In the Age of Automation and Artificial Intelligence, How Can Humans Remain Relevant?

As the Internet of Things (IoT) makes the internet less visible and more deeply embedded in people’s lives, and artificial intelligence (AI) makes decisions for us for efficiency’s sake, how do humans stay relevant in the workforce, especially those of us who may not have college degrees?

This question keeps coming up and while media may have been quite negative with their doom and gloom predictions, IoT, AI, and automation may not mean large-scale job losses. But disruption is inevitable and AI has got even software engineers fearing the worst.

According to McKinsey, as automation of knowledge and physical work advances, a lot of jobs will be redefined rather than completely eliminated (at least in the short-term).

So what does that really mean?

McKinsey’s research suggests that whether you have a degree or not, we will all have to adapt with the adoption of IoT and AI. This is already happening and what we are seeing now is companies investing in their employees rather than eliminating them.

Incorporating AI in enterprises requires not only investments in technologies and software that support implementation, but also training and skills development for employees who will be working alongside it.

While AI can definitely make enterprises function faster and make better business decisions, it’s critical to find a balance between AI and human workers. The shift in learning is not only important for the workforce today, but also for generations to come.

As a result, in the future, you can expect advanced AI systems to make up the fabric of every industry, but it will be supported by human workers with the right expertise that can work intimately with this technology.

AI Can Identify Patterns and Anomalies, Not Solve Problems

As far as technology professionals are concerned, they can rest easy knowing that they have an important role to play for decades to come. While AI might be able to efficiently identify and solve problems in about twenty or thirty years, at the moment, we are far from it.

At present, AI is getting pretty good at identifying patterns and anomalies in production and environments. Once identified, it then notifies humans about this information (which may not have been possible to detect without AI).

But when it comes to finding and solving the problem, it’s human ingenuity and creativity that makes the difference. In the end, we humans won’t have to simply endure this technological disruption, instead, we will all help shape it as it quickly becomes an important part of our future.

You can also expect AI and IoT to amplify and empower humans by creating new industries, improve our quality of life, and create new opportunities for the underprivileged. As a result, we should all change our perception from “man versus machine” to “man together with the machine.”

But what about those of us who are not armed with degrees?

You don’t need a fancy degree to engage in digital process automation

The data generated by IoT devices along with other technological sources like AI need to be put to good use. One approach that brings everything together is business process management software like Pulpstream.

This innovative technology negates the need to have a background in computer science to build business-centric applications. By just engaging in dragging and dropping, anyone can quickly build business process automation applications to enhance work streams and operations.

According to research from MIT’s Center for Digital Business, the following dimension of skills will keep humans relevant in the digital age:

Physical

Physical strength, dexterity, and stamina can’t be replaced by technology. In fact, there are very few jobs that have zero physical requirements. In the future, just like today, most office jobs will require a little bit of physical activity.

Equipment

Knowing how to use equipment, selecting the right tools, and the technical know-how to troubleshoot problems will keep humans in the workforce.

Supervision

Supervising people and ensuring that tasks are completed through peers will remain a relevant skill in the years to come.

Awareness

When you’re working in the field or in a chaotic environment, it will be critical to properly understand this environment. As a result, degree or no degree, human intervention in these situations will continue to be important.

Perception

Research also suggests that the ability to focus on the details and find the needle in the haystack will also be a human function that will continue to play a vital role.

Teamwork

Those who are personable and work well in teams will also flourish in a digital world. This is because regardless of the industry, those who can efficiently manage stressful situations and difficult people will be needed for businesses to remain relevant.

Initiative

Those who possess the ability to start and finish things effectively won’t have to worry about being replaced by technology in the near future.

So do you have any of these skills listed above? No matter where you stand at the moment, we all have to make an effort to get better at several of them.

These skills and the effective use of business process management software will sufficiently prepare you and continue to keep you relevant in the future of work.

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