The key to your future: Will you be transactional … or inspirational?

This isn’t a great time to be human, is it?

  • Not with a Wharton School of Business report predicting that 47 percent of all jobs — blue collar and white collar alike — will be automated into extinction within the next 25 years.
  • Not with Oxford University researchers estimating that the tax preparation profession has a 98.7 percent chance of being completely automated within the next 20 years. The odds that accounting and auditing will be completely automated in the same time frame? A mere 93.5 percent.
  • Not with cognitive-learning technologies doing more of the work that we’ve spent our careers learning and doing.
  • Not in an age when artificial intelligence and cognitive-learning technologies are poised to automate every job that can be automated.

We’ve entered an age when, as thought leader Peter Sheahan says, “humans should only do work that only humans can do.”

Therein lies the paradox: The age of automation is actually a perfect time to be human. Consider this from David Mattin, global head of trends and insights at TrendWatching:

“On the one hand, there is a rising expectation that ever-more aspects of life be fast, easy and frictionless,” Mattin writes. “The automation of everyday services delivers just that, by cutting out the often slow, inefficient human component of the service.

“On the other hand, in a world of material abundance and increasing automation, we place ever more value on rare, surprising and enriching experiences. … And here’s the thing: Given that humans are social animals, the involvement of other people is typically fundamental to the experiences we value most.”

And that’s great news, isn’t it? Machines can do a lot of amazing things, but they can’t feel empathy or courage, they can’t read body language, and while they’re unsurpassed at crunching the numbers, they’re not so good at telling the story behind the numbers.

They’re not so good at being human.

“Yes, automation will kill a ton of jobs in the coming years,” Mattin writes. “But in an automated world, there will also be ever-greater demand for the truly human, and new ways for individuals to profit from their unique knowledge, passion and personality.

“In other words,” Mattin adds, “in a world where the functional and transactional is automated, what we’ll have left is each other. New jobs, and a new kind of economy, will be built on new ways to entertain, inspire, inform and simply be with your fellow humans.”

Which will you be prepared to deliver — the transactional, or the inspirational?

Your future depends on the answer.


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