Automation and artificial intelligence (AI) have been dominating the conversation around future work for some time, and understandably so. However, as with any change and development, it’s worth taking in all angles on the issue. We’ve been reading this great piece from Wired on why the ‘rise of the machines’ might not mean that the human brain is out of a job.
As technology and AI lives up to what was once just the stuff of sci-fi, an uneasy relationship is forming. Among their tasks, computers can find, build, fix and clean, but that doesn’t mean middle-skilled work is safe. How do we relate these elements? What place do they have in our lives? And crucially, where does that leave us? While some see the takeover as inevitable, while others rebel and embrace ‘low-tech’ in defence, it doesn’t have to be that way.
Interestingly, it’s the leaders of industries that thrive on automation who are championing the power of the human. The CEO’s of TaskRabbit and LinkedIn insist that AI is here to make life easier rather than take over. It makes sense – after all, these are services that rely on humans as the end user or creative. Machines are the intermediaries, we’ll still be the key players, they argue. Of course, detection, alert and a call to action can be automated, but we’ll always need the intuition and empathy – the ‘soft skills’ – of a human.
And experts are thinking more broadly than direct human intervention, too. They’ve identified game-changing indirect relationships based on how we think. For example, online payments versus adverts as a way to monetise online content. It’s a consideration of users’ willingness to choose, rather than just bombarding them with ads and assuming they’ll respond.