on-line, you can learn on your time – lunch hour, after the kids go to bed, on the weekend after pretending to be sick so your husband will take the kids to their litany of scheduled activities (or is that just me?).

 

AI will change our world.  How will you move with it?  Joyfully, or fearfully?

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Sara Haynes

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