I read an article recently about how humans are becoming the useless class. Historian, Yuval Noah Harari, reckons we are not too far away from a future in which the technology we've created to assist us will put us out of work.
This isn't a new concept, but the reality of it actually happening has become much more prevalent than before.
The article states the jobs we do are all just algorithms – algorithms that are easy learnt, and in turn easily replaceable with technology (because – think about it – most jobs are pretty straightforward).
However, Harari also states that ancient hunter-gatherers had to perform a shit-ton of skills in order to survive – ranging from tracking and hunting animals, to knowing which berries to eat, and to making fire and cooking said food. Making it a much harder algorithm to figure out.
Today, we're "specialised and professionalised" in one career only, so when the machines learn – we're out in the cold.
Although it's good to specialise in a certain craft, it will be necessary for us to specialise in multiple streams. Don't get me wrong, specialisation is needed (doctors, engineers, psychiatrists), but the majority of jobs in our society are easily replaceable and will efficiently and effectively be done so with technology.
We've heard all this before, yet there was a very interesting point I took out of the article:
"Very soon this traditional model will become utterly obsolete, and the only way for humans to stay in the game will be to keep learning throughout their lives and to reinvent themselves repeatedly."
Having undergone a few mini "reinventions" through my own career, I can totally relate to this statement. I've realigned myself, learned new skills, new habits. Learned that there are different ways to solve a problem and that we are just one peg in a big-ass machine.
By reinventing yourself you learn how different areas of business work. You learn how to deal with situations that can't be solved with a hammer and duct tape. You learn new skills that add to your repertoire and can only benefit you when the going gets tough.
"But I'm good at what I do!" I hear you say, "Why do I need to change?" Because you become better, stronger, more versatile, and less replaceable by an algorithm.
Yes, it may be outside of your comfort zone to learn a new technology. It's damned stressful when you are now responsible for a group of people. You will feel out of place when you move to a new role in a new team.
There is nothing wrong with feeling any of discomfort.
Just push through, keep plodding, and be open to learning. Before you know it, you will be drawing on your multifaceted previous experiences in order to counteract whatever is in front of you now.
It's a scary world we're heading into, but I truly believe if you are adaptable enough and continue learning and changing, you'll be ok.
On a side note, the study to which the article refers to predicts that archaeology is one of the least likely professions to be replaced by technology (1% chance). Maybe I should follow one of my dreams and become an archaeologist (haha).