Let's face it, AI job disruption is underway
A few years ago I had written an article about how technology is literally obliterating jobs and how to skill yourself up for this new economy. In this article I want to provide you with a renewed peek into what I believe is the road to success, should you want to be part of the artificial intelligence economy - which some are equating to the revolution nearly 120 years ago with electricity.
But first, let's take a look at what digital disruption or the increased pervasiveness of new technology is doing to the job market. Last year, AP (Associated Press) ran a 3-part big story on "Technology and permanent job destruction," very real and a very chilling narrative of what is happening in the job market right now. We have never witnessed at jobless economic recovery ever!
Most of the jobs will never return, and millions more are likely to vanish as well, say experts who study the labor market. What's more, these jobs aren't just being lost to China and other developing countries, and they aren't just factory work. Increasingly, jobs are disappearing in the service sector, home to two-thirds of all workers.
They're being obliterated by technology.
The research note is informative, it subtly glorifies great technologies while carrying a chilling undertone that you might be next on the line to lose your job! It scares you (and me) for sure. It, however, doesn't tell you how you should prepare yourself for it.
I will attempt to put things in perspective by using my experience with digital and emerging technologies from the past 20 odd years and also suggest where you should look. So please stay with me, even if you have never worked in the technology area because this could really change the way you look at this unapproachable hi-tech market.
You can be part of it!
I am very enthusiastic about digital technologies and I write quite frequently on Linkedin about how the internet is changing the way we work and how it will help us all to focus on productivity and creativity by using technologies such as cloud computing, social, mobile and big data analytics.
But first, my personal story
In 1998 I had migrated to Europe for personal reasons (I got married and we decided that Netherlands was a better place to settle) and soon enough I was looking for a job. I had just 5000 Guilders (that's nearly $2500/€2200 - pre euro days) in my pocket. It was a bit complex since I had to learn a European language and had to adapt to the new culture. Everything was new, I was excited, nervous and a lot of things were going on in my mind. (My story was also published by an ex-AP / Al-Jazeera Journalist for a startup.)
After taking my local language exams, I started calling up firms and fortunately landed a job quite early - within 5 months. I was thrilled!
At the same time, I came across a small firm in California called VMware, which originated initially from a Stanford University Project. The technology was called virtualisation, a means to convert your fully physical computer into digital files. You had to create your computer once and run anywhere!
I started playing with their technology on weekends and after-work hours. I spent hundreds of hours per month trying out everything. It felt great! I skilled-up myself with that brand new technology fairly early, had no idea if there would ever be a job in that area but it was fun. I went ahead, built my routine, bought our first house and life was good.
Then 9/11 happened! It was all over the news. Markets crashed and I'd hoped that job loss wouldn't happen to me, after all, I was a small fish in a big pond, right? No, it did happen!
I was without a job, although for a very brief period of time but it had scared the heck out of me! Had I not paid attention to the emerging technology market early on, had I not skilled-up in my own private time burning midnight oil, I would have been in deep trouble! Ever since I've never let my guard down.
There is no escaping from the market reality of recession which seems to come quite frequently lately. And they will continue to come.
The market reality -- everything is data and Artificial Intelligence!
For centuries new technology has been destroying older / aging technology jobs but it has also been creating newer jobs. Now, this is might sound like a great relief to many but this time around it looks a bit more startling than the previous market crashes. Jobs aren't coming back!
The new global economy is being run on, and by, intelligent machines that generate and analyse huge amounts of data; by smart devices such as iPhones and iPads that let people work just about anywhere at anytime, even when they’re on the move; by smarter, nimbler robots; and by services that let businesses rent computing power when they need it, instead of installing expensive equipment and hiring IT staffs to run it. Whole employment categories, from secretaries to travel agents, are starting to disappear.
Clearly the internet bubble crash in 2001 is dwarfed by the 2008 great recession. What is startling to see is that the middle-class jobs -- killed by the digital disruption, that went away would never return! 3.7 million jobs were lost in the middle-class segment alone! See for yourself.
So, clearly something has to be done, it won't happen on its own. But where to look and for what kind of new jobs?
Forget about dying jobs, get ready for the new jobs!
So, economies are in shambles, employers continue to jettison the workforce and more of that depressing news you can read in those articles from Economist or AP if you are not already confronted with those realities in or around your day-to-day life.
Instead, I urge you to stay with me so we can work together with an up-skill route for you to get to the new job/skills. I sketched a matrix which can help you get a picture. It is quite self-explanatory and you know in which direction you need to move to enhance your skill sets.
Adapted from research conducted by Future of employment, I am making a new version called "Jobs Upskill Route 2.0."
The new economy is upon us and digital disruption needs you as much. Current and aging technologies are a huge deterrent for companies to remain competitive in this extremely volatile market. If you find yourself working with aging or dying technology, it is pretty much certain that you are either without a job or you soon will be. I am not saying that you might be without a job, you will lose that job.
So you have to start mapping a up-skill route now to continue to be relevant in the existing and new markets. But how are you going to do that? You need to develop a personalized up-skill plan.
Lets look at the industries that are soon going to generate huge amount of jobs...
#1 Automative Industry: self-driving cars, trucks and robots
Just look at the self driving cars that are being driven by deep learning technology that allows cars to see and act like humans, some would say even super humans! I will soon write a separate article detailing how and where AI is being applied to the automotive industry but this infographic I created should help you get a picture already what it means in terms of new jobs that will be emerging from this disruption.
#2 Healthcare Industry: deep learning bioinformatics engineers
The healthcare industry is up for a huge overhaul. There is no industry that AI has touched so heavily as the healthcare industry. We are beginning to see a huge amount of medical data being released by medical institutions (with the permission of the patients and/or the family of those who are deceased).
The whole idea is to let the medical practitioners do best what they are good at: creativity, and let the machines do what they do great: precision and routine tasks. This is a huge win-win and the opportunity for you to join this economy is huge.
Just take a look at this image below and we are only looking at the cancer datasets that are being released for researchers and AI experts to participate and contribute. In fact this area is so exciting that we will soon be announcing a Joint Venture startup with our partners in the US to just focus on healthcare datasets. The JV will launch out of our dkvdh ventures.
#3 Brain Sciences Industry: a whole new industry is emerging
Another major field is going to open up a whole new industry for all of us. There will be jobs for people from all levels: assistive and advisors to hardware and software engineers. Again, this is a huge topic and I will dedicate a whole new post to it but this infographic, which will be part of the "Jobs Upskill Route 2.0," should already give you a sense of what I mean.
So, you see there is enough room for us to skill up and work towards these new jobs and stop worrying about jobs that we should let go. And I have not even started talking about areas of Space Engineering, Urban Planning and more. You will see in the next 5 years already that they all will be using AI such as Deep Learning and Machine Learning to improve the quality of life and search for answers that have eluded us for so long.
Your AI Upskill Plan -- how do I become more relevant?
Working with clients on a daily basis, I see enormous gaps between what the client organization is capable of and what they are expected to do with Artificial Intelligence, for many we are already building solutions, for some we are conducting ground-breaking research and we are pushing the boundaries by going full blast on AI philanthropy because where jobs cannot come, I go myself and educate the world on AI.
I work personally with CEO/Chairman and other board level members, CMO, CIO, CDO, divisional heads, most admit that this digital disruption from AI poses a big challenge, it demands a new way of working, a new mindset and also new skills. It is also new and most are unaware of the effects of these new technologies on their employees and customers. Clearly, they need help.
These simple 4 steps can help you get moving. By demonstrating it, you will either land that new job or you will take charge and/or transform your existing one.
Step #1: Get accustomed with both new and disruptive technologies - Know what is happening around you. AI, Machine Learning, Deep Learning are increasingly becoming new technologies you should be making your own. You read and hear in the news about how banks, insurers, retailers, automotive, and healthcare are changing their business model by going digital and doing machine learning in just about everything. Try following online seminars, tutorials, web conferences to get a better understanding of these trends and technologies.
Step #2: Can you apply it in your current role? - Know and understand what brings value to your employer and customers. Obviously, if you are on the job, you must try out ways to apply it within your current role. Someone somewhere is already planning a digitization roadmap for those (and other similar) functional roles and tasks. Continue networking, both internally and outside your organization. They will take notice and you could be part of that program.
Step #3: Train yourself for both new and disruptive AI technologies - Whether you're applying it in a current role or you're at home looking for that new job, you need to train yourself in these new and disruptive competencies. You will be spending hours learning those new skills online. Keep moving forward each day, don't settle! In this FAQ you will see that I have created my own tutorials and you are free to use them to learn machine - and deep learning technologies.
Step #4: Go after that new and disruptive job - The market is ripe for the new and disruptive jobs, if things don't work out in your own company, its time to say goodbye. Startups are mushrooming all over; established organizations are looking for professional with these new skills. Keep hunting for your AI project, don't give up.
Honestly, it is as simple as that!
Things have become a lot easier to learn these days, it's not anymore like 15-20 years ago where you needed deep technical insights, infrastructure setup capability and costs that came with it. It's online, in the cloud and you can plug in!
Renewed Infographic "Jobs Upskill Route 2.0" in the making
I will be presenting our next "Jobs Upskill Route 2.0" which I'm fondly calling "Deep Learning Hill Climbing" in upcoming conferences in the US (San Diego, Chicago, Pittsburg, New York), South America (Sao Paolo), Europe and Asia (China - Guangzhou, India - Hyderabad, Bombay, Delhi, Bangalore) in the coming months but here is bit of an example of what I am currently working on.
The first version of these will be released in San Diego in a few weeks!
The writing is on the wall
You cannot hold on to your dying job which is threatened by digital disruption. If your employer continues on the ageing technology roadmap, then they are on a road to self-annihilation. Leave them!
It's time to go pick an employer that is adopting new and emerging technologies. That's the new job you should be going after. So go get that new job!
Good luck Upskilling in AI!