It always sucks when someone well known says something you've been expounding for years.
Mark Cuban, billionaire investor, and Shark Tank personality, told BloombergTV earlier in the week that he believes software will soon begin writing itself meaning that technology will eventually kill tech jobs themselves.
Civilizations aren't murdered, the old epitaph goes, they commit suicide.
In saying this, Cuban has cracked open the door of doubt in a world of certainty that technology is the great saviour. I want to go a step further and offer hope.
In a world in which humans compete with machines, the only way to survive is not to develop more robotic skills but to focus more on the human ones.
There. I said it. Coding is great right now but it is not the future of work. Quite the opposite. Coding is bound to become a blue collar job.
So what will be left for humans in a world in which software eats everything in sight?
Jobs that rely on the human touch!
We may well see robots cleaning tables and driving but we'll never see a robot priest or Rabbi comforting the sick. We will see robots operating - in factories and on humans - but not starting businesses.
The only way to compete against machines is to do the one thing they can't do. Be human
And the ultimate test of humanity is emotional intelligence (or emotional quotient depending on your intellectual bent!) - those so called soft skills; Being adaptable, flexible, able to work in teams, communicate, think critically (and laterally) and being comfortable with people of different ages and backgrounds.
Hugh Bradlow, the Chief Scientist at Telstra, expounded on this point at the annual Universities Australia Conference. It is Dr Bradlow's belief that in the future; "work force EQ will be more important than IQ"
The workforce will need workers to possess different competencies and that means a greater demand for skills, which, until now, have not been front and centre for employers. More foreign language expertise, impact driven individuals and those who can make the world beautiful (not just those that make it work!) will be sought out. Arts, philosophy and literature students may be struggling now to find well-paying jobs but the demand for their skills, and approach to the world, can only grow.
Augmenting, and complementing, the hard skills you learn in formal education will be key to a successful career and future growth. You may study engineering but you'll be hired for your ability to communicate with clients in China or the creative way in which you analyse the data produced.
Additionally new literacies are going to be key to long term success - something the World Economic Forum concluded in Davos publishing a number of reports to back up this assertion.
How will you manage your life going forward if you lack the key literacies? Financial literacy is key to control over your money and civic literacy and legal literacy will be essential. How will you thrive and survive if you can't make sense of the world around you.
The interesting takeaway of all this is that the future is now. The skills you will need to develop are already in demand today. Considering your degree, and future, through the prism of this change will yield great personal results.
So start talking to strangers, learn to read people and their body language. Learn to adapt to new ways, and new things, and most of all learn to interpret situations and make them work for you.
The future is already here... are you ready?
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