OUTsight/ Your Survival Skills

Photo by Will O on Unsplash

Photo by Will O on Unsplash


Manila, 3 October 2018 — How will AI change your job? And what will you do about it?

This week I listened on three occasions to predictions about the impact of Artificial Intelligence (AI) on jobs and professions.

The impact of AI

First, I enjoyed watching A Bright New World—The Impact of Artificial Intelligence, a collection of five clips produced by the Netherlands Broadcasting Association NOS.

Then, In a conversation with a professor of leadership, we explored how AI will affect the call center industry, prominent here in Manila. Will it put thousands of human agents out of a job, or improve the quality of service they provide?

Meanwhile, the focus of the Asia Water Forum 2018 at the Asian Development Bank was on innovation through technology. While the discussions on offer were appreciated by all participants I spoke with, many pointed out that it takes quality human actions to make best use of new technology.

We heard how private providers already offer technologies with AI to deliver water services at a significantly lower cost. Annelise Avril, CEO of Suez Consulting, however, hinted that soft skills are most important when everybody has to bring solutions to the table to solve interconnected problems with a collaborative approach.

In several of the forum discussions, experts argued the need for mindset and cultural changes to allow government and business partners to work together in using modern technologies. ADB President Takehiko Nakao noted how traditions can prevent us from doing new things.

Survival skills

There is no doubt that AI will have deep and far reaching impact on our economies, our societies, and life as we know it. It’s already in full swing.

Are you wondering how your job will be affected by AI? If not, you should. Interestingly, experts point out that it’s easier to predict where AI will replace jobs than where it will spawn the creation of new jobs.

While you ponder your future in a world that is infused with AI wherever you go and whatever you do throughout the day, it is important to ask if there are unique human skills that we can label as essential and without expiry date.

In my understanding, three dimensions of work will continue to call for such essential human skills.

Working with Complexity: calls for sense-making skills to create meaning and resolve complex situations.

Working with People: calls for skills to help other people and facilitate collaboration.

Working with Change: calls for skills to influence and lead positive changes.

Shall we call these our survival skills to navigate the challenges posed by AI? Or essential leadership skills we need to use new opportunities as they emerge?

I’m curious about your answer.

If you have a question about growing your leadership, you are welcome to write me or set up a call. I'd love to hear from you. 

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