A day doesn’t go by without another prediction that highlights the influence of technology on jobs. Experts at McKinsey predict that as many as 70 million jobs in the U.S. could be impacted by automation by 2030; in contrast, Gartner reports that artificial intelligence (AI) may create more jobs than it eliminates. One thing is certain: we are in a period of unprecedented change, and these stats are enough to give anyone pause about the long-term relevance of their skills and abilities.
AI and machine learning (ML) are changing our way of life in more ways than the invention of the PC, the rise of the internet, or the explosive growth of smartphones and tablets. It’s exciting to see how AI has the potential to take away the mundane tasks associated with our lives and jobs, as well as its potential to boost productivity and create entirely new industries. But it’s also a huge shift, and can cause some uneasiness when we think about the future of the workplace.
Does the rise of AI mean we’re preparing for a future of mass joblessness? Simply put, no.
Let’s start with this reality: AI will make us more efficient, but the workplace still very much values the human touch. In fact, according to an Adobe study, 70 percent of American office workers believe that face-to-face contact is required to do their jobs well. Almost 80 percent believe that the successful workers of the future will excel at collaboration. We all have the opportunity to continue to hone our uniquely human skillsets that machines will not demonstrate.
Whether you are still in school, making your way through a degree, or have decades of experience in the workplace, here are three areas to develop to remain relevant in an emerging AI workplace and world:
1. Emotional Intelligence: When we talk about uniquely human skillsets, EQ or emotional quotient, also referred to as emotional intelligence, is the pinnacle. Howard Gardner, the influential Harvard theorist, defines EQ as the level of your ability to understand other people, what motivates them, and how to work cooperatively with them.