Technology is almost ready, but are we humans ready? Imagine unlimited processing power, global access to real-time data, machines that can move around like we do. Quantum leaps in battery technology, and even more breakthroughs in artificial intelligence and deep learning. When this will be reality, nobody knows. The future is here, but not evenly distributed.
With certainty, competing with such powerful machines on their terms has no future, for us humans. Working like a robot has no future, as humans. Learning like a robot has no future – rather, it’s a recipe for permanent unemployment! When artificial intelligence meets human intelligence, it’s the end of routine as we know it. But it’s not the end of our jobs. It’s not the end of our work, it’s not the end of our purpose. Rather, a new age of human-only work is beginning!
humans vs machines
Few of us enjoy menial work and boring routines, even if we like the security that comes with such jobs. Think about it for while – how about you?
Increased automation is a certainty in all industries. But, very few jobs are completely automatable and 100% routine. You could argue: What is easy for a computer is hard for humans, and vice versa – and this will be true for the foreseeable future. The good news is: humans can easily deal with unforeseen events and master complex challenges requiring judgement, intuition and improvisation. So let’s find ways do trust on these competences and develop them.
There is life beyond automation. And, yes, we have to prepare ourself together to be relevant. This asks a lot from higher education and education in general. As society we need a serious dialogue about the SDG’s, the relevance of education, what a basic income may look like.
Imagine a world where we only work three to four hours a day, for the same money, because machines have taken care of the routines. Picture yourself a world where the costs of education, health care, food and energy are significantly lower, because technology has brought abundance. Think about it – how about you? What is your contribution to a future? How do you stay relevant in society?
work vs purpose
In the future work is no longer the same as purpose. We can find purpose in what we can and what we are meant to do, not what we have to do to make a living. What if education actually helped us to discover how we can thrive as humans, not as better robots? What if routine work was replaced by the adventure of vocational careers? What if learning were actually lifelong, and full of adventures (not routines) and reinvention?
Leave your chores to the software. Focus on those purely human things that are our future. Re-discover those talents and traits that make you unique. Become comfortable with being uncomfortable. Warm up to the discomfort of permanent evolution.
Downloading information to a ‘hard-drive’ is a dead end. Instead, train yourself in understanding, intuition, imagination, foresight, storytelling and empathy. These skills will be essential, but also achieve excellence in: humanity, ethics, creativity and imagination. The more we digitize our world, the more human we can and we must become!
VUCA is the new normal. We’re entering a constant state of volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity. But you can meet volatility with velocity. You can fight uncertainty with unorthodoxy, you can answer complexity with creativity, and you can defeat ambiguity with awesomeness. So except that your not perfect and allow yourself to be awesome.
The future works differently, but that might be the best thing that ever happened to us!