How Automating Away Someone’s Job Drove Erin Winick to Study the Future of Work

Posted by Alyssa Verzino on Oct 25, 2018 2:59:29 PM



You’ve likely heard the saying, “Change is the only constant.” This is certainly true for the world of work today. The future of work is a topic that gets a lot of attention in the mainstream media, specifically around negative scenarios and the dangerous idea of us all ending up jobless as technology takes over. 

A recent Fortune article on the future of AI shared these startling stats: “The Bank of England estimates that 48% of human workers will eventually be replaced by robotics and software automation, and ArkInvest predicts that 76 million U.S. jobs will disappear in the next two decades.”

That being said, we have seen that over time, technology has generally done more good than bad. In a study by Deliotte on the subject, they found that, “Technology has created more jobs than it has destroyed in the last 144 years” and “it has been saving us from dull, repetitive and dangerous work.”

On the most recent episode of AI at Work, we interviewed Erin Winick, Associate Editor of the Future of Work at MIT Technology Review. She had the experience of automating someone’s job, and shared insights she took away from that experience with listeners.

“It's given me some perspective on automating jobs and all the numbers that you see out there. It’s not just a statistic that ‘50% of jobs are going to be lost to AI and automation.’ It's a very personal thing. It motivated me to want to tell personal stories about the future of work.”

With this, Erin also provided her observations on the characteristics people need in this world of work, and the importance of being adaptable and ready to retrain yourself and your employees.

“Even if the company isn't supporting you to try to retrain yourself, you need to take it on yourself. I think, personality-trait wise, self-starters and people that are willing to look at the landscape of the industry and see that: these are the skills I need, even if my company isn't necessarily providing the support, in my free time, I need to try to do those things.”

Tune in to her episode of AI at Work to hear more, or read the full transcription here. And, be sure to subscribe on iTunes or Google Play and share with your friends.

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Topics: Future of Work