Sound the alarm! Robots are gunning for our jobs!

A study by Ball State University estimates that 5 million U.S. factory jobs have been lost to automation since 2000. A new McKinsey report warns that machines and AI could destroy another 73 million U.S. jobs by 2030, displacing up to 800 million workers worldwide.

Can employees do anything to halt this relentless rise of the machines and save their careers?

Apocalypse now – or not?

Before answering that question, let’s look at two important points.

First, apocalyptic prophecies about massive job losses must be tempered with the likelihood that new technologies will also create many new jobs.

Second, AI and smart machines will affect some industries and occupations more than others.

For example, a study by Oxford University found that the jobs of telemarketer, insurance underwriter, data entry clerk and tax preparer have a 99 percent chance of being automated in the future. By contrast, the odds that occupational therapists, mental health social workers and emergency management directors will be replaced by robots is estimated to be a fraction of 1 percent.

Common denominator of “safe” occupations

Job insecurity has been with us for decades – long before AI and the internet of things. Cradle-to-grave job security died with disco.

Throughout history, the people who successfully adapt to changing economic realities are those willing to grow their knowledge and skills. To thrive in tomorrow’s economy, the most valuable knowledge you can acquire is the skill of critical thinking.

Critical thinking skills are a common denominator of the occupations considered to be safe. The jobs least likely to be automated in the near future tend to require more critical thinking.

By critical thinking, I mean the ability to objectively analyze information to reach logical conclusions. A good critical thinker knows how to evaluate facts (data, research findings and observable evidence) Read More Here