Will Robots Take Away My Job?

Bhaskar Chaitterge, Head - Recruitment & Talent Acquisition, Citius TechBhaskar Chatterge holding over 13+ years of experience has worked as a Sr. Technical Recruiter Talent Acquisition Specialist, Delivery Lead Talent Acquisition and Head of Recruitment & Talent Acquisition for several companies in the East Coast through Rishi Infotech then Collabera, Vector Consulting, Hexaware Technologies and presently is serving Citius Tech.

Progress is not a new concept it is in our genes humans have been blessed with the power of a superior brain, the ability to analyze learn and improve. Automation has been synonymous with progress probably we see this more often and more evidently than ever before. Just a few decades back, we no longer wanted slower transport, we were not satisfied with telephone or telegram we went on to faster cars, airplanes, mobile phones and tablets. Cut to present day we already have self driven cars we have Alexa and AI devices as our personal assistants & secretaries they know what we want and predict when we want as well.

As Robotics Artificial Intelligence and Automation take over the world for some, it is the exciting opportunity to be part of this dramatic progression of mankind for others it may cause anxiety of having to cope with rapid and unexpected changes. We have adapted very well to our cell phones from being mere devices of communication to powerful computers and multi functional gadgets in our pockets. But, have we adapted equally well to the way our jobs are being revolutionized by the advent of Automation and Artificial Intelligence? Does this mean an improvement in the quality of life or does it pose a threat to our livelihoods as more and more processes are being automated? Despite the fact that today’s life is an actual realization of sci-fi novels of yester years it is quite surprising a fact, that this causes anxiety and creates fear instead of bewilderment & pride.

The reason for this is predominantly the accelerated pace at which modern technology has taken over. If we see the progression of technology it has been steady until the third industrial revolution. However after this, there is a rapid accelerated pace at which technological advances have taken the world over and basically while we had envisioned the future, we are to a great extent, taken aback to suddenly find ourselves in the very midst of it. While modern innovations do improve the quality of
life in terms of products and services, putting us more in control of the elements, it has subtly taken away our comfort zone and brought in the fear of the unknown. Indeed it is true that automation has replaced humans from the workforce in several arenas. A 2013 Oxford study claims that as high as 47 percent of current US jobs are at risk due to emerging automation technologies. Many such studies and news reports about workforces being downsized as human labor is replaced by smarter and smarter machines which have been flashing around. Such large numbers and fear inducing media coverage have naturally induced a fear of losing jobs to automation. The fact that we already have production lines completely automated with robots delivering products flawlessly with no need for rest or zero downtime only adds to this conviction.

However, a closer look warrants no real immediate threat to our jobs but a pressing need to change our behavior attitude approach to work place as today’s workplace demands a different set of competencies and skills. AI breakthroughs like AlphaGo IBM Watson, self driving cars, and many more have great capabilities but the millions of dollars & years that have gone into the research have merely shown us the possibilities should these technologies finally emerge and be actually applicable to their fullest potentials, and it is going to take another gazzillion of dollars of investment and years of research to reach there. As long as we understand the changes being brought about, human intervention and presence are still very much a necessity and will continue to be, for quite some time. Yes, the roles will change, the expectations will change. Organizations will place greater emphasis on analytics, understanding the machines and the technology, than on the ability to merely use them.

To keep ourselves secure and up to date in today’s world, what is needed is for us to understand the newer fields of jobs. We need to embrace the changes with open arms. No matter how difficult it is to adjust fact remains that what we have been taught for years is rendered invalid as newer truths emerge. We must equip ourselves with present day knowledge and keep updating & upgrading if we want to outrun the risk of being outdated. We must understand that what is new today may not be so tomorrow, and we must learn to adapt, learn & unlearn the prerequisites for which are having a positive attitude & flexibility.

We have to understand that today’s workplace no longer needs humans on redundant steps as these can be, and will be automated. It is important to understand how automation increases the pace of delivery machines do not need to rest do not have social needs do not have fatigue(yes they do require basic maintenance but far less than humans) and how application of technology is the need of the hour. As the quest to make better and better machines emerge, there will emerge the need for humans to understand and replicate their own behavior in machines sans the negatives. We cannot compete with machines and the truth is we don’t have to. What we must do is change our mindsets accept and embrace Agile.

This is the age where analytical skills have far more demand than our capabilities to work with a chisel & hammer we need to break the shackles of ‘this is how its done and start thinking ‘how else and how better can this be done’. We must know our strengths and play to them the age of mediocre is over the age of adaptable is in. Newer and newer avenues are opening up Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) Data Science and Machine Learning are only a few of the newly emerging fields with huge demand. The next big thing unravels itself everyday! As students or as professionals we have to be aware of the newer trends, the newer demands the newer needs. We have to gear up for the future for as long as we understand the evolution of automation and keep pace with it machines are here to help us and the work place will welcome us with open arms.