Wednesday, July 21, 2010

What Are Humans Good For?

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With the incredible surge in phenomenal new technologies, more workers are getting nervous. A sales assistant at one of my customers admitted to me that she was scared of losing her job to a smartphone. "His iPhone does almost everything I do," she cried on my shoulder.

It seems that many Americans are fearful. But I say that all you modern day John Henry's should not be afraid. For much like the hero of folklore, you too can defeat the machines by doing something that comes perfectly natural to humans but machines just cannot accomplish.

I am talking about our capacity for creativity. Machines can only follow instructions, they cannot be creative. It takes human ingenuity and problem solving to develop novel and creative ideas. That is where you need to focus your time and attention.

It's true that most of the deadhead work is being handed over to machines -- they're faster, cheaper and don't  waste time gossiping.  The genuinely creative work will stay with humans, simply because the penny pincher's don't have a choice. Until some genius invents a machine that can genuinely create something new, you will be able to hang onto your job if you find new ways of doing things better, faster and cheaper.

That means you need to take risks. It means you need to work on ideas that push the boundaries. I don't want to get into Seth Godin's shtick but if you aren't taking calculated, intelligent risks then you don't deserve any reward. The next time you find yourself saying "I wish there was a way to...", I want you to take that as an immediate and personal challenge. Figure out how to do it then pitch it to your boss.

However, if you don't want to be creative, if you don't like using your brain, if you prefer the deadhead, repetitive work then you are probably going to be looking at a pink slip sometime soon. It's up to you to stay relevant in your work. It's up to you to be creative.

R-Squared Computing - Business Technology Experts
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