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The Types of Jobs That Won’t Be Taken Over By Artificial Intelligence

The Types of Jobs That Won’t Be Taken Over By Artificial Intelligence

Your resume will probably look pretty quaint in five years. It’s not your fault. It’s just that your job and the responsibilities you hold now and have held in the past are rapidly becoming obsolete. Blame the machines.

Artificial intelligence, or AI, in the forms of software systems and computer-driven robotics is already taking on many American jobs, and will ultimately come after many more. In fact, the accounting and consulting firm PwC estimates that the machines will replace some 38 percent of U.S. jobs by 2030.

Another scary fact is, two years ago Google DeepMind developed an algorithm that allows machines to “learn” just as quickly as humans. AlphaGo is an AI computer program that plays the Chinese board game Go well enough to beat a professional player.  Your job might be targeted soon if it isn’t already.  But you can keep your career out of the cross-hairs.

Save Your Job Through “The Elon Musk Model”

Obviously AI won’t replace everyone.  If 38 percent of jobs are predicted to be lost, that means 62 percent will remain under human control (at least for the near future).  So what will save us from losing our career?

We can look toward the very forward-looking Elon Musk for answers. Musk is the South Africa-born inventor, innovator, entrepreneur and driving force behind PayPal, SpaceX, the Hyperloop and electric car pioneer Tesla, just to name a few creations of his fertile imagination.

By taking a closer look at the workforce behind just one of his companies, Tesla, we can see which jobs are likely to survive over the next several years — and which might not.

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Tesla, Inc. is not a traditional automaker.  The Tesla way is to get from concept to model quickly.  To fail fast and to go where others haven’t gone before.  Think of Tesla’s Musk as the Christopher Columbus of 21st century innovation.

Check out this job tier pyramid.

    It gives us a way of organizing and describing the tiers seen in the employment picture today. All of the jobs we currently hold can fall into one of these three categories.

    The Known Known

    This is the base tier of the pyramid because it describes the largest number of American jobs today.

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    At Tesla, or any automaker for that matter, this worker category includes those in manufacturing and assembly.  The process of making the parts and assembling vehicles out of them is a known set of steps.  It’s relatively predictive across all automotive platforms.  What we mean is that workers who do this sort of thing use processes that are largely familiar and consistent whether they’re making a Tesla Model S or a Hyundai Accent.

    This consistency of job performance is bad news when it comes to human employment.  Workers in this tier don’t have to bring much new knowledge to the workplace.  Robots and software can be easily “taught” to take on such predictable responsibilities.

    The Industrial Revolution brought on the first outcry against technology.  Workers of the day felt that the new machines were going to push them aside, but the truth was that the workers could be trained to run the machines.  Instead of replacing them, the new ways helped them work faster and easier.  And there was still plenty of manual labor.

    Today, it only takes a few human workers to operate and maintain a robotic assembly line.

    The Known Unknown

    Again focusing on Tesla, workers who hold jobs in the Known Unknown tier include business analysts and budget team members and the engineers and designers whose minds download what the assembly workers will put out.  They’re creatively addressing known challenges with unknown solutions.

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    Their tools are the computers that can’t (yet) do the work without them.  Their days’ responsibilities are variable and unpredictable.  They know what their challenges are, and what they’ll end up with, but they must figure out how to get there.

    Their jobs are safe.  For now.

    The Unknown Unknown

    We could also call this work category The Most Difficult Job in the World.  Why?  Because there’s no job description.  This is the top-of-the-pyramid tier that consumes Elon Musk’s time.  He constantly confronts unknown challenges with unknown solutions.

    There was no road map to affordable electric car production until Musk decided to build such a map and the road itself — and put his Model S on it.  Just like there was no business model for what became PayPal until he decided to start working on a digital payment platform.

    Make no mistake, this is a high-risk, high reward career path.  There are no case studies.  No mentors.  No fallback positions because there’s nowhere to fall.  Musk is a problem solver who’s highly adaptable and not afraid of trial and error.  Of failing or suffering expensive setbacks or going alone where no one has gone before him.

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    Your advantage if you’re on the Unknown Unknown job tier is that the machines aren’t a threat.  AI can’t get programmed to execute actions and activities that have never existed before they sprung from your mind.  You’re ahead of the game.  Ahead of the machines.

    Not forever.  Once you’ve done it, it can be copied.  Replicated by competitors human or digital.  Consider the iPhone.

    Until Steve Jobs comprehended a whole new vision of what a simple phone could be, and then set to work on it, there was no risk of replication. Now? Well, virtually any skilled technician, programmed machine can reverse engineer even the most innovative smartphone.

    What that means is that the challenge of taking your career into Unknown Unknow territory is that you must stay there and perform at that same high level. Innovation is constant.

    We’re Not All Elon Musks but we can all be better than machines

    Most of our minds won’t remain open to brilliant innovative pursuits like the talented inventor, but you can better protect your career.

    Start by honestly reflecting on your responsibilities and job performance. How valuable is your input? Are you a problem solver? Is your work predictive, its processes consistent? Is your workflow pattern easy to see, or is every day different, filled with new challenges?

    The best way to protect your career over the foreseeable future is to stay a step or two ahead of the machines. Get on or stay on a career path of creativity, innovation and self-direction.

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    Leon Ho

    Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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    Last Updated on November 5, 2019

    12 Powerful Habits of a Lifelong Learner

    12 Powerful Habits of a Lifelong Learner

    Formal education is something everyone has to go through to a certain degree, and the knowledge it offers isn’t always that practical in real life. Life long learning is how you improve as a person, bit by bit and day by day.

    Life long learners recognize the importance and joy of growth so they never settle for what they currently know and always seek for improvement.

    Here are 12 habits of people who value lifelong learning have in common – see how many of them you recognize in yourself.

    1. They Read on a Daily Basis

    Whatever problem or dilemma you currently face, there’s definitely at least one decent book that discusses it and presents a variety of solutions.

    Reading is a great way to open up new horizons, train your brain and revolutionize your life. I can’t even count how many times books completely transformed the way I view the world, and it’s always a change for the better. Through reading, you can connect with successful people and learn from the lessons they share.

    Life long learners love to get lost in books and do it regularly. Bill Gates knows that reading matters a lot; on his personal blog, he reviews plenty of game-changing books.

    Due to technology, you can access a bookshelf of the wealthiest entrepreneur on this planet.

    2. They Attend Various Courses

    Whether it’s online or offline, there are countless courses you can participate in without spending a dime on it. These are great opportunities to connect with clever and like-minded people and learn from them.

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    Because of the advanced technology, you can now gain knowledge from online programs, starting from coding through self-improvement to programs from top universities.

    There are literally endless ways to thrive. What life long learners have in common is squeezing as much as possible out of these opportunities.

    3. They Actively Seek Opportunities to Grow

    Instead of spending your free time laying on the couch and watching TV, you prefer doing something creative and practical. You know every wasted minute is gone forever.

    That’s why you’d rather practice your language skills with a native-speaker you’ve met, engage in local meet up or attend a class that teaches something you always wanted to learn.

    Life long learners stay up-to-date with growth opportunities in their areas and participate in them frequently.

    4. They Take Care of Their Bodies

    “Physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body, it is the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity.” — John F. Kennedy

    A clever mind combined with a body in a great condition is the best asset you can have. Our bodies were designed to run, walk, jump, swim, lift and much more. Leading a sedentary lifestyle harms both your physical and mental sphere.

    Life long learners know the body is your temple. In order to make it flourish for as long as possible, they train regularly, move a lot and eat healthy.

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    5. They Have Diverse Passions

    Among Steve Jobs’ wise quotes, there’s one I like especially. It’s about connecting the dots:

    “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.” — Steve Jobs

    Each dot is some event or skill in your life, and it’s only when you go through these elements that you know how to combine them into something great.

    Having a variety of passions indicates that you love to progress. By practicing different skills, you give yourself an advantage over the rest of the people. During hard times, you are more likely to to act intelligently and solve your problems with less effort.

    6. They Love Making Progress

    If behind the efforts, there is passion and a deep desire to grow, your chances of success are way higher, compared to when you are forced to learn.

    Life long learners love to experience the constant growth and improvement. The breakthrough moments help them to notice the impressive change that took place because of the learning process. Any milestone serves as a driving force for further headway.

    7. They Challenge Themselves with Specific Goals

    In order to keep growing, you clearly define your goals. Smart goal setting is one of the tools to ensure constant growth.

    Since you love challenges, a difficult goal doesn’t scare you. Quite the opposite, it keeps you motivated and engaged.

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    Research showed that precise and ambitious goals increase the performance of an individual. As we already agreed, life long learners are people who care about their performance, hence they never stop improving.

    8. They Embrace Change

    A complete change can lead to incredible results. This is especially visible on the example of successful companies.

    Oftentimes, it’s that transformation which created space for their so-called overnight success. Twitter was originally created as an internal service to serve Odeo employees. Currently, it has over 300 million monthly active users and is considered the second biggest social network.

    As a life long learner, you know a change can lead to extraordinary results so you welcome it and stay open minded about making a shift.

    9. They Believe It’s Never Too Late to Start Something

    Some people tend to think after a certain age, they are no longer allowed to start something and become successful. The truth is, it’s just a lame excuse not to leave the comfort zone.

    Opposite to common misconceptions, there’s no wrong age to begin something. Henry Ford was 45 when he invented the Ford Model T car, which is considered as the first affordable automobile.

    Sure, for some domains like becoming a professional athlete, starting early is required. However, to learn and improve for its own sake, you are never too old.

    10. Their Attitude to Getting Better Is Contagious

    “We now accept the fact that learning is a life long process of keeping abreast of change. And the most pressing task is to teach people how to learn.” — Peter Drucker

    There’s nothing better than to see your surroundings getting involved in what you actively participate in. Oftentimes, the best way to achieve that is to inspire them and be the example. As Gandhi would say, you need to be the change you want to see in the world.

    As a life long learner, you are extremely passionate about the constant growth and people around you can sense that positive attitude. As a result, they start acting similarly.

    11. They Leave Their Comfort Zone

    Is it really better to step out of your comfort zone? The answer is always yes.

    You always embrace discomfort as you know the path to success leads through hardship and countless obstacles. Instead of being afraid of facing them, you challenge yourself to overcome more and more difficult handicaps.

    Every time you get out of your comfort zone, regardless whether you win or fail, you learn something new. That’s the part you love the most!

    12. They Never Settle Down

    “Knowledge is exploding, so you need to commit yourself to a plan for life long learning.” — Don Tapscott

    A sense of being clever enough is something you don’t experience. Without a doubt, you appreciate what you already know, but that’s never a reason to stop. You just know once you stop learning, you lose the amazing privilege humans have, namely an ability to a never-ending intellectual development.

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    Featured photo credit: Christin Hume via unsplash.com

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