26 Mar The Human Cost Of Digital Distruption
Immigrants are not taking peoples’ job; computers are.
Digital disruption – through devices, automated processes, the internet of things and the online revolution, in general – has channelled consumer behaviour into digital interactions. They are virtually un avoidable now. While this has meant a reduction in (some) costs to businesses, I feel it has also devalued the contribution of a human relationship with a business representative.
Over the next eight years, it is expected that basic service and process jobs will be replaced by computers, at a rate that looks set to accelerate year-on-year. Bank tellers, cashiers, receptionists, tele-operators, mail handlers, travel agents, typists/data enterers and telemarketers are already being replaced with computers in organisations across the world.
By 2020 it is estimated that five million jobs will be replaced by computers in the US.
The remaining human workforce will be split into extremely low skilled jobs that don’t warrant the expense involved in automating them, and extremely high skilled jobs that still require a human with high EQ.
I say EQ instead of IQ, as that is the problem facing computers that has not yet been solved. Emotional intelligence – the warmth of a human interaction – is still a long way off. A computer can solve your businesses problem, but can it talk to you about why it matters to you? How you feel about it? Can it buy you a coffee, and talk about your kids and what it is that you do to achieve work-life balance?
No it can’t. Business will still be about people doing business with people, and these ‘soft skill’ interactions will become more important as computers challenge the way we understand and do business.
So what do we need to do? In my opinion, businesspeople today will be best served by investing now in improving their emotional intelligence, building their personal networks and developing their skill sets to further enable non-routine cognitive functions within businesses.
Foster your human relationships. Foster your social and emotional intelligence and focus your time on upskilling and pushing towards to upper managerial business functions that require cognitive creativity. This will best position you to tackle the job market post 2020.
Siri is one of the best examples of a the computer-to-human interactions that are coming, however, once the novelty wears off, you are left with not much more than voice-activated internet search. Despite the digital disruption of the modern business age, human-to-human interaction will remain the driver of longevity and loyalty, and the key to future of business success.