We work with computers now – that just seems natural.
Many people have jobs that involve using a computer at some point – it’s hard to think of many occupations that don’t.
Thirty years ago – that would have been unthinkable. Fifty years ago, people would still have scoffed at the idea of individuals owning computers.
The way in which we produce work and output in the future is inevitably going to involve technology.
Which means we should ask ourselves where we might fit in?
Robots – AI – all the tech we have – are still essentially logic circuits. They do things they are programmed to do.
If we could take the knowledge inside a doctor’s head, a lawyer’s head and turn it into a series of steps that could be done by a computer using a decision tree, then we’d be able to free up some of that professional’s time.
In many offices, there is someone given the task of comparing columns of figures and picking out the ones that don’t match.
If anyone is still doing that by eye – they need to get more skills – and quickly.
We’re not going to beat robots at tasks that involve calculation or large amounts of numbers.
We will be able to automate them to perform certain tasks – from doing our accounts to managing our heating.
Many systems come with this technology increasingly built in.
NEST can warm your building when it knows you’re coming home. Landrovers warm up your car in the morning ready to go to work.
So, what does that leave humans to do?
What’s left are essentially human tasks.
Things like being creative, using our judgement, having empathy and doing critical thinking.
Some of us will also be needed to clean and maintain the robots that do all the work.
But increasingly, we’ll spend our time doing work that comes up with new and better things and helps others – especially in ageing economies.
In other words – we need to shift to providing humanity as a service.