Jobs, Robots and our Future (II). Questions and some Answers.

By Shadow Robot Company [CC BY-SA 1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/1.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

We reached the conclusion that there are several forecasts about the future of the workforce, but we guess the outcome will be closer to the Aristotle’s Doctrine of the Mean, a balance among different possible scenarios:

On one corner of the horizon, robotic systems performing manual repetitive activities, while on the other side, jobs requiring a unique combination of human intuition, reasoning, empathy and emotion, and in between, machines performing cognitive task and collaboration side by side with humans.

Now, which will be your position in this new landscape full of machines and AI systems?

Everyone has a different background and professional experience; not to say about personal preferences. Rather that lineup future jobs for you to choose among them, I think I would be more useful to describe a process you can follow to design your future. This analysis would lead to different conclusions depending on your circumstances, preferences and current situation.

Are you eager to move here and there or most likely to stay in the same position for long?

I like changes, every five years or less, whether it is a change on position, functional area or location. And I consider myself a mover (a person or thing in motion), born in Nowhere (Oklahoma).

Besides, I am breaking into the second leg of my (hopefully) centenarian life. Although I rather being active as far as possible, sooner than later I would rather be working in a more relaxed environment using my knowledge to help others (volunteering, consulting, advisory, professor, and the likes).

Academic/Professional Background?

Me, originally a Computer Science Engineer, now focused on Project Management on different areas (construction, business development, internationalization, promotion, system implementation, …).

The opportunity cost of managing more than three projects of the same nature encourages me to constantly seek new challenges. So, again I reinforce my idea of renewing knowledge every two or three years.

Any other competitive advantages?

Languages — Technology for every language is developing at different pace. A personal assistant like Cortana, Siri, are good apps that started interact in English. Gadgets like Echo Dot or google Home are hard to find in non-English speaking markets and with a version in different languages. On the other hand, in the case of professional use, most of the human interfaces with AI systems and robots uses English as the communication language.

Lucky you, if you command more than one language, your possibilities widen. In my case, my mother tongue is Spanish and I feel comfortable using English and Japanese as working languages.

Where do you want to live in the future?

If you are not eager to move around, where you settle down is important; some countries will develop this scenario faster than others, which means the horizon I portrayed on my previous post will be biased to a majority of human intervention or towards a massive usage of machines and AI systems.

This decision is influenced also by languages you command. My primary target areas for living and working would be western EU countries and the Far East (Japan/China/Korea).

Let me continue analyzing the current situation and future developments in those areas.

The Far East. –

I have already pointed out some preliminary data about robots and future jobs. If we consider sectors, Industrial robots in Asia on the rise. My three target countries represent 89% of the sales of new robots in Asia: China (43%); South Korea (24%) and Japan (22%). Moreover, according to Jurgen von Hollen, from Universal Robots. the collaboration between humans and machines is emerging in Asia, it is expected to double by 2020. First adopters were automobile and electronic industry, now with collaborative robot, UR is addressing all markets. Asian Market will be 50% of the total market of Robots.

As for AI, If you look at some figures in Asia, again there is a forecast to grow at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 46.9% from 2016 to 2022. The market is geographically segmented into China, Japan, India, South Korea.

Western EU countries

in a recent address to EU parliament, Roberto Viola described the different types of Robots an AI systems working nowadays:

  • Collaborative robots, which can work with humans and do not need a security cage any longer.
  • Professional service, robots like surgical robots in hospitals or milking robots on farms.
  • Consumer robots, that can be used for private purposes, such as vacuum cleaners, lawn mowers etc.
  • And software-based AI agents, used as medical diagnosis assistants or for recommendations on shopping websites.

He depicted Europe as in a strong position, both scientifically and commercially, but with some important software focused competitors in America (google, Facebook, Amazon) and hardware focused in Asia (China, Korea, Japan)

In this regard, the Skills and Jobs Coalition, also in the UE, outlined the needs of digital skills at different groups:

  • The Citizens: to enable everyone to be active in our digital society.
  • Labor force: digital skills for the digital economy.
  • ICT professionals: in all industry sectors
  • Education: training of teachers to teach and allow students to learn about digital skills in a long-time perspective.

So, my future scenario comprises a state of art technologies and a substantial adoption of Robots and AI systems in the labor market.

Cyber-whatever

This scenario is the Fourth Industrial Revolution at full scale: “Ubiquitous, mobile supercomputing; Intelligent robots; Self-driving cars; Neuro-technological brain enhancements; Genetic editing…”. Data, you as data, is the centerpiece of this revolution with a balanced mixture of your current skills, new technologies, the internet and IT.

We are heading to an “unexplored world”, but if we establish an analogy with the Conquest of the Far West and the Frontier life. Then, we may identify some features and characters which will show up in this New World.

for example, Security. It was a key issue for new settlers, whether how to protect themselves from unfriendly natives or from fellow settlers willing to become wealthy quicker. Just by adding the prefix cyber to the related concepts, you will obtain a new range of refurbished concepts and disciplines, cyber-crime, cyber-defense, cyber-attacks, cyber-security, cyber-criminals which are shaping and will continue to shape every aspect of this future scenario.

According to ISACA´s State of Cybersecurity 2016, there is a shortage of two million cybersecurity professionals by 2019. the most significant skills gaps seeing among today’s cybersecurity/information security professionals are ability to understand the business, communication, and technical skills.

My proposed Roadmapp = Upgrade + Diversify

  1. Keep current profession of Project Management, it is a transversal discipline that can be applied to many sectors in the job market.
  2. Keep updating and acquiring new skills related to Strategic Project Management focusing on the components of the Fourth Industrial revolution and add-up Cyber-security.
  3. Share with others my knowledge: Diversify by expanding and enhancing teaching activities.

What about you?

Do your own personalized analysis and share with us your conclusions.

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