The trifecta that will propel us forward, keep us relevant, and give purpose to our actions for the next 30 years

I had written about this topic a few years ago. It was more in the context of how we can nurture our human and creative faculties daily to ensure an edge when the robots become a reality. I had also talked about how creative intelligence would come to our rescue in the machine -intelligence — driven era. This topic is back again, timed co-incidentally around Women’s Day to stress on an urgent need not just to think, write, speak, and debate about this but act. It is time to start tapping into our emotional and creative powerhouses and combine them with the power of the machines to humanize every space and all work around us.

For product and tech visionaries — imagine and build software using the power of these combined forces. For social workers and non-profit groups — tap into all the tech that’s there already and make it work for a cause. For the government and regulation offices — provide the backbone and tooling to make the two worlds meet. For businesses and schools — retrain employees and initiate collaborative intelligence know-how in schools. And for marketers — it would be an opportunity to tell a compelling and a meaningful narrative around all this collaborative intelligence and human + machine love story.

The F.U.D. — these robots are here to take your job!

There are several articles out there. Your Google question — “what will happen to my job in 2030?” Google answers that robots will replace 20 million factory jobs by 2030, 800 million workers in advance economies like the U.S. In some cases, it will even kill some jobs like retail workers, bookkeeping clerks, and software developers, and basically, beat humans at everything. By the way, we don’t have to wait till 2020 to see the effects of what machines and robots can do.

But machines still need to decode the human intent (that’s why we call it the complex intent). They still need to understand and feel emotions like empathy, for example, learn to create music, art, writing, design, and other forms of expression. The verdict is out, but that will be one of the steepest problems to solve, in my opinion.

So, given this, how can we re-wire our system for ourselves to stay relevant and work in alignment with this new reality fast?

Beyond the F.U.D. — humanize A.I., build the collaborative and creative intelligence muscle

At work

It’s not ‘humans need not apply,’ it’s humans who cannot work with machines that need not apply, it’s a seismic shift in how we look at employment, and how we build a socio-technical stratum powered by machines.

The answer could be an increased focus on the creative arts in the education system (and that includes learning to build and work with the robots). It would also mean an increased focus on retraining employees to collaborate with machines in the workplace via specific programs.

According to an HBR study, the value of this collaboration in the workplace will be driven by:

a) Rethinking business processes

b) Embracing experimentation and employee involvement

c) Redesigning work to employ AI and cultivate related employee skills

McKinsey did some exciting research in this space to empirically show the emergence of new industries and positive shifts in employment over the last few decades with the development of new tech. Several companies have already jumped on the bandwagon to create a new world order already. Below is a research stat from Narrative Science on how A.I. is helping with everyday tasks.

Source: Narrative Science

Accenture says that collaboration between the human and the machine gives human the superpowers to run any back-office operation. It also is an opportunity to build responsible, ethical, and accountable AI to make it bias-free, something that’s driven only by collaboration.

If you haven’t read this book, I’ll recommend you do it. Aldous Huxley, a futurist, had thought or envisioned this new world order way before it hit us almost 100 years ago and figured out the way forward. Some of the recommended solutions here are perhaps an inspiration from the book.

I wrote an article recently on humanizing AI and what that may concretely boil down to in terms of opportunities for driving ethical, intentional, explainable, and AI for good initiatives. HBR calls it AI to train, sustain, and explain.

At play…

We’ve all seen how neural and symbolic networks work. Symbolic AI can produce art or relay notes that have been pre-programmed. Neural networks on the other hand are more unpredictable, and the work actually springs without any human intervention. Here is a video in which neural networks are producing melodies on their own and it fascinated me. What it also showed was an opportunity for budding musicians to explore and perfect this as the technology evolves. Another human + machine collaboration opportunity.

It’s a similar movement with art as well. Deep Style is one such intelligent, artistic tool that uses neural networks to create work by recognizing objects and textures. There are several apps out there that use this. Although cool, I think it is still very early and has a learning curve with the not-so-technical artists who do not understand neural networks. But again, this is also an opportunity for us to explore not just in art and music, but any other creative discipline.

Organizations and education systems, and the next 30 years

So now we know, the next 30 years will be about retraining our emotional and creative layering and develop ‘fusion skills’ to work with artificial intelligence. It will be about acquiring the finesse to work with machines for best outcomes, and ensuring that organizations, schools, and other institutions help you with that.

We’re already seeing the emergence of machine learning engineers, chief data officers, data scientists and wranglers, bot designers, and the list continues. We might in the near-term and long-term future see new roles emerge — like the human-AI officer, AI for good officer, humanized- AI storytellers, and such.

We will see the under 10 and 12 packs creating art, jamming, and fusing music with their Deep Styles to compete in AI and Creativity Bees (taking it a bit far). But surely, we will, and we see the rise of the bot culture.

I’ll leave you with this powerful video that talks about unleashing this human and machine potential. How some organizations have done a fabulous job already. And how, there is a big opportunity that lies ahead of all of us. Let’s go!

Padmini is a product marketing executive with 15+ years of experience in marketing high growth SaaS products. She has taken products to market in record time with successful funding and exits. From DevOps/AIOps tools and machine intelligence for e-commerce and marketing, to cloud stack centric products (infra, platform, and B2B apps), and blockchain, she covers a significant spectrum for telling their story.