No fear of the future: how human employment will thrive in a post-automated world

Musing on the marketing adventures I’ve had, it occurred to me that subtle unconscious push-backs against advancing automation are often triggered by fear of the future.

Many marketers and even technologists (not to mention middle management throughout most industries) are terrified automation will make them redundant. And perhaps it will. Much of the branding + creative + even strategic product direction marketers pride themselves on providing is easily replaced by robust A/B Testing + Personalisation strategies.

It’s the epitome of human centered design. As I’ve joked for a decade + a half promoting split testing “It’s not my place to choose between shades of red vs blue = let the humans decide”. With mere mouse clicks they’ll indicate what resonates + motivates.

These fears are unfounded. Just like when the agricultural revolution led to the industrial revolution, unemployment figures won’t be impacted overall – people will be able to find employment in different jobs, if they like. They may even enjoy the new roles more.

A positive + exciting vision for the future of automation needs to be spread outside the spheres of IT industry. To that end, I wrote myself an idea cheatsheet to aid change management conversations spruiking automation appreciation.

Changing roles for humans in a post-automated world:

  • Happiness + experience experts – customer experience frontline/concierge*, choreographers, tour guides, theatre performers, therapists, artists, creative experience designers
  • Emergency/disaster/security response – anyone making decisions in unpredictable environment, especially full of humans
  • Digital or technological asset minders/protectors/chaperones – similar to community moderators*
  • Health helpers – preventative care, social workers, therapists, nutritionists, surgeons, prosthetists
  • Remote controlled/unmanned vehicle operators – in warehouses, factories, mines, residential
  • Complex decision support analysts – reducing the analysis paralysis caused by big data
  • Mechanics, installers, repairers – supporting machine automation
  • Testing/diagnostic centres – for humans or machines
  • Those who manage + develop these people above

*There are clear crossovers between many of these eg a retail stock keeper in a bricks + mortar shop would also be trained to manage online assets + provide exceptional customer experiences.


Partially inspired by:
Tomorrow’s Digitally Enabled Workforce – CSIRO report


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