One of the most common fears of the modern worker is that someday the machines will rise. Who cares if they take control of the world… they’re not gonna take my job, are they?
Many people think that the rise of AI will eventually replace us all. Technology will push our jobs away just like it pushed out our beloved Blockbuster Movies and VHS recorders.
But this nightmare may simply be a bad dream, not a premonition of the future to come. AI may actually help you do your job better, and even help you -gasp- get more satisfaction from it.
Technology Won’t Shut Your Company Down. Your Leadership Will
The first thing we need to establish is, yes, sometimes companies go under because they’ve grown outdated in the face of evolving technology. But, as many experts have pointed out, new technology doesn’t kill companies, old strategies do.
Consider the fact that at one point in time both Netflix and Blockbuster were slinging DVDs. One was via mail and one had storefronts. However, one of those companies evolved and fully embraced streaming technology; in fact, they basically perfected it. There’s a reason why we don’t say, “Blockbuster and chill.”
Blockbuster attempted to get into streaming, but Netflix did it faster and better. And the world still does want to go out and rent DVDs and buy snacks, as smaller and more nimble DVD shops have been able to survive. This means Blockbuster likely could have survived if they had done a few things differently.
Lessons From the Accounting Sector
Hop in a time machine and go to an accounting firm around 1950. The promise of computer technology and its ungodly ability to carry out calculations made a lot of accountants nervous. However, these new quizzical machines didn’t replace the human workers. They helped them by moving from ink and paper ledgers to dot-matrix printouts.
Fast forward a few decades and the modern developments have still yet to phase accountant out of the picture. In fact, it has made them more important than ever, as accountants today do less manual entry and spend more time solving bigger problems.
Their ability to see the big picture and spot big problems is what keeps them in high demand, not their ability to simply crunch numbers.
This could very well be true for the rest of us. Technology may change our roles and the tasks we carry out every day, but not force us out of the role completely. Vanguard Global Chief Economist Joe Davis found that:
- Since 2000, the tasks that make up every job have shifted
- And yet, unemployment is currently very close to all-time lows
- There are roughly 11 million more jobs now than just before the global financial crisis in 2007
Thus far, the numbers don’t seem to be pointing to advances in technology taking over and all of our new managers being robot overlords. If anything, it’s helping humans become smarter. AI may even end up protecting your job security by pivoting your role to solving bigger ticket problems, with less time on expendable grunt work.