Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. This means that I may receive a small commission if you make a purchase, at no cost to you.
“Alexa, could you call my hair stylist and schedule an appointment for me? You can take a look at my calendar when I’m available. Ok, I gotta run. Bye!” Wouldn’t it be cool if Alexa, or Google Home, could do things like this for you without having you to detail out the steps? What if Alexa could have a two-way conversation with a receptionist and figure out a time that works between your stylists’ schedule and you own? How productive would this be? Ok, now what if I told you that something exactly like this already exists today? I am 100% serious, I’ll tell you more about it in a second.
Artificial Intelligence, I’ll abbreviate it as AI for short, has been the topic of many conversations in the last few years. Some of us don’t really pay much attention to it, as we don’t really see or feel how it affects our lives (yet). But AI is improving at lightning speed. You now have computers develop languages, algorithms, painting, automate factory processes and winning world champions at chess, what next? Our jobs.
We Are Becoming More Receptive to AI
I’m not trying to imply that all of our jobs will be replaced by AI, but a significant portion to start with.
Truth is: some of our job tasks today can be automated or taken over completely by AI.
McKinsey found that “about 60 percent of all occupations have at least 30 percent of activities that are technically automatable” This would make it especially appealing to company’s executives to cut operating costs since they will no longer need to pay [salaries] for the work to be performed. In fact, work may be done at a quicker and more efficient pace with AI.
Interestingly, we are becoming more and more receptive to AI. Nope, it’s coming at us and we are not pushing back. How so? Well, think about the general sentiment that went around during the initial discussions of automated vehicles in the media.
People were attacking the idea, completely resenting it, and claiming that it will never work and that no one would ever trust robots to make decisions for them on the road. But when Google started to experiment with self-driving cars in 2009, we became a bit less skeptical about the idea. Then Tesla enabled autopilot (hands-free) feature in some of their models in 2016.
More people were becoming more open to the idea. Today, all of their models include this feature as part of their base package. How do we feel about it today? Even less skeptic and are even willing to get behind the wheel of an automated vehicle to give it a try.
What Should You Be Doing About AI Now?
If you are not already familiar with AI, I would advise going on the web and starting with the current state of AI and trends for 2019. I won’t suggest a single site for this purpose because they tend to vary in topics. If you work in marketing, then search for AI topics in marketing and familiarize yourself with the latest trends with what comes up in the results. But if you really wanted to start somewhere, I would recommend watching the TedTalk by Matt Beane (“How do we learn to work with intelligent machines?”).
Begin Using AI
Well, if AI is here to stay, why not start interacting with it? Maybe it can help increase your day to day productivity. Alexa and Google Home are some of the easiest consumer AI products to come by these days and cost approximately $20-30 (depending on the model).
The skills that they’re capable of are constantly changing, so maybe you can start growing your AI knowledge as it evolves. You can begin using Alexa to help you with day to day tasks. It may seem a bit awkward at first, but you’ll get used to it pretty quickly. I use Alexa and I keep her at work to help remind me about tasks due, upcoming meetings, checking the weather, listening to the news, and other things. She’s definitely worth the $20 I spent.
Knowing that AI will most likely begin taking over tasks is that “replaceable,” the next thing you can do is having a better understanding where you and your job stands.
I would start with this automation risk map by Bloomberg.
It covers a pretty wide spectrum of different roles, so even if you are not able to find your exact role on this map – there is a change something similar. Found it? Where does your role lie on this spectrum? Is your current job at a higher risk of automation?
Consider looking at opportunities for you to grow and expand your skills within your role, and maybe look to expand your knowledge in other areas. No, I’m not suggesting that you drop everything and enroll in a university, but you can begin to expand your knowledge through online content, and relevant books.
If you have been considering changing professions and possibly trying something new, maybe this would be a good chance to evaluate where you should be going next. And if you are happy where you are and are confident with your role, great! I totally support whatever choice you make (if that makes any difference).
Creativity and our unique problem-solving skills are more challenging for AI to emulate, so we have that going for us! Continue to evolve your creativity. There are lots of opportunities to work on various online projects and challenges to get your mind working.
One of the platforms that I really enjoy is OpenIDEO. They constantly run challenges that address social issues around the world and invite everyone (from all walks of life) to participate. I’m very familiar with this platform as I helped organize one of the challenges for an issue our company was addressing.
Remember the “hypothetical” example that I told you about at the beginning of this post about AI scheduling appointments? Well, check out Google Duplex – this is a short video that shows AI taking (and behaving) like a real person while making an appointment with a receptionist. Insane. AI is part of the technological evolution that we’re part of. The best thing you can do is anticipate and prepare for it.
What are your thoughts about AI? Do you have a favorite AI technology?
Leave a Comment!
I love hearing from you and as always would love to learn your ideas, perspectives, and comments. You don’t know, what you don’t know and I am all ears to hear about what you have to say. I would love to hear your story, so please share it in the comments below! And if you just want to say “hi” – would love to take the opportunity to say “hi” back!