TIM: A big fear for many people related to artificial intelligence is: “robots are gonna take over jobs from humans.” NEIL: Honestly some jobs are gonna be lost. Right? That happens in every sector, unfortunately. Look at like manufacturing in the United States some jobs, they’re never coming back and are no longer needed. But that doesn’t mean all jobs are going away. I actually am working with several universities internationally to figure out what is the future of work. A lot of people always talk about, well, given the rise of technology we need more computer programmers, architects, you know, machine learning guys, A.I. guys, blockchain guys, you know, data scientists. For sure, we’re gonna need that, without a doubt. The future work’s gonna require a lot of collaboration, a lot of good interpersonal skills, you know, negotiation, communications, critical thinkers that can do those kind of thought exercises where we proactively think about what’s going to happen, like with self-driving cars, as well as people that are creative, imaginative, because it’s all gonna be about that, you know, that experience. And so, I think there’s gonna be a huge demand for people that are skilled in philosophy and the arts. And that’s something a lot of people actually don’t talk about. TIM: So today, what should I be learning? What should I be studying? NEIL: I think a foundational knowledge in computer science, right? Not a full-blown, you don’t have to be a full-blown programmer, But understanding how coding works, how computers function. It’s gonna be just as fundamental as your reading, writing, and arithmetic. But I think this soft skill development is going to be a must-have for becoming more and more collaborative in terms of the type of work and if you don’t have good interpersonal skills, can’t communicate your message, you’re not going to go very far. And then creativity, the critical thinking, how can you imagine products of tomorrow, the services of tomorrow, without that capability, right? It’s not just gonna magically come to us and A.I. is right now nowhere near smart enough for telling us the next cool thing. TIM: For every old-world job or manufacturing job lost is there an exponential effect on the jobs of the future? NEIL: It’s a great question. I don’t think it’s, it’s not really a one-to-one and it’s not gonna be industry for specific, right? There’s whole new industries being thought of right now that will become the hot areas ten years from now. By the same token, some of these old world industries, they’re gonna lose a lot of jobs very quickly. You know, we would talk about self-driving cars, I believe the United Nations put out a report saying that the overall net impact of automated cars, some jobs will get created, some jobs will get lost, but that impact is gonna be about 60 million jobs lost worldwide. Alright, it’s like, OK, we don’t need taxi drivers, we don’t need truck drivers. We’re gonna make less cars, right? So you need less auto manufacturers, less supplies, but then you think about the ecosystem around it: the truck shop diners, the motels, all these things that, you know, where people would stop off as transportation drivers. You don’t need those things anymore. So what are you gonna do with them? You can’t just say, well, if you’re not a taxi driver you can just slot in as, you know, physician’s assistant. Alright? You also can’t tell someone, like, you know, if they’re 50 years old, married with a couple of kids, that hey, you know, guess what? You need to go back to school for six years to get that job of tomorrow. So, we have a short runway right now to try and retrain most, fortunately not all, but most of the existing workforce and retrain the workforce of tomorrow. Don’t wait for someone to tell you what those jobs of tomorrow are gonna be. Define it. Right? Figure it out. That’s actually what I’m doing with this consortium of universities, is that you don’t need to wait till all these cool AI tools come out and see what happens and then figure it out. We gotta be proactive. We have to think about where that more complex work is gonna be. TIM: As you look across the vocational horizon, are there more gigs, or more bosses? NEIL: Oh, that’s a great
question. That’s a really good question, Tim. More than likely, I think it’s gonna be more gigs, right? It’s all gonna be about the work that we’re doing and I think you’re gonna see it’s gonna be more entrepreneurial and it’s more gonna be about ourselves as a brand and the value the skills, knowledge, experience that we can bring to bear in a variety of different places. You know, a real simple example is there’s a startup company called Legal Nation started by three lawyers and they’ve built an A.I. lawyer that can look at discovery information, doing interrogatory, deposition questions. You’ll file the paperwork. They can essentially do what an associate lawyer probably spends six to eight hours doing in two minutes. Does that mean we don’t need associate lawyers anymore? Not at all. What we’re really doing is, we’re moving a very tedious administrative task off their plate, freeing up their time to do more meaningful work. Now they could actually see more clients. They can spend more time with each client. They can spend more time thinking about case strategy, jury selection, much higher value add tasks. That, I think, is what’s really gonna happen. It’s not that we’re gonna lose just all these jobs and we’re all gonna wonder what to do and sit around binge watch Game of Thrones. I think it’s actually going to lead us to do much higher order, more complex types of work.