As robots and artificial intelligence or, more likely, their sponsors, seek to take over more and more human jobs it's timely to ask: what role for humans then?
We can thank the IT industry and the entrepreneurs behind it for prompting this very important question.
If we, humans individually and collectively, no longer have to do any boring, hard or dangerous work, then now, as at no previous time in the history of our species, we have an amazing opportunity to do work that matters.
How many of us are currently genuinely interested in the work we do? it is hard to quantify but from what I hear and sense, very few. The number of employees who would rather be doing something else, something more rewarding, something more 'them' is probably huge.
Now is the time to recognise this and to use this shift (to robots and to AI) to seek careers and employment fit for the breadth of human capabilities and that fulfils the depth of the human spirit.
What does it mean to be fully human in a wise workplace?
There are probably two facets:
Firstly, there's our own unique personal reason d'etre: a deep inner calling, the difference between a career and a vocation. It may be a particular sporting or artistic ability that needs to be pursued. Or perhaps a need to work in a particular part of the world or with a given group of people. For these we need to listen to our inner voice, to tune in to whatever is driving us . . . and act on it.
The second facet is one that applies to us all. What gives meaning and purpose to any of us? As we seek a more worthwhile career, and indeed life, it is important that we ask ourselves this question.
Rather than filling in boxes and following procedures don't we need to be engaging, with each other? It is not so much what we do as a job but how we do it. Isn't any job not just more effectively done if those involved are engaging with each other as fellow thinking, feeling human beings, but also more rewarding and more enjoyable?
And isn't such deep engagement precisely the skill that we humans have that robots and AI just don't?
Dr keith beasley
As an engineer turned life-guide and Quality Assurance expert who did his PhD on 'Transcending Thought', I've seen life from many perspectives. We need them all to even begin to make sense of life . . .
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