So I’ve been thinking about our robotic future.

Say the robots actually do take all the jobs. That is, say they take all the jobs that could possibly be fulfilled by automation. Apps replace accountants, algorithms and drones replace news reporters, and all means of commercial and residential transport become fully self-navigated.

Would there be any work left for humans?

Or to put it another way: is human work just an inefficient version of robot work?

Here’s a better way to ask the question, or at least that is more interesting to me: is there any work that is uniquely human?

Take this as a thought experiment. Imagine Apple designing a machine to do whatever you’re doing right now, but faster, cheaper, more consistent. If you can easily imagine that, then what does that say about the type of work you’re doing? If you can’t imagine that a robot could ever do what you do, then ask yourself–why not? What is it about that work, that service, that art, etc. that an artificially intelligent machine could not replicate?

I have done many jobs in my life that were designed with a robot future in mind. I worked at a call-center where the only human part of me that functioned was my voice. Decisions were automated (by algorithms and managerial decision making based on computer analytics) emails were templated and could easily be mass-mailed. I was basically there to make a human voice available for the customers of our online university.

Jobs like these were designed for easy replacement. Therefore, once a more efficient, cost-effective option presents itself, the employee will be replaced.

The future of “job security” may lie in the answer to this question: what kind of work will a human always do better than a computer?

What work can a human produce that is irreplaceable?













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