If you are afraid that your role in the post-pandemic economy will be eliminated, worried about the increasing pace of innovation, or just worried that artificial intelligence, machine learning, or business process automation could take over your job, here are some things you can do: to make yourself indispensable.
A little more recent history
Before the pandemic, Fear of the Missing (FOMO) motivated tech-savvy CEOs to take data very seriously. Machine learning systems were already on the way to becoming “table inserts” for every company – department by department, system by system, function by function. Since the pandemic began, that trend has accelerated in every sector in every industry – yours too.
Automation on an industrial scale is coming, but it’s not there yet. In the meantime, some work will be fully automated and some still require human expertise due to the limitations of developing technology, because of cost / benefit, or simply because people are still to be involved.
To survive and thrive as AI-powered automation takes over the business world, you must become the best human / machine partner in your peer group. This means that you must be better than people competing for your job to understand and use “technology” or any other name you might want to use to describe systems that can do cognitive, non-repetitive work , or – or better than – people can do without help.
Here are some specific steps you can take.
Invent the future
When you analyze numbers in Excel, create a narrative about them, and move them to spreadsheets, your employable days are counted – unless you invent the future.
Imagine you need to automate your job, every button press, every call, every personal meeting – everything. Which areas are most likely to be automated? It can only be small parts of the process. It can be helpful to list everything you do and all of your responsibilities and how they are carried out when machines run the world.
You will be surprised how many things you think cannot be automated that are already automated. You’ll also be surprised at how many things you think are easy to automate and nowhere near can be automated. This personal understanding of the capabilities and limitations of AI and machine learning is vital. How do you gain such understanding?
Read all about data, data science, machine learning, AI, and automation. Everything you need to know is available online. There are roughly a million YouTube videos on the subject. Find companies working on automating cognitive tasks associated with your business. Look for partners, vendors, consultants, and well-read bloggers – anyone who can help you understand what you need to do. Immerse yourself in the topic. It is your new full time job.
Be ‘that’ person
This is the hardest step. Dig deep. Become “that person” in your department who “knows this stuff”. Find out where data can be used for better decision making and what tools to use to automate certain tasks and become an expert on them. Your current lack of knowledge is not important. You can learn, so learn!
Propose a test project
After you’ve figured out which vendors, partners, processes, tools, consultants, and peers need to be combined to run your test project, create a short, straightforward presentation (if necessary) to articulate what you want to achieve and what benchmarks you want perform will use to measure success. You will be surprised how quickly management says yes. If management doesn’t say yes, you are working for a company that will not last long. So, look for a job that gives you permission to use your new knowledge.