The Best Way To Keep Your Job: Be Human

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The NYU psychologist Gary Marcus has been doing some great writing for the New Yorker website lately. Here, his thoughts on how to make sure a robot doesn’t take over your job, now that computers can do so many complex tasks:

“The last bastion for human employment is likely to come from our cognitive strengths of flexibility and creativity, in finding new lines of work where computers replace old ones.

Computers can create new things within an existing genre, but still struggle when it comes creating anything genuinely new, or even solving problems that that haven’t been specifically programed for. Anything that can be automated will, but where we can create new things, there still may be a niche for us to fill.

It’s not too early to start preparing for that future. Curricula that foster creativity—by developing children’s intrinsic motivation for originality, encouraging their intellectual risk-taking and cultivating their metacognitive ability to self-reflect—might be a good place to start.” (Read more here.)

Could your job be done by a computer? (Keep in mind that even the work of professionals like lawyers and accountants is increasingly being automated.) What uniquely human skills do you bring to your work?

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5 Responses to “The Best Way To Keep Your Job: Be Human”

  1. @JoeSco77 says:

    I am a high school teacher and even though at times I am plagued by the sensation of repeating the same tasks over and over, the wonderment comes in working with students. When we are at the top of our game, we create real world context in which students can explore, apply, create and collaborate. Our job relies on a keen ability to empathize, assess student ability and deliver content in a way that pushes students to take risks and grow. I don’t see how that could be automated.

  2. @deanhewson says:

    I agree that creativity and the new will be the last bastion – but how much new can we handle, how much can we add to our daily processes? We as a species aren’t huge fans of change, and change for the sake of change only excites a small percentage of us. Though the novel will become increasingly valuable, I’m sure, I’m not as sure that it will be increasingly useful.

  3. Paolo Maino says:

    I’m a high school Italian teacher and also a PhD candidate at the Catholic University of Milan. Computers, tablets, smartphones—these are are only instruments for learning, not the end of learning. The center of education remains the relationship between students and teachers.

  4. Tim Cain says:

    Take to work with you the ability to role model authentic human values and ‘do the right thing on a difficult day’ – (when the kids are watching).

  5. Jay says:

    Until computers learn to “kiss butt,” humans will still do fine. ;)

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