At the end of the day, the main uses for human workers are salesmanship, relationship management, the seduction and marriage of human prospects, clients and vendors, and all the dog and pony shows. So step one for avoiding being made redundant by robots and AIs: become management or start your own business. If you’re lucky and the tech breaks your way, maybe you’ll be able to just become the face of the company while a team of sentient bots does all your day-to-day client service work. The dream!
Maybe you can’t start a business. But even when the robots come to take your jobs and all your client service work is replaced by elaborate algorithms (algos), bits of skip logic, apps, services, code, libraries, predictors, and—eventually—artificial intelligence, autonomous robotics, and—finally—sentience, there will still be a place for human creativity, native-species relationships and connections, and all the compelling sins that drive us to aspire to wealth and celebrity: pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath and sloth!
Until AIs and robots can be compelled to put in the passion and back-breaking 18-hour-days and 100-hour-weeks in order to take an idea and spin it from brain straw into enough gold to be able to afford to buy a house, afford pre-K-12 day school for multiple kids, vacations and enough grad school for your spawn be valuable above the robot/ AI threshold — for now it’s mostly humans who are willing to do all that crazy.
Luckily, while I personally only suffer only from gluttony and sloth, I am emulating the pride, greed, and envy required to push Gerris Corp into enough revenue that my business partner, Dan Krueger, and his family can benefit from as many of those above-mentioned things as he requires to make his very own happy wife, happy life.
When I started my own tech agency back in 1999, I realized that I wanted to rely on services, apps, and providers instead of employees. Now aside from my true blue partner, everything at Gerris is sort of like film production: get a gig, build the set; gig’s over, strike the set: it’s a wrap! Gerris only incurs expenses on most services when we’re generating revenue. While this is most of the time, it’s not all the time.
Maybe this makes me a bad human but I love apps, services, automated processes, and the burgeoning world of artificial intelligence (AI), robots, and robotics. Anything that allows me to not have to schedule, organize, motivate, manage, and pay an entire orchestra just to make some music fills me with happiness. I know I will eventually rue the day when this bites me in the ass; however, for the time being, it’s all working in my favor.
While I gave up on Amy Ingram, my AI virtual assistant and scheduler, the moment when X.AI started charging and my prospects, clients, and friends threated mutiny after my blind devotion to making “Amy” work — that doesn’t change the fact that I replaced her with Calendly instead of a living-and-breathing personal assistant. I work with tools like Buffer, SocialOomph, and loads of other tools in an attempt to give my partner Dan Krueger and I the ability to bring our compositions to fruition sounding like a symphony and not like a two-man-band.
So, am I a betrayer of my species? Will neoluddites send an army of Russian trolls after me and my fellow humans who will gladly embrace human clones, human-robot hybrids, cybernetic mutants, and sentient robots akin to the loveable Tachikoma (タチコマ)? I hope I live long enough to experience Replicants and to hire a few sentient programs to do Gerris’ client services, back office management, and as much virtual assistance as I will ever need.
But while we’re still struggling with sentient robots, step two for avoiding being made redundant by robots and AIs: be better, smarter, more passionate, more creative, more amusing, more interesting, and more friendly than AIs and robots. People actually hire people they like more often than they hire based on just things like competence or experience.
In my many years trying to—and sometimes even succeeding—run a successful client service marketing and PR firm, I have come to the conclusion that companies hire friends and people they’d like to be friends with. They can then spend as much time as possible with them during business hours, instead of the people they didn’t choose but with whom they must work every day.
So, be that person. The one who is so interesting, friendly, loyal and reliable that folks will always choose you above not only other flawed humans, but even over a sentient AI!
Good luck, human!