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Three Kinds of Jobs that Will Thrive as Automation Advances

Posted on 09/13/2018

a robot

Are you worried about a machine taking your job some day?

Technology is transforming our economy, and as technology becomes more pervasive and disruptive, we can see the implications of this development – technology that that can be used to automate routine, low-skilled, manual labor, as well as “knowledge” work like operational analytics and marketing where sophisticated artificial intelligence algorithms can be applied.

What is the place for humans in the world of work in this scenario? A recent article by the Harvard Business Review asks us to consider supply and demand trends that are being reshaped by technology in the workplace. It’s this second technology-driven shift that will change the very nature of work, determining the balance of humans and technology in the production of goods and services that customers seek out and vendors produce.

Supply and demand trends that are being redefined by the use of technology include:

  • Consumers have a lot more information at their disposal, allowing them the ease to switch between vendors who can offer them more niche products rather than mass-market goods.
  • Consumers are seeking out usage-based pricing models, rather than ownership.
  • Consumers are using ad-blockers at an increasing rate. Vendors need to convey value in new ways so they are sought out.
  • Vendors can use technology to expand the array of product options, matching the consumer need for more customized goods and services.
  • Vendors can deliver products and services to market faster.

Work, then, is bound to change on at least two fronts. First, machines will increasingly take over routine tasks that define work in a standardized, mass-market product world. Second, the only way to create value in a more differentiated and rapidly changing product world will be to redefine work at a fundamental level to focus on distinctly human capabilities like curiosity, imagination, creativity, and emotional and social intelligence.

Three different categories of work will seemingly become more prominent in a rapidly-changing economy:

  1. Creators — people who can anticipate the rapidly evolving needs of individual customers and design and deliver creative and highly tailored products and services.
  2. Composers— people who deeply understand the aspirations and needs of small niches of customers and who can compose engaging and rewarding experiences for those people.
  3. Coaches — people who will help customers achieve more of their potential in various domains.

What’s the result? Technology now and in the future can provide us with the opportunity to focus on work and activities that will help us to achieve more and more of our potential in our work, as we express human capabilities that machines will find difficult to replicate.

Source: Harvard Business Review https://hbr.org/2018/08/3-kinds-of-jobs-that-will-thrive-as-automation-advances External link opens in new window or tab