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September 9, 2015
Changes are happening so fast in the world that none of us can keep up. So for all my friends who are new to the workforce, or thinking about changing careers or jobs or their future, here is some unsolicited information based on my travels.
Employment is changing. There are going to be increasingly few industries in the coming decades that require human involvement. Why? Because the robots are coming. It’s a fact.
QUESTION: How many robots does it take to change a light bulb?
ANSWER: Two. One holds the other up to the bulb, that one changes it, the other one turns in a circle until the bulb is screwed in.
HUMAN INVOLVEMENT: 0
The industries that will be hiring for the coming years are health care (which is good – we all want to be healthy, right? And working in a business that helps people live is a pretty good thing, right?), finance (which is part of health care in many ways including stress, expense and preparing for the worst), and intense skills that require direct human involvement – once-passé jobs like carpenter and landscaper and so on.
Most of the other jobs we take for granted, from cashier to sales person to farmer and construction worker – even police and firemen! – are going to become the realm of the robot.
NEWS STORY: A robot walks into a bar, orders a martini, lays down a credit card and says, “gimme a tab.”
The bartender pushes the card back to the robot.
“We don’t serve robots,” he smugly says.
The robot is nonplussed. “Oh, yes you do,” and proceeds to make a dry martini without the bartender’s help in a matter of seconds.
Which leaves what for human beings?
The future is going to be defined by the way we use our time, our energy and our brains.
The future of jobs is creative answers. Not just “creative” as in the arts. I’m talking about creative solutions to an awesome array of problems that are as yet unforeseen. Every decade brings with it new issues, cultural, personal and professional. Not to mention international.
And the solutions to these problems, across all spectrum of human life, will come from ideas and the thought processes of folks like you and me.
Did you hear the one about the robot who went to Walgreen’s? It walked to the back of the store, to the pharmacy, and stood in line. When it got to the counter the pharmacist looked at the giant metal-and-fiberglass creature and asked, “May I get you something?”
The robot replied, “A soul, please.”
(The pharmacist suggested listening to some Chopin, reading some Flaubert and perhaps studying ancient Greek society, but the robot said, “I already did that…now what?”)
We will define our persons, our families, our professions, our communities and our country by using our minds and our hearts to find creative, positive solutions to the issues in front of us.
I was doing my ventriloquist act in a comedy club when my “partner,” Romeo, told a bad robot joke. “Why was 6 afraid of 7? Because 7 is a robot, and it ate 5 already!” A robot in the audience heckled me. “What gives you the right to stereotype artificial intelligence that way? You should be ashamed of yourself!”
I was flustered and I stammered out, “Uh… I’m sorry, Mr. Robot.”
The robot shouted at me, “I’m not talking to you, moron! I’m talking to that guy on your knee!”
Hope to see you this Friday night in East Hempfield, Pennsylvania! TICKETS HERE