The artificial intelligence (AI) age is upon us. AI is spreading throughout the business world, automating simple tasks once performed by humans and revolutionising business processes. It's undeniably going to change the world of work as we know it, but it won't have the dire effect some naysayers fear. Here's why.
The impact AI will have on jobs is a hot topic. Some commentators subscribe to the 'tech is going to replace humans' school of thought, believing that AI will trigger a tsunami of mass redundancies throughout the workforce.
But, I subscribe to the second school of thought. In that, AI is indeed a powerful tool, but a tool nonetheless, and, to get the most value from the technology, it still needs a decision-maker (a human) to drive that tool.
AI and automation are increasingly taking away the mundane, automatic, and process-oriented tasks that humans were once responsible for, clearing a path for workers to be more strategic, do more innovative work and devote more time to improving the customer experience.
This reality brings a whole raft of new jobs – jobs where our soft skills are paramount. The one area where robots fall is what makes us uniquely human. AI can't replicate emotional intelligence, intuition, empathy and creativity. These soft skills will continue to remain in the realm of humans and are why AI will never replace the human touch.
putting your best foot forward in an AI world
What this means for future career prospects is that to give yourself the best opportunity to prosper, you must constantly be honing your soft skills. Because that skillset, combined with technology, will be a potent combo in our new technology-fuelled world.
Of course, the type of soft skills you need will depend on the environment or organisation you are working in. But the critical skills you want are the ability to deal with multiple stakeholders, communicate effectively and adapt to change quickly.
Being able to communicate well, form relationships and network effects are going to be critical to your future career prospects. You must be actively developing these skills, which means putting yourself out there on an individual level, getting involved in 'stretch' assignments and having as much exposure to different levels of the business as possible.
Often people talk about getting involved and furthering their learning through courses and education. But the functional and soft skills you learn by interacting with your peers can be just as critical as the technical things you build and skills you know. So if you want to strengthen your soft skills, you must put yourself in positions that maximise opportunities to have as much peer interaction as possible.
I have a saying I like to use, "Technology makes us competitive. Being human makes us unique", and I genuinely believe that's the case. We need the stellar soft skills that only humans have to make the most of the opportunities technology offers us and make the most of the options ahead of us. It would help if you were tuned to them.
Contact me if you're on the hunt for the best technology talent.