Ever since the economic revolution, people have feared that technology would take away their jobs. While some jobs and tasks have indeed been replaced by machines, others have emerged. The success of ChatGPT and other generative artificial intelligence (AI) now has many individuals wondering in regards to the way forward for work – and whether their jobs are secure.

A recent poll found that greater than half of individuals aged 18-24 are frightened about AI and their careers. The fear that jobs might disappear or get replaced through automation is comprehensible. Recent research found that 1 / 4 of tasks that humans currently do within the US and Europe could possibly be automated in the approaching years.

The increased use of AI in white-collar workplaces means the changes shall be different to previous workplace transformations. That’s because, the pondering goes, middle-class jobs are actually under threat.

The way forward for work is a preferred topic of dialogue, with countless books published every year on the subject. These books speak to the human need to grasp how the long run may be shaped.

I analysed 10 books published between 2017 and 2020 that focused on the long run of labor and technology. From this research, I discovered that interested by AI within the workplace generally falls into two camps. One is expressed as concern in regards to the way forward for work and security of current roles – I call this sentiment “automation anxiety”. The other is the hope that humans and machines collaborate and thereby increase productivity – I call this “augmentation aspiration”.

Anxiety and aspiration

I discovered a powerful theme of concern in these books about technology enabling certain tasks to be automated, depriving many individuals of jobs. Specifically, the priority is that knowledge-based jobs – like those in accounting or law – which have long been considered the purview of well-educated professionals are actually under threat of alternative by machines.

Automation undermines the concept that a very good education will secure a very good middle-class job. As economist Richard Baldwin points out in his 2019 book, The Globotics Upheaval, should you’ve invested a major amount of time and money on a law degree – pondering it’s a skill set that may keep you permanently employable – seeing AI complete tasks that a junior lawyer would normally be doing, at less cost, goes to be worrisome.

But there may be one other, more aspirational strategy to take into consideration this. Some books stress the potential of humans collaborating with AI, to reinforce one another’s skills. This could mean working with robots in factories, nevertheless it could also mean using an AI chatbot when practising law. Rather than being replaced, lawyers would then be augmented by technology.

In reality, automation and augmentation co-exist. For your future profession, each shall be relevant.

Future-proofing yourself

As you consider your personal profession, step one is to understand that some automation of tasks is most probably going to be something you’ll should contend with in the long run.

In light of this, learning is probably the most necessary ways you may future-proof your profession. But do you have to spend money on further education if the return on investment is uncertain?

It is true that specific skills risk becoming outdated as technology develops. However, greater than learning specific abilities, education is about learning tips on how to learn – that’s, tips on how to update your skills throughout your profession. Research shows that having the power to achieve this is very invaluable at work.

Three colleagues, two women and one man in a cool office sit side-by-side and work on a computer together
In knowledge-based jobs, human critical pondering and analytical skills will probably all the time be needed.
NDAB Creativity/Shutterstock

This learning can happen in educational settings, by going back to college or participating in an executive education course, but it will probably also occur on the job. In any discussion about your profession, corresponding to together with your manager, it is advisable to raise which additional training you can do.

Critical pondering and analytical skills are going to be particularly central for a way humans and machines can augment each other. When working with a machine, it’s essential give you the chance to query the output that’s produced. Humans are probably all the time going to be central to this – you may have a chatbot that automates parts of legal work, but a human will still be needed to make sense of all of it.

Finally, keep in mind that when people previously feared jobs would disappear and tasks would get replaced by machines, this was not necessarily the case. For instance, the introduction of automated teller machines (ATMs) didn’t eliminate bank tellers, nevertheless it did change their tasks.

Above all, select a job that you just enjoy and continue learning – in order that should you do need to vary course in the long run, you already know tips on how to.

This article was originally published at theconversation.com