Taylor Phillips, managing director of the new 501(c)(3) nonprofit Futureproof Bama is the guest on Episode 20 of the Ignite Alabama podcast.
The mission of Futureproof Bama is to raise awareness of “technological unemployment” and help Alabama quickly prepare for what I like to call the 21st century economy.
Alabama has, at most, a 10-year window to prepare for a future where 30% or more of the jobs that exist today will be replaced by AI, robotics and other automation technologies.
The time to prepare for this new future is today, but that can only happen if there's awareness that leads to action.
I'm optimistic about how my own life will fit into the new automation paradigm, but, like Taylor, I'm concerned that Alabama is woefully unprepared for the future that is already arriving. Many jobs are being lost to AI and automation technology right now.
The Impact of Automation
When most people think of automation and robots they think of robotic welding and factory floor assembly lines.
In reality, the job sectors are going to be hit first and fastest will be the traditional administrative positions in banking and finance, insurance, document review and assembly and the like.
Trucking and transportation will also be hard hit. We're less than 10 years away from a reality where autonomous vehicles, including delivery trucks and long-haul trucking, are commonplace. Although autonomous vehicles are still in the experimental stage, these experiments are now occurring “in the field” and wider implementation is in the very near future.
Although lawyers won't be replaced by robots in the immediate future, the legal profession is seeing the benefits of time-saving in document review and analysis. It's common to use AI now to review documents produced in discovery for litigation and in contract due diligence. Rather than hire 5 paralegals and 8 law clerks, a medium-sized law firm might only need 2 today paralegals and 3 law clerks, thanks to AI. Multiply that across a state or profession and you see the impact.
MDs won't be replaced by robots this year either, but AI is being used in both diagnosis and radiological reviews.
Every profession, every trade, every job category will be impacted by automation, AI and related technology.
How To Become Future-Proof?
The message is not that everyone needs to learn to code. Future-proofing is not about obtaining a particular job skill but, Phillips says, more about possessing and developing the necessary traits to adapt, grow and exercise creativity.
I like to call it “connecting the dots.”
Individuals who can cultivate their creativity, who can learn to think outside the box, and who are willing to experiment and try new things can figure out how to adapt and thrive in the 21st century economy.
Those who like things “they way they used to be” (or the “way they are”) will be left behind. Those who fear of change prefer to stay with what is comfortable and “known” will be left behind.
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