Whether you're sitting on the subway or walking down the street, you're guaranteed to see dozens of passersby with their eyes glued to their phones. Though technology has made life easier in many ways, it has also thrown up an array of new challenges.

What does the future hold? How do we retain the human touch in the age of Amazon's Alexa, AI chatbots, and the promised driverless taxis?

99U, a resource and event series that helps creatives build careers and make their ideas happen, recently conducted a survey that asked over 3,600 creatives who work in the fields of design, technology, and business about their views regarding what lies ahead. Their feedback has been distilled into The Creative Future Report and presented at their annual 99U Conference held in New York City. 

Here are five trends from the report to watch out for, and some steps that you can take to future-proof yourself:

1. We will continue to crave human connection. 

When the survey's respondents were asked what their preferred method of communicating with others was, 20 percent chose email, and another 16 percent percent opted for chat platforms. But there were still a whopping 37 percent of people who preferred to chat face to face. 

With many creatives expressing a preference to collaborate in this manner, it could be essential for your inhouse team to have more team meetings and to think about scheduling more video catchups for remote workers.

2. Money, time, or influence -- creatives want all three. 

When creatives were given the option of choosing between more money, more time in the day, and greater influence in their industry, 37 percent chose money. More time in the day came a close second with 32 percent while influence in the industry clocked percent.

Paul Wang, Creative Director at Glassdoor, says that the best way to boost your earnings is to ask your employer for a raise. It's an uncomfortable topic, but you must raise it if you want a bigger salary or more perks.

3.  AI and machine learning are industries of the future. 

When polled about the technologies that creatives are most excited about for future-proofing their careers, 32 percent said they were interested in exploring the world of artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Dr. Vivienne Ming, founder of Socos Labs, a company that offers its clients insights into how AI and brain science can help businesses grow, said in a recent interview that AI is a tool that when use right, can boost creative capabilities.

"If you want to know how AI actually should be thought of: it's a tool. ... Where we begin to fail is where we lose touch with that; when we think AI is intelligent like we are or will solve problems for us," she said. "But if a genuinely creative person has a powerful tool, then they are empowered to do even more."

Which are the other areas that creatives are looking at? 3D printing was a favorite with 25 percent of respondents. So is augmented reality (23 percent) and virtual reality (16 percent). Blockchain tech is at the other end of the spectrum with only 4 percent of creatives saying that they plan to learn about the technology.

This year, sign up for a workshop on AI or learn a new skill like 3-D printing. After learning about 3-D printing myself, I quickly found there were a number of products I could create and add to my e-commerce product offering. You might be surprised how learning a new skill can positively impact your business.

4. Creatives want to have social impact. 

A massive 72 percent of creatives think that social impact will play a pivotal role in their work five to ten years from today. Only 8 percent say that the social impact that their work has will be less critical in the future.

Think about the ways your brand can help work towards a a greater good. Whether it's donating a percent of profits or allocating team hours towards philanthropy, businesses both big and small can find ways to give back.

5. The world is changing, and adaptability is a sought after skill. 

The Survey asked creatives about the single most critical attribute that is necessary in this fast-changing world. "Adaptability" got the highest vote with 19 each of respondents saying this is the most important characteristic you must possess. "Curiosity" and "empathy" also ranked high at 16 percent each. Survey your own team and find out the skills they are most eager to learn. Then host workshops to help train employees for the skills the deem necessary to stay competitive in their field. 

If you want to future-proof yourself and advance your career, make a start by thinking about how you can incorporate these five points into your working life.

Published on: Jun 18, 2019
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.