We are all born ignorant, but one must work hard to remain stupid. – Benjamin Franklin
Jobs are (reportedly) being lost every day. All that we learnt or we are learning or to be learnt will be irrelevant shortly. Machines, algorithms and bots are taking over what essentially made man what he is – work. It is work that differentiates man from other creatures. While other creatures work only for two reasons, sustenance and survival, we humans work to sustain, survive, enjoy and conquer apart from other reasons.
If all jobs are going to be done by machines what will we humans do? Of course some humans are required to create, manage and maintain these machines, the rest are plain burden on the planet.
Wait, are all jobs going to be done by machines? Not really. Let’s look at some jobs which we, only humans, can do!
Salesmen: Agreed self-service kiosks and e-commerce has reduced interface between buyers and sellers but salesmen are not going to away anywhere soon. At least the ‘real salespeople’. Every company has customers who buy and there are customers who are sold. Essentially the future salesforce will be split into two – bot and non-bot. Bots will serve to customers who buy what they require. To ‘sell’ products like double the money in 3 months, magical weight loss pills, three units when all you need is one etc. you need human salesmen!
Drivers: This is one job that will never go away in India. Driverless cars will take you in the right direction the right way. To jump signals, go in the wrong direction, go around a cow, double-park etc. is something that we can never programme a driverless car.
Actors: Already one of our superstars in Bollywood is a bot! The way Salman Khan sleeps walks through his roles, a bot might find it difficult to copy. Deadpan expressions (or the lack of them) are something likes of Salman Khan have in abundance, so what can the bots replace. With bots already replacing people, films might be one place where actors can replace the bots! A nerdy revenge.
Lawyers: IBM Ross is the new artificial intelligence based lawyer. AI is said to be threatening the existence of lawyers. That is ‘true’ lawyers. If IBM Ross was Salman Khan’s lawyer in the in-famous car accident case he would have been in jail! It takes a genuine ‘lawyer’ to create a driverless car and convince the judiciary to absolve Salman in the case!
Babus: One job that will never go away will be that of the sarkari babu. A sarkari babu has to take the decision to replace his job with that of a bot. Can’t happen for sure. What can one expect for sure is to have more babus to supervise the bots. Eventually if bots replace babus, the meaning of ‘greasing’ the palms of babus has a different meaning!
Politicians: Now someone has to rule us and the bots! Tamasha of democracy, corruption, stupid politicians are truly irreplaceable. Imagine Trump being replaced by a bot. How boring the world will be without his rambunctious tweets and in the face body language. If there is one section of humans with true artificial intelligence, they are the politicians! Ronald Reagan read out what was there on the tele-prompter which was put out by his advisors. 25 years later, politicians have not gained any more intelligence and depend on artificial intelligence!
Artificial Intelligence, machine learning and what else to come cannot stand up against one thing in India – jugaad. From buses to offices to even governments everything here runs on jugaad. I think human intelligence needs to go many notches higher before it can automate jugaad.
Until then, many jobs in India are safe and sure.