Nearly half of all working Americans risk losing their jobs because of technology. It’s not only blue-collar jobs at stake. Millions of educated “knowledge” workers—journalists, lawyers, doctors, marketers—are threatened by accelerating advances in artificial intelligence.
The industrial revolution shifted workers from farms to factories. In the first era of automation, machines relieved humans of manually exhausting work. Today Era Two of automation continues to wash across the entire services-based economy, replacing jobs in agriculture and manufacturing. Now Era Three, the rise of “cognitive computing,” is dawning. Smart computers are demonstrating they are capable of making better decisions than humans. Brilliant technologies can now learn, predict, decide, and even comprehend much faster and more accurately than the human brain, and their progress is accelerating. Where will this leave financial advisors, scientists, teachers, and other professionals?
In Only Humans Need Apply, Thomas H. Davenport and Julia Kirby reframe the conversation about automation, arguing that the future of increased productivity and business success isn’t either human or machine. It’s both. The key is augmentation, utilizing technology to help humans work better, smarter, and faster. Instead of viewing these machines as competitive interlopers, we must see them as partners and collaborators in creative problem solving as we move into the next era. The choice is ours.