Future Friday: What may save jobs is social interaction rather than transactions


Social interaction may be the saving grace for many jobs.
Social interaction may be the saving grace for many jobs.

I have written several times about robots taking over jobs in the future, in some cases the near future. Many others are starting to write more and more about this as well. One such writer is Greg Satell who wrote Why The Future Of Technology Is All Too Human for Forbes.
What robots will do
Many years ago as I was trying to get my clients to start to use an early “cloud” application for HR administration one of the things I told them was that it would allow “transactions” with HR to be done with the system thus freeing up the HR person to spend more time in interaction with employees. This is not too dissimilar to what Satell says is the future of technology.
He says that jobs that are intensively involved with processing of information, even analysis of this information, will suffer the most. We are not just talking clerical positions but medical positions as well. Satell even tells of computer programs that assess and evaluate songs and movies for artistic quality and financial viability.
Some HR jobs will be caught up in this process as well. I can see where screening interviews will be robotic, in fact some exist already; evaluations of insurance programs, evaluation of compensation, evaluation of employee performance are all things that could be done by some automated AI entity.
What humans will do
What AI cannot do is to have a meaningful interaction. A computer may tell the doctor what the diagnosis is of a patient’s condition. It will give her various options and probabilities and expected outcomes. What that computer cannot do is caringly tell the patient how serious the condition is and discuss with them the “human” side of their condition, such as pain levels and expectations of feelings.
In the same vein no employee would want to get their performance review from a computer. No computer can really work out the human side of improving performance. Getting encouragement and guidance on how to do a better job from a robot is not going to be widely accepted.
So think about the human aspects of jobs. Prepare people for staying in the human zone of work as the robotic side is taken over.

2 thoughts on “Future Friday: What may save jobs is social interaction rather than transactions”

  1. Good article! In the end it mentioned of how no employee wouldn’t want his/her performance review from a computer. On the other hand, I am sure nobody would ever want to get a performance review that is negative, hurtful, unfair or with no truth from an actual human that is a tyrant, bully, browbeater or backstabber as worst thing ever. I can imagine how anybody would prefer a machine over a person that is highly toxic or one-sided at worst.

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