Self Knowledge

Practical guide on how not to be replaced by a robot by 2040

Nov 21, 2019
A man floating on the sea reading a book

The idea that machines will replace work done by humans is not new. The second industrial revolution awakened in us, more or less one hundred years ago, the same doubts that we have today about Artificial Intelligence (AI).

What history shows us is that jobs disappear, but new ones emerge from new technologies. The big difference today is that, unlike machines that automated tasks that required our physical effort, robots equipped with AI will compete with our cognitive abilities: learning, analyzing, communicating and understanding human emotions.

Cute robot smiling
A robot smiling while robbing you your job | @Alex Knight / Unsplash

The job market in 2040

Nobody knows what the world and the job market will be like in 2040. There is great uncertainty as to whether what children are learning in schools today will be of any use in the future. In the professional field, a new graduate, at the beginning of his career, can devote the next ten years perfecting himself in one area, only to see his workforce being replaced by that of a robot.

There will be fewer and fewer jobs that a robot cannot do better.

Elon Musk

Preparing for an uncertain future

Consensus among great contemporary thinkers, I have listed below some of the capabilities that, if cultivated today, will have a long-term impact on your life and will better prepare you for the future shared with AI's.

A child and a robot holding hands
The beginning of a possible friendship between a human and a robot | @Andy Kelly / Unsplash

1. Develop your emotional intelligence

To relate intelligently, creatively and patiently to other people and to yourself is and will continue to be a fundamental ability to have in life. Historian Yuval Harari talks about how an AI needs to know us a little better than we know ourselves,  so it can manipulate us for advertising or political purposes, for example.

2. Seek mental balance

Our species has evolved from a local and linear world to a global and exponential one. Keeping up with the speed of things around us is impossible and it is no coincidence that so many people today suffer from anxiety and depression. Seeking self-knowledge, feeling comfortable with silence, valuing moments of boredom and lack of external stimuli, and directing our thoughts so that they work for us and not against us are effective techniques to improve our mental health.

A man floating on the sea reading a book
A human living in the liquid world | @Toa Heftiba / Unsplash

3. Cultivate the ability to learn

We need to constantly deepen studies in our area so as not to fall behind. This is nothing new. However, in addition to this, it is also necessary to expand our knowledge to different areas. We must cultivate our curiosity and recognize that we will never know enough - in this way the mind remains open to new possibilities.

4. Be water, my friend

We live in a "liquid world," as proposed by Zygmunt Bauman. As technology replaces the positions we hold today, reinventing ourselves will be the new rule. That's why we need to remain flexible and be careful when associating a profession with our identity - before lawyers, economists, programmers and designers, we are all humans.

In the ideal scenario, it would be more a matter of choice than opportunity, like when a taxi driver needs to choose whether or not to embrace technology and work as an Uber. What we need to keep in mind is that some areas will suffer a complete disruption, so it's up to us to start preparing today for when that happens.

If your current work were to be replaced by robots, would you be willing to learn something new, from scratch?

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