Journalism? Check. Pharmacy? Check. Agriculture? Check. Artificial Intelligence (AI) has permeated automated journalism with bots analysing complex data to write and edit articles so much quicker than their human counterparts. If you want to see a robot (through a glass window) actively dispensing meds, a visit to Steve Biko Academic Hospital in Pretoria is in order. Don’t even get us started about how AI has enabled “farmers” in Dubai to grow crops barely without rain.

AI-infused technology has spread to these and many more industries – teaching, farming, engineering, banking, transportation, education, hospitality, entertainment – you name it.

These are the 10 jobs most commonly predicted to become redundant within the next decade:

  1. Travel agents – replaced by websites
  2. Taxi drivers – self-driving cars
  3. Sports refs – VAR – Video technology
  4. Cashiers – self-checkout
  5. Assembly line workers – automated robots
  6. Call centre agents – automated robots
  7. Proofreaders – grammar checking software
  8. Bookkeepers – automated software packages
  9. Couriers – drones and robots

It is against this backdrop that you need to strive to be a “hybrid worker” who possesses the skills of “being human”, if you want to have a shot at success now and in your future career.

The fourth industrial revolution is real, as is the AI takeover and many will lose out. But there will also be winners in those who show excellent teamwork capabilities and in entrepreneurs who possess the creativity and foresight to outsmart the dependence on IT and to determine the irreplaceable skills.

Hybrid worker

It’s no longer a case of business as usual. The idea of studying or training for a single profession and doing the same job until retirement is long past. If you’re looking for a career where jobs won’t be taken over by machines, you may just be setting yourself up for disappointment. Seriously, even cars and planes may be self-driven in the not-so-distant future.

In all earnest, it is already happening right now! So in a world where AI dares to automate even the most straightforward (and complicated) tasks that humans used to do, your lifeline may be to start positioning yourself as a hybrid worker, someone who can bridge the gap and embrace AI more as “Augmented Intelligence” than as a threat of “Artificial Intelligence”! Yes, machines may be managing people, but we need people to manage the machines…

Future employees value a hybrid workforce because it is made up of hybrid workers who are digitally skilled, agile, strategic and holistic with their skillsets. They are neither afraid of AI, nor are they the naysayers who pray it away for the sake of deterring progress.

Hybrid workers can adapt to changing work environments and can work with both human beings and AI. They are shapeshifters who can seamlessly transition between the modern and traditional work setting.

Being Human

What also sets hybrid workers apart, is that they have mastered the art and skillset of “being human” – which makes them invaluable. Here are the soft skills and traits you must develop and maintain:

  • Communication: With your colleagues and AI (such as with basic coding)
  • Empathy: While a robot or bot can prescribe and dispense meds so much quicker, a human can do so with compassion, a smile and genuine feelings from the heart.
  • Teamwork: Be the worker who works well in a team, boosts team morale and maximises on the strength of everyone in the organisation.
  • Adaptability: You’ve got to be flexible and adaptable.
  • Upskill and reskill: You need to do constant introspection and have the courage to upskill and reskill to stay relevant.

The beauty of youth is that you have a shot at writing your own script and can adjust the trajectory of your life. You can decide to do something meaningful with your life and approach your future with renewed hope. It is not just about changing your attitude, but being part of the change.

As an educator, parent or grandparent reading this, it’s not too late. You can plant a seed to grow SA teen entrepreneurs of the future. It is never too late. Do it now.