Dare to dream, commit, and build your own unique story in the new world of artificial intelligence. I had a fascinating discussion with a journalist last week. She interviewed me for her magazine. We talked about life and the future of work in a new world of artificial intelligence.
We met at a conference. Dream, Dare, Do. I was giving a presentation on the “future of consultants” and other professional service providers. I started with a simple question.
Will they all still have a job in 2030?
It’s an urgent question. We already see more and more professional services being performed by some sort of artificial intelligence tool. Thinking about this question now is the only way to prepare for the future. The threat is existential. But the possibilities are endless.
After the interview was over, we were talking about another story she was working on. The “mindset” of the younger generation. Those #BornDigital. Digital natives.
The journalist wanted to know more about what was “going on the minds” of the younger generation. So, she had started to ask around. The outcome of these interviews had surprised her — two things in particular.
First, she was amazed by how few of the young people she spoke to had clear hopes or ambitions. They didn’t seem to have any dreams.
Second, she told me how most people she spoke with didn’t have the essential skills necessary to get started in the new world — problem-solving, creative thinking, thinking as a programmer, understanding AI, soft-skills. Most of them didn’t even think about it. Acquiring the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in a digital world wasn’t on their radar screen.
My takeaway from this? Too many people are disconnected from the changes that are happening around us. Both incumbents — my professional service providers, but also the young people that the journalist was talking to for her story.
Too many people are drifting through the digital revolution without a clear sense of purpose or plan.
And this is a problem. We need a new urgency to navigate this fast-changing world. And as I say, the risks are real. But so are the endless new possibilities.
So, why should we be more serious about AI?
Artificial intelligence is creeping upon us. I am not talking about super-intelligence here. Artificial intelligence is still human-directed and problem-specific. Yet, the “future” is already here.
Think about it. In the financial industry, machine learning tools are used to optimize equity trading, analyze documents, and make risk-assessments.
And there is much more. AI is being used to recruit employees. AI increasingly determines our choices. It decides what we buy, which music we listen to, where and what we eat. Everybody with a smartphone is interacting with AI daily. Talking to your smartphone, taking photos with your smartphone, using facial recognition applications.
It would be very short-sighted to think that the development stops here. We are experiencing exponential growth in AI technology. Even though artificial intelligence is still artificial (and not intelligent), it will become more and more important in our work and life.
It is very dangerous to make any predictions, but you still need to ask yourself: How AI-ready are you?
This question is particularly relevant to the “digital natives.” On the one hand, they know better how to interact with AI. On the other hand, however, they might be surprised because they don’t always appreciate the enormous pace of innovation (which is different for persons who still remember the introduction of the fax machine or the polaroid camera).
What we should do in the new world of AI
There are a lot of events about AI and its future. And most speakers seem to agree that we should not only talk about it. “Blabla” isn’t the solution. We should do something. But what is often ignored is what that “something” means.
Here is a list of things we all have to do if we want to be better prepared for our AI-driven world.
#1: Get tech-savvy and cultivate a digital mindset
You have to have a basic understanding of how AI will impact your life and work. How can AI help you to become better? How can you make AI your partner?
This means that you should also have a better perception of what AI can and cannot do. But things change rapidly. Self-learning is important. You have to follow trends and developments.
It is important to keep up to date. Three things can happen. AI will help you to do your job better. AI will take over the standardized parts of your work. AI will open the doors for new jobs.
You don’t want to be surprised, and you want to see the opportunities as soon as they arise.
#2: Dream, be agitated, don’t settle
The world is changing fast. AI will lead to new jobs, but you are also responsible for creating new opportunities.
New possibilities usually don’t just appear. The title of the conference “Dream, Dare, Do” says it all. You must dream. Dare to be creative. Don’t settle and fall asleep. Start considering side hustles.
Side hustles will soon become the new normal. The Internet and social media offer a plethora of ideas. Think Airbnb, selling items, creating content, tutoring, lecturing, sharing your experiences.
#3: Build your story
Too many times, I come across the recommendation to disconnect from tech altogether. Don’t let AI control your life. Social media isn’t social. It’s essential to get together like we did in the old days. Having real face-to-face meetings. Just going outside without your smartphone.
While I agree that disconnecting can be a good thing, it is a mistake not to be active on social media. In a world in which AI, automation, and standardization become more and more critical, storytelling will give us a competitive advantage. I mean, in a data-driven world, there is a need for old-fashioned storytelling. Human. Empathy. Passion. Inspiring.
Ironically, social media allows all of us to build and “tell” our story. What is even more important is that in the world of data, the storytellers will have a competitive advantage. They will be the ones who stand out. They will be critical to the future success of any organization.
But beware. You must learn how to build your brand and story. Just using social media isn’t enough. In fact, it can be dangerous. You must learn how to do it. It’s a life-long learning process.
The world of AI cannot be stopped. It shouldn’t be stopped. AI has the potential to solve the world’s biggest challenges. Climate change. Inequality. Poverty.
But if we decide to be passive. The advantages of AI will soon disappear. It will turn against us. So, please be active. Understand AI. Learn to live with it and never stop dreaming.
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