Call me naive, but do a quick search of AI and you'll see a bunch of posts all posing that we've only got work for humans left till 2025, or a variation there of. Being a keen technologist and doing my best to keep abreast of AI happenings, my feed seems to be proliferated with these types of articles that I just felt compelled to pen a response.
Let me state first, AI development is an exciting proposition and how organisations engage, adopt and utilise AI will be interesting to observe in the coming years. I see AI as a great enhancement to overall digitising that many business still need to embrace and adopt.
But to suggest that AI might replace vast amounts of the workforce in the coming decades, well this statement needs to be contextualised for sure. I agree that for many roles AI is shaping to be a powerful alternative to human equivalent, but I think there are two key considerations that refute this possibility.
Call me the proverbial optimist but I think we as humans need to back ourselves a bit more. We've overcome so many obstacles as a human race and to suggest that I,Robot is happening next week - suggest humans are apathetic, incapable of innovation and confined to being Bruce Willis in Surrogates.
We've mastered reinvention! This is evidenced by checking a millennials CV. Chances are you'll see a list of incongruent roles in incongruent industries, yet they're employable because of these experiences, diverse as they are, they point to an ability to set a course and adapt that course based on desire, need and personal outcomes.
This ability to reinvent is supported by the availability of low cost, sometimes free online education possibilities. For example you can take a high school dropout tomorrow and can have them Adwords certified in a couple of weeks, a developer in a couple of months or an entrepreneur overnight. That's reinvention! That's possibility. That is Resilience. And that is how we see the future.
Sure in time you may not have human on the other side of a support call, but we'll adapt, reinvent ourselves and be better off for it.
For me this is a simplistic argument but completely relevant. Lets take the scenario where AI does in fact take over. Mrs Corporation whose implemented AI to enhance a product or service still needs a consumer on the end of that service or product. The consumer needs money to exchange for that service and if they're not working then where does the money come from and if they have no money, what happens to Mrs Corporation.
As humans unfortunately we're still governed by capitalistic tendencies where the equation is we work for money to survive. Until this equations changes I can't see us having free lunches, laxed out on the next tropical beach.
Where to from here?
AI is here, i'm not oblivious to that and I strongly believe that it can make a significant difference to a whole realm of possibilities. In the interim though lets not be too hasty to write the humans off.
Organisations and individuals focus over the next decade will be about reinvention and resilience. Already we're seeing organisation doing this by embracing the retraining of workforces and how companies are using AI in marketing environments. It's a reality we have to embrace. The only one's who will be left behind are those who resist. We have the tools if we chose to balance the evolution of the way we work with this new frontier of working with our new AI colleague. Fundamentally though, we'll adopt and implement AI but we'll also be innovating, overcoming and driving the next future. Together.
I can't wait to see how this unfolds as I sit plugged in to my control chair, managing my surrogate, who just typed this rant.