IBM CEO Ginni Rometty believes that A.I. will change the workforce (and jobs) much sooner than you might think.
“I expect AI to change 100 percent of jobs within the next five to 10 years,” Rometty recently told the audience at CNBC’s At Work Talent & HR: Building the Workforce of the Future Conference in New York City, adding: “To get ready for this paradigm shift companies have to focus on three things: retraining, hiring workers that don’t necessarily have a four-year college degree and rethinking how their pool of recruits may fit new job roles.”
Rometty also suggested that A.I. will impact every industry. This echoes comments she made earlier this year at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, in which she said that “new technologies” risked disenfranchising “a large part of society.”
Pundits and analysts generally expect that A.I. and machine learning will have a seismic effect on industries over the next several years. However, nobody knows which industries will be affected the most, or the ultimate cost in terms of human unemployment. In late 2018, for example, a report from analyst firm Forrester suggested that automation would kill 10 percent of jobs this year, while creating the equivalent of 3 percent of the current job stock.
During a discussion at this year’s SXSW, U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY 14th District) suggested that automation could ultimately prove a good thing. “We should not be haunted by the specter of being automated out of work,” she told the audience, according to The Verge. “We should be excited by that. But the reason we’re not excited by it is because we live in a society where if you don’t have a job, you are left to die. And that is, at its core, our problem.”
But in reality, many tech pros are frightened by the prospect of a machine taking their jobs. What’s the solution? Jobs that involve more creativity and human interaction are less likely to end up automated in the near term; if you refine your “soft skills” such as empathy, you’re not only more likely to land management-style positions, but you’re less likely to see that skill-set replicated by a bit of code.
In order to stay ahead of automation’s inevitable wave, think about expanding your career to roles such as project manager, team lead, or even something in the C-suite. Whether or not automation hits your industry next year or next decade, seismic changes are on the way—and you should think about how you’ll be potentially affected.