We’re at a period in history of rapid change and there is more uncertainty about how the future will look than perhaps ever before. The technology today is barely comparable to the technology from just a short time ago. Within two decades our cell phones have gone from chubby plastic things which allow you to play Snake, call and text (usually in that order), to sleek, aesthetically beautiful devices on which you can do virtually anything.
Payments have become contactless, internet devices are now wireless and cars are becoming driverless. Now jobs are about to evolve into something that would be unimaginable just a decade ago.
We’re familiar with seeing the internet used in virtually every type of work that we do. Whether you’re a surgeon, a barista or a teacher, today your job is integrated with the internet somehow. We’re right at the beginning of another shift where computers, this time in the form of artificial intelligence, are not just integrated into our workplaces, but they will even begin creating jobs for us. In a world where everybody is screaming about Artificial Intelligence stealing human jobs, we imagine a world where Artificial Intelligence actually relies on humans to fulfil their work. This world is closer than you think.
The nature of work itself has faced dramatic change in a very short space of time. Shortly before the Information Age, work had a very orderly and predictable pattern that followed: you get a job while you’re young and you stay there until you retire. You received incremental pay increases to reward your commitment to the company and perhaps you earned a managerial position when you reached your forties. It was safe and predictable, yet with that predictability comes a sense of mundaneness.
Work was rarely fulfilling nor meaningful, yet the drudgery of it was rewarded by the comfort it gave.
Today work has already evolved into something very different. Nowadays very few millennials expect to be in one job for the rest of their life. In fact, we see more and more people jumping not just from job to job, but actually making entire leaps between careers too.
Our tolerance for unpredictability has increased and as a result we have the confidence to stray from one career to another. However, this tolerance doesn’t come easily. Such confident decisions can only come from a place of perceived security and optimism about the future.
The result of taking a less “uniform” career path is much more fulfilling and personal work. You no longer have to stick to one career throughout your entire working life, but you take jobs for shorter periods depending on your current life-stage, interests and capabilities. You can change jobs when you feel like it to gain more experience, more tools and ultimately more value.
Work is undertaking another major evolution which is causing people to panic.
Humans are starting to be replaced by machines. Factories were one of the first to see this change. They used to require hundreds of people in order to produce their goods, but now require just a few to oversee the machines. Yet factories are just the beginning. As artificial intelligence gets smarter and smarter, it will be able to do jobs more efficiently, more quickly and more cost-effectively than humans. Since using humans will be less efficient, slower and more expensive, humans will be replaced. This time it’s not just factory workers who risk losing their jobs to machines but instead taxi drivers, accountants and even surgeons.
We face the jobs apocalypse.
Yet right at the heart of this so-called jobs apocalypse, you can notice that this evolution in human work follows the same pattern as we’ve already seen. Artificial intelligence is not taking work from humans but instead it’s transferring workload so that humans are freed to do the more fulfilling, human-orientated work that cannot be done by machines.
From this new, freer human-orientated work we can expect to see new wave of entrepreneurs who are fuelled by this change and this new sense of freedom, and just like before, the evolution in human work is characterised by more fulfillment, but less predictability.
And just like before, such confident decisions about the future can only come from a place of perceived security and optimism about what it brings. Governments need to step in and provide this security in the form of support and basic income. Plus there will be a rise of companies that sweep in to help ease this transition.
To provide this support, there’ll be a whole series of new jobs created by Artificial Intelligence.
At Microwork in Slovenia we’re offering jobs to humans that collect data which helps artificial intelligence become increasingly smarter. Soon our AI will be connected to a network of humans who are constantly training it to become more intelligent. It will get to the stage when the AI is capable of seeing gaps in it’s own knowledge, and when it does it can shoot a job to its human network of teachers to learn even more. For each job a human completes he or she gets paid, and suddenly you have Artificial Intelligence that is giving humans employment whilst improving its own intelligence and ability to serve us better.
Work is evolving and there will be millions of jobs lost in the process. The jobs apocalypse is just around the corner, but out of the burning embers of the apocalypse are bright sparks of hope. Hope for new, freer work for humans, fuelled and even provided by Artificial Intelligence.
For more information about how you can be involved in this newer, freer human work visit the VEČ website.