Man against machine: is your career automation-proof? |

Man against machine: is your career automation-proof?

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As larger shares of our work processes and workforce are being handled by machines, writer Dayton English gives an examination of the consequences and impact of the systems that were once deployed to make our lives easier are now replacing us, and provides strategies to ensure a robot doesn’t steal your job.

Every day the boundaries of possibility with technology are pushed to new horizons. Advances offer exciting innovations – it’s truly a wonderful time to be alive!

You can summon a driverless car from your smart phone. After a day out you’re free to go home and immerse yourself in a world of virtual reality, and stretch out while a robot mows your lawn. And forget about folding your own clothes again – an automated process does that now, too.

But convenience and new entertainment come at a price. For every new solution that technology creates and every new innovation, there will be disruptions to sectors and jobs. The time to protect yourself from being replaced by an android is now.

Your light is dimming, star…

If you’re reading this you likely come from a marketing, communications, or public relations background. While no job is immune, these roles appear to be relatively insulated from a Machiavellian robot replacement.

This handy tool, created by the BBC, enables you to enter a job title, and reports the risk of that job being lost to a robot. If you’re a public relations professional, the chances are unlikely, at 18%. A Marketing and Sales Director? Rejoice in the knowledge the likelihood of being replaced by a robot is a miniscule one per cent.

A brave new world

Doomsayers point to research that indicates about half of all jobs in the United States will be outsourced to robots and automation within the next two decades. But before you resign yourself to being bested by your new robot overlords, it’s not all bad news.

In fact there is evidence that while there are undoubtedly redundancies from robots and automation, there are opportunities.

In a dynamic world where information and facts change at a rapidly increasing rate, the way your job gets done is constantly changing.

A recent Washington Post article discusses the elephant in the room of job losses associated with automation and computers and points out that while some jobs we have today will be made redundant, there will be new jobs created that don’t even exist yet.

Get yourself ready

So how do you capitalize on the jobs that don’t exist yet if you don’t even know what they are, or even what the impact on industries will be?

Proactivity is essential. As this 2012 Harvard Business Review article points out, even if you’d freshly graduated from university chances are some of your education is already obsolete.

Your University textbooks aren’t updated every year simply to force new students to buy new books (although that’s a fringe benefit for the publishers). Information and knowledge is constantly evolving.

A recent survey suggested that 80 per cent of global workers are actively upgrading their skills to avoid being replaced by robots.

In a dynamic world where information and facts change at a rapidly increasing rate even without factoring in our robotic competitors, the way your job gets done is constantly changing.

Continuous learning has always been important to career development. With the advancement of robots, it’s now even more crucial.

If you can’t beat’em, join’em

As you chart your career direction, work with the advancement of technology, rather than curling up in the fetal position and awaiting the inevitable takeover of the robots.

An obvious example is the advancement of digital marketing. While it has revolutionized the way that marketers around the world connect with audiences, there has been collateral damage of some lost traditional marketing jobs.

As you progress in your career, be confident and continuously improve your knowledge. It will protect you from automation, and improve your marketability in an uncertain world.

Dayton has a background in marketing and communications and is passionate about the issues that influence professionals in his field. He obtained his Masters in Professional Communications from Royal Roads University.

Did you use the BBC’s tool? Will you be replaced by robots? Let us know in the comments below!