How Do You Train People In Jobs That Yet To Exist?

Every technological transitions replaces or eliminates existing jobs but also creates new ones; the challenge is transitioning those who are left behind because they’ve become experts at doing things that are no longer needed.

Today, a big area of excitement and worry is the fast rise of artificial intelligence; which experts agree is going to eliminate many menial tasks within existing jobs. And this last piece is a huge area of concern because we’re left to ponder about what’s going to happen to people who’s jobs will be taken over by robots.

Here are a few things to consider:

Robots, algorithms, are going to take over many existing jobs; as well as eliminate them. I have no doubt this will happen because it already is, not sure of the time horizon. What do we do before is comes true on wider scale?

Education and Institutions vs. Self- Learning

The easy answer is that our current employers will train us, but that’s not a valid scenario when a human costs more than a robot. It’s a hard problem to crack, sooner rather than later, because as a society and individuals we’ve been conditioned to think that it’s up to our institutions to provide us the tools and knowledge necessary to fit with the needs of society; to be optimizers of the status-quo.

Pundits say that technology always creates more new jobs than it destroys, and while that might have been the case in the past, I’m not so sure it will be the same in a future where we delegate those jobs to algorithms that are superior that us on some levels.

An ideal scenario, is one where AI augments us; not where it makes us obsolete. It’s a future that is already playing out in industrial settings where so called “cobots” work alongside humans; you could make the case that this is the future in the short-term.

Still, that doesn’t mean we should stop learning and retraining ourselves.

What are the jobs of the future?

Can we predict what jobs will exist in the future? That’s a hard question to answer, but you can get a good idea of what those jobs could be by reading the various jobs of the future reports.

One thing is certain: artificial intelligence will embed itself to every existing industry.

Which means we’ll have to constantly reinvent ourselves:

“Children alive today will face the consequences. Most of what people learn in school or in college will probably be irrelevant by the time they are 40 or 50. If they want to continue to have a job, and to understand the world, and be relevant to what is happening, people will have to reinvent themselves again and again, and faster and faster.”

If we look at how we’re educating the next generation, it doesn’t look too different than 5 or 10 years ago; and that needs to change.

Skills we need now and for the future

What skills do we need to develop to be relevant in the future? If there one thing robots will not be able to do in the short-term, is be better than us at skills that make us human.

A couple of reports by the World Economic Forum, New Vision for Education: Fostering Social and Emotional Learning Through Technology and The Future of Jobs, outline the skills students need to learn today to thrive tomorrow:

21st century skills


Top 10 Skills in the future of jobs report from World Economic Forum

The bottom line is we need to educate the next generation in technology, yes, but also the fundamentals of what makes us human. In other words, if robots are to take over, humans need to become more human to become irreplaceable.

With all of the above said, I anticipate and predict a few things will happen in the future:

  • We’ll value self-taught people;
  • We’ll have many jobs;
  • We’ll create our own job.

These conclusions are driven by the rise of artificial intelligence, but also by how organizations and the nature of work are changing thanks to the internet: leaders of the future will look and act very different from today, and innovation will happen in unforeseen ways.

Reinvent Yourself or Die

I asked a few of my peeps for their thoughts on how do we train people in jobs that yet to exist, here are their answers:

Below is the audio where Adrian and I discuss the question, listen to our conversation and let us know what you think on Twitter @jorgebarba and @adrianpedrin.

Like our weekly podcast? Subscribe to my YouTube channel or blog newsletter.

The Big Bang is a weekly podcast. Tune in every Tuesday for more discussions on what’s possible.

Intro audio is by Arturo Arriaga, outro audio is Candyland by Guy J.