According to Rik Kirkland, author of the book “Manager and Machine: The New Leadership Equation” and Director of Publishing at McKinsey & Company, we definitely need to prepare ourselves for a jobless future, given the impressive development of artificial intelligence.
He definitely intended to provide the audience with a wake up call, starting off with some impressive numbers on potential impact of artificial intelligence in the near future. He estimated that in 2025 computers will be easily be doing the work of 140 million knowledge workers globally and robots likely will be doing the work of another 75 million people. He stated that technology would destroy more jobs than it creates in the next decade.
It wouldn’t be for McKinsey if he then successively wouldn’t propose some high level solutions to deal with the situation. These ranged from the observations that man and machine together will always be stronger than machine only, and knowledge is not key anymore but a critical and open view is, to the USP of human beings: its social skills enabling man to build relationships, partner, create and assess and understand cultural differences, something a machine can never do.
He ended on a positive note, not to depress the audience too much, by stating that the key to deal with the new reality is to be an eyes-wide open optimist – according to Rik that’s the only way to bet.
This was yet another excellent contribution and it showed once more that we have to prepare ourselves for more change to come. The clear thing is that no one knows what the impact and ultimate effects will be, and this makes it hard for people to emotionally embrace the upcoming changes. Also in the audience some reactions showed that people thought the impact would not be that big, given all past technological changes we have already survived. I think this clearly shows that change does not only require the rational understanding of what is to come but also the emotional acceptance of the impact it will have on the individual.