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Here’s How To Stay Relevant In An Automated World

Make sure to upskill in the right direction so that the robot does not steal your paycheck!

Photo by Lukas on Unsplash
Photo by Lukas on Unsplash

Let’s face it. The robots are here.

Not the Terminator kind that will take over the world. Not yet. But definitely, the kind that are taking over our jobs!

We live in an automated world, where our Uber rides are booked by Alexa and Siri gives us driving directions. PwC estimates that 30% of jobs will be impacted by automation by 2030.

You and I may become irrelevant.

Our years of education, skill-building and climbing up the corporate ladder will be erased by one sweep of the mechanical arm. In short, we will be revisiting the modern-day version of the Industrial Revolution.

Although this seems like a scary proposition, we are not far gone! There are many ways in which we can still carve our own little space in the future of work. And here’s how:

“We need to teach and learn what computers cannot do” — Jack Ma

Upskill, but in the right way

Jobs that involve writing HTML and CSS are disappearing by the hour. Soon, Artificial Intelligence will even be able to create complex software or even create future cities in minutes. STEM is great, but it is not enough in an undefined future.

However, the tech gurus claim there are still a whole array of skills that are not going to be threatened.

Critical Thinking

While robots do have the “artificial” sort of intelligence, they lack the critical thinking that we humans have. Blessed with the innate powers of analysis, reasoning and application, it has never been more important for us to hone these skills.

Creativity

We created them. We are awesome! Period.

Collaboration

While robots can follow processes, they lack our refined ability to work as a team and solve complex problems.

Adaptability

Machine learning is great, but robots cannot adapt to a changing set of situations or parameters. We can.

Bottom line: Soft skills are the hard currency of the future!

So, instead of sprucing up your coding skills (which may still be relevant for a few years, sure), it’s time we focus on building our core human skills of communication, empathy, strategy and the like. Whether you are a business owner or an employee, set up a program in your company to upskill in this direction. It’s what the employers of tomorrow are looking out for.

A virtual session on “Masters and Robots in a smart nation” in progress

Cultivating a Learning Mindset a.k.a. “Life In Beta”

The way we work has changed. The way we communicate has changed. But the way we learn still adopts a 400-year old obsolete practice.

We do 14 years of school and college (on an average) and declare that we are done with educating ourselves!

In a changing world, this is a bad idea! So bad that you’ll only be as useful as a floppy disk to a MacBook Pro.

If we do want to change this situation, we need to rethink the way we learn. The time is ripe to redefine the structure of schools and colleges and our personal habits. While the former might take a long time, let’s focus on the latter.

What can we do to integrate learning into our daily lives?

Since we know Why we need to learn,let’s now define what we need to learn: Apart from building the soft skills mentioned above, understanding future-focused topics are a priority.

These could include subjects like sustainability, emerging technology like Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, VR/AR/MR, IoT, etc., future cities, gender equality, future of work, future of food, blockchain, etc. It all boils down to the fact that if we are not aware of the future, we don’t have a part in it.

Many have sought Massive Online Open Courses or MOOCs to diversify their knowledge. These online platforms whose numbers have been burgeoning in recent years offer structured courses on everything from learning new languages to deep learning, created by educational institutions from around the world.

However, many come from the school of thought that learning needs to be a part of our routines. This is where learning campuses and study hubs become relevant. They help you learn about specific subjects, connect with industry greats or build skills through workshops. More importantly, they help you cultivate a learning mindset by putting you in the middle of a community of learners.

It’s a lot similar to the gym membership we buy to flex those muscles. Why shouldn’t we buy a learning membership to activate our grey cells?

A hands-on workshop on “Becoming makers: Creating mind-controlled toys and devices” in progress

The more we etch a path of learning for ourselves, the better are our chances in staying relevant and valuable in the future.

Here are a few things you can do right now to begin:

  • Sign-up online for a MOOC course
  • Attend a digital school
  • Purchase a local learning membership to attend weekly workshops and sessions

To lifelong learning! 🙌🏼

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