As we approach the middle of the century, experts are predicting that half of all workers will be replaced by robots. Professor Moshe Vardi from Rice University has said that middle class jobs will be the hardest hit. And Boston Consulting Group has predicted that within the next ten years, up to 25% of jobs will be replaced by robots or smart software.
Robots and software utilising Artificial Intelligence (AI) are already taking away jobs that were previously only reserved for humans. Within the legal industry, Ross Intelligence, built on IBM’s supercomputer Watson, poses a threat to employment. This AI app is able to answer legal questions in a matter of seconds, compared to the hours or even days it would take a legal assistant. After being asked a question, Ross Intelligence scans through thousands of cases and poses an answer, complete with citations and suggested readings.
And if you have dined out in the past few weeks and been served by a human, such jobs are already starting to be phased out. Royal Caribbean’s luxury cruise ship features robotic bartenders from Makr Shakr. Passengers can create their own cocktail via a tablet and then watch a robot mix, shake and pour their creation.
With the threat to our jobs from robots and AI, the need for skills that cannot be taken on by machines and intelligent software intensify. Sitting at the top of this list are jobs that require creativity. Research by the Foundation for Young Australians has found a 65% increase over the last three years in job advertisements listing creativity as a required trait. And after their review of 4.2 million job ads, the study found that jobs that list creativity as an essential attribute have salaries that are on average $3,129 higher.
The need for creativity is just as essential at a leadership level. Earlier this decade, research conducted by IBM’s Institute for Business Value found that in a survey of 1500 C-level executives, creativity was rated as the most essential trait for leaders. Organisations need to start thinking more inclusively about how they label their people. Titles such as Creative Director or Innovation Manager can mislead others into thinking that the responsibility for innovation rests not with them, but only with the ones with such titles.
Creativity and innovation lead to the ingenious problem-solving and leaps of knowledge and technology that have driven human history. They are qualities that, as yet, robots and AI cannot duplicate. Organisations should be offering all employees innovation and creativity training. If they don’t, employees should start requesting it – the need for creative and innovative thinking will only intensify as the advancement in technology continues.