The robots are coming! What once seemed like a dystopian novel is seeming more like reality by the day.
A quarter of jobs in the U.S. stand to be disrupted by artificial intelligence, a recent report from the Brookings Institution found. Kai-Fu Lee, a leading A.I. researcher, investor, and computer scientist estimates that in the next 15 years, up to 40 percent of jobs could be replaced by algorithms, robots, and other types of artificial intelligence.
Lee offers a multi-question quiz on his website to determine if your job might be at risk. But really, it can all be boiled down into one simple question.
How repetitive is your day-to-day work?
In A.I. in 60 Seconds, Lee explains that A.I. is limited to doing the same things over and over again. "Within a single domain, A.I. is able to take tasks from our everyday jobs that are routine and repetitive and do them in a better way than we humans can do."
The more repetitive and routine your work, the more likely it will be taken over by A.I. Here's another way to look at it, from a New Yorker piece titled Are Robots Competing For Your Job?: "If your job can be easily explained, it can be automated," Anders Sandberg, of Oxford's Future of Humanity Institute, tells Oppenheimer. "If it can't, it won't."
What can you do that A.I. can't?
While A.I. can do many things well, Lee reminds us that there are many things it can't do so well. Your human brain give you a competitive advantage.
A.I. isn't creative. It can't think strategically. It doesn't plan. And above all, it can't have compassion or emotional intelligence. If you're worried about your job being taken over by robots, Lee encourages you to zero in on how you can enhance and improve the skills that A.I. will never be able to gain. Try to figure out how to stop doing low value work or automate that work yourself.
Economist Richard Baldwin agrees. He advises that instead of trying to compete with A.I., let the robots do their thing. Focus your attention on building your in-person human skills, such as improving communication, developing insights, and effectively collaborating with other people at work. "Realize that humanity is an edge not a handicap," he told the New Yorker.
Creativity is one of the most in-demand soft skills.
LinkedIn recently analyzed 50,000 professional skills that appear in its job postings. It used the data to determine the most in-demand job skills employers are looking for.
Creativity was the top soft skill that appeared again and again in job postings. Across hard skills and soft skills, it was still number two overall.
"It's no stretch to say creativity is the single-most important skill in the world for all business professionals today to master," LinkedIn concluded.