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In class this past weekend, we were discussing Artificial Intelligence and how it will be beneficial to startups.

As always when discussing the efficiencies brought by AI, there is always the question: What about jobs?

The booming growth of machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI), like most transformational technologies, is both exciting and scary.

It is exciting to consider all the ways our lives may improve, from managing our calendars to making  medical diagnoses, but it is scary to consider the social and personal implications, and particularly the implications for our careers.

As machine learning continues to grow, we all need to develop new skills in order to differentiate ourselves.

But which ones?

It is long been known that AI and automation/robotics will change business, markets and the future of work.

Self-driving cars will force over three thousand truck drivers to seek new forms of employment, and robotic production lines like Tesla’s will continue to eat away at manufacturing jobs, which are currently at 12 million and falling.

But this is just the beginning of the disruption.

As AI improves, which is happening quickly, a much broader set of “thinking” rather than “doing” jobs will be affected.

We are talking about jobs, that, until the last few years, we could not imagine being done without the participation of an actual, trained human being. Jobs like teacher, doctor, financial advisor, stockbroker, marketer, and business consultant.

Those that want to stay relevant in their professions will need to focus on skills and capabilities that artificial intelligence has trouble replicating, understanding, motivating, and interacting with human beings.

A smart machine might be able to diagnose an illness and even recommend treatment better than a doctor.  It takes a person, however, to sit with a patient, understand their life situation [finances, family, quality of life, etc.], it takes a person to pick that another person is depressed and and help determine what treatment plan is optimal.

Similarly, a smart machine may be able to diagnose complex business problems and recommend actions to improve an organization. A human being, however, is still best suited to jobs like coaching and encouraging the leadership team to action, avoiding political hot buttons, and identifying savvy individuals to lead change.

I’m still not convinced that AI will be conscious, will be able to dream, will have the ability to come up with a vision that inspires everyone to forge ahead.

It is these human capabilities that will become more and more prized over the next decade.

Skills like persuasion, social understanding, and empathy are going to become differentiators as artificial intelligence and machine learning take over our other tasks.

Unfortunately, these human-oriented skills have generally been viewed as second priority in terms of training and education.

We have all experienced the doctor, financial planner, or consultant who is more focused on his or her reports and data than on our unique situations and desires.

What you have to offer, what you can do better than any smart machine, is relate to the people around you.

Artificial intelligence is at the forefront of driving change in the world, but it is emotional intelligence that is in the driving seat holding the steering wheel that determines where humanity should go.

To use 4IR mindset, it will be emotional intelligence that will direct the destination where the self-drive car [powered by AI] should go.

It is important to begin to nurture and invest in these abilities the same way that you have the more technical parts of your career.

If you can be an outstanding motivator, manager, or listener, then you will still have a part to play as technology changes your industry.

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