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When we're talking about robots taking people's jobs, we're speaking of automation.
Mechanical automation, like car assembly lines, has been around for a while.
Software automation, also known as process or work automation, involves using code to automate tasks that humans would otherwise have to do, like creating an invoice in an accounting program.
Low-skill jobs, where 70% of the responsibilities are predictable physical and cognitive tasks, are straightforward to automate, especially as automation technology becomes cheaper than paying a human to do the same job.
Complex tasks that require creativity and other forms of higher-order thinking are very difficult to automate. The reason is that you need cognitive technology like AI (artificial intelligence) and automation together. At this point, AI is still limited.
Artificial Intelligence lacks social intelligence and human warmth.
Depending on the pace of automation development, we could see some higher-order tasks being automated.
If you think about it, your job has probably already changed. You're not doing everything by hand. In terms of scale, the changes society experience now are similar to about 100 years ago, at the start of industrialization.
Many jobs now focus more on creativity, decision-making and other forms of higher-order thinking.
In advanced economies, up to a third of the workforce might need to learn new skills and find new occupations by 2030.
To avoid being out of work later, it is best to start upskilling now:
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A thorough reassessment is required of how the company operates and how best to capture the impact of automation.
Companies who have just automated on the surface have had small and limited results that don't last. Companies that have understood and deployed the high-risk, high-reward proposition have completely transformed it's business offerings and have become market leaders. They have also redeployed the freed up workforce and provided additional services, even turning their competitors into customers.
A joint effort of commitment and communication is essential for a thorough approach to automation and has to be led by top management.
Apart from IT, all stakeholder groups like HR, Operations, Business Units have to be engaged, and communicate consistently.
Future-proofing your career to stay relevant isn't about learning how to code or going back to college.
It is about having a career plan with a long-term vision, taking into account the current job-market conditions, economic factors, emerging opportunities, personal interests, and family realities.
A life cycle of a job is shrinking rapidly, and if you're not re-inventing yourself or pivoting on time, you are rendered out of work sooner than in the past decades.
We need to check our career plan and ask ourselves what skills need to be developed to pursue future opportunities, in this shifting economy.