Artificial intelligence is rapidly changing the marketplace and leaving many people wondering what the future of their jobs will be.
Traditionally, sales has always been viewed as a person-to-person job but this study from Forrester estimated that automation will eliminate one million sales jobs by the year 2020. 75% of B2B customers would rather buy from a website as opposed to a salesperson. Gartner Research estimates that by 2020, 85% of all B2B transactions will take place without any human intervention. It’s easy to understand why this will happen as automation is easily repeatable, scalable, and doesn’t take commission or ask for days off.
The unavoidable truth is that robots will begin to replicate even what we believed were uniquely human skills. It can be frightening to think about the uncertainty of our future job market and to imagine what might be taken from us. This fear has become so prevalent that Wikipedia even created a page to explain it -- it’s called technological unemployment.
Jobs That Don’t Yet Exist
Aaron Levie accurately pointed out that it is easier to imagine existing jobs going away than to imagine entirely new industries emerging. The truth is, technology and automation will create more jobs than they will eliminate but we just don’t know what those jobs will be. There is a huge shift happening in the skill sets required for people to stay relevant in their jobs. So how do you prepare for a job that doesn’t yet exist?
Social media marketing is a perfect example of this as it is a function that did not exist 15 years ago. With the growing social media trend and the need for businesses to develop a strong online presence, new jobs have emerged for people who are skilled in digital marketing. Social media managers, content marketers, web developers, and SEO managers are in high demand while roles in other jobs like door to door sales people, agricultural workers and data entry positions have become obsolete.
Worrying or burying your head in the sand are equal wastes of time. What we really need to do is adapt by working with technology and finding ways to make ourselves invaluable, and work with technology rather than against it.
Working with Technology
Automation will change our ideas about work and have a huge impact on the job market and the future of education. But artificial intelligence can add more to our economic growth than it could ever take away. So rather than worrying a robot will “steal your job”…define ways that it could become an advantage to you.
Focus on the aspects of your job that are less automated like problem-solving, relationship-building, and perhaps even process consultation or leadership skills. Technology can solve many problems but human interaction is something that can’t be replaced.