Only The Centaurs Win
In the first chapter of Smarter Than You Think, the author (Clive Thompson) narrated the story of the rise, fall and rise of Kasparov, a chess grand champion. The main takeaway depicted a battle between the past and future. In 1997, IBM’s Deep Blue supercomputer beat the world champion, Kasparov, in a game of chess. The defeat was devastating and media houses termed it the evil triumph of AI over the brain.
But Kasparov did something beautiful after that. He learned the ways of the supercomputer. Partnered with the AI and gave birth to what’s now called Advanced Chess.
Software is eating the world. And to be spared, one needs to pander to its desires, master it and in turn, use to it achieve one's goals.
That’s why it's saddening when you see entrenched traditional system fight in futility against innovation.
Office workers revolting against computerized systems brought to replace them. Taxi drivers protesting against Uber. DVD companies using cutthroat practices to destroy streaming companies. Hotels scheming against AirBnB.
All exercises in futility. What is certain is that sooner or later, innovation - in this case AI always win.
The smart ones are those who stay on the good side.
Being On The Good Side Of AI
Funnily, we all are slowly becoming centaurs. We can’t perform many of our daily activities without making use of AI. Google search engine to quickly make decisions, Facebook to flaunt our emotional state et al. It begs the question. If we can embrace technology in mundane aspects of our lives, why can't we embrace it in something more important than that: our means of sustenance?
A reminder: A Journey to 2022
Many a time, we know the urgency of a situation but don’t take action. Bystander effect? For example, traditional media behemoths all saw the birth of the Internet but refused to take active part in it.
So here’s a reminder of how dramatic the future will be. It’s an amazing video by PwC:
What You Can Do
If you’re a college graduate, then Bill Gates’ last month twitter thread is probably the best for you…
New college graduates often ask me for career advice. I was lucky to be in my early 20s when the digital revolution was just getting under way, and Paul Allen and I had the chance to help shape it. (Which explains my lack of a college degree—I left school because we were afraid the revolution would happen without us.) If I were starting out today and looking for the same kind of opportunity to make a big impact in the world, I would consider three fields.
2/ AI, energy, and biosciences are promising fields where you can make a huge impact. It's what I would do if starting out today.- Bill Gates (@BillGates) May 15, 2017
And if you’re already working, your best bet is to constantly improve your skills and switch career lines.
The Guardian gives a beautiful illustration of this situation below:
In summary, GoDaddy’s CEO advice is probably the best one-size-fit-all advice:
I posit that today most people choose their career at the conjunction of “what they are good at” and “what pays the most,” with little consideration for doing what they love. But the same Applied AI that’s driving job-killing automation can simultaneously help individuals follow their entrepreneurial dreams. Dreams that are tied to a third circle in the Venn diagram: “doing what they love.”
THE DAO and the Blockchain
A more radical case of the future of work is the DAO - Decentralized autonomous organization. It’s an automated organization that runs on smart contracts. No CEO, No Board of Directors, No Structure at all. All managed on the blockchain.
Why this sounds like almost impossible scenario, a few crypto communities are being successfully running based on these smart contracts. Steem?
Imagine a happy workplace with no bosses!
It’s easy to get too comfortable with the current work styles and ignore the sweeping tide of AI. More and more companies are spending billions of dollars every year to improve their competitive advantage with artificial intelligence.
Although there is a never-ending debate as to whether automation kills or creates jobs, there is no doubt that those who will prosper in the future are those with a wide-variety of constantly updated skills.
Be a Centaur.
Over to you:
So tell me, have you switched jobs to a different field? And what career skills have you developed outside (formal) college education?
I would love to hear from you. :)