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🤖 WORKING FROM AI
The WFH debate gets an AI twist
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The WFH debate gets an AI twist.
Does the rise of AI mean it’s sunset for “working from anywhere”?
As if the work-from-home v back-to-the-office debate wasn’t complicated enough, there’s a new perspective to consider: the link between remote work and increasing abilities of generative AI.
A leading expert recently suggested that remote roles may be more susceptible to AI “takeovers.”
Zoom out: That actually makes logical sense. Roles that need an in-person presence usually involve some pretty nuanced human skills, or hyper specific situational adaptabilities, that are hard for machines to do. Think: a nurse offering bedside support, a mechanic figuring out what’s wrong by sound, or an event manager adapting to a last-minute venue change.
Knowledge-type tasks that can be performed from anywhere, on the other hand, with just a laptop and WiFi, feel like the type of work that language learning models can learn, mimic and eventually perfect.
But. If you’re loving the remote work lifestyle, don’t panic yet. Just because your job is remote, doesn't necessarily mean it’s also easy to algorithmically automate.
What I’m saying is, strategic, creative, or decision-making roles might all currently be executed by a person sitting behind a screen and typing into a laptop —but that doesn’t mean that the laptop will be able to start doing those jobs all by itself.
GO HUMANS GO
In my experience, a professional communication style, from someone with a uniquely human approach, is worth a lot —and adds significant value to knowledge based work.
As I’ve written in the past, when it comes to high level marketing, I continue to observe plenty of demand for high level, human interaction.
Top tier clients at larger organizations prefer to understand the rationale behind a campaign strategy or creative idea. Then, they like to build consensus within their organizations behind that idea, usually by discussing the parameters/risk reward benefit of certain decisions.
All of this stuff has to be thoughtfully considered —and properly talked through— before any sort of high profile/expensive initiative is signed off on.
X’S AND O’S
It all begs an interesting question: Could it be that the true essence of work might actually be the unglamorous "blocking and tackling" of advancing projects and ensuring all participants are in sync?
And might execution and “deliverables management” (as opposed to knowledge or experience) become the more crucial part of the modern "time-in-exchange-for-labor" equation?
TIME FOR WHAT?
Sidebar: The grand "time-in-exchange-for-labor" bargain that underpins modern work style is the foundational principle of salaried employment.
We all know the deal: people trade their time, skills, and expertise for money. But how did this become a thing?
Well, historically, as societies moved from agrarian economies to industrial ones, the value of labor was increasingly quantified in terms of time. This led to the standardization of the workday and workweek.
As most everyone knows, in this model, employees commit to working a set number of hours, and in return, employers pay them a predetermined amount of money. This “grand bargain” promises the employee a predictable income, and provides consistent availability of labor for the employer.
Over time, this arrangement has been refined and regulated, leading to more modern innovations like overtime pay, paid leave, as well as other “in-kind” benefits, like health insurance and retirement fund contributions.
CHATGPT HAS ENTERED THE CHAT
However, with the advent of user friendly, generative AI systems, there’s a shift occurring, one that may well swing the value pendulum away from both knowledge and time, and (back) towards labor.
That swing of the pendulum may force us to reevaluate the very essence of work today.
THE “REVERSE INDUSTRIAL REVOLTUTION”
A few weeks ago I wrote that the rise of AI might be sparking a kind of “reverse Industrial Revolution.” The idea is that widespread, nearly free AI, is turning knowledge, as well as a lot of knowledge based outputs like marketing copy, hit songs, and drafting contracts in to uneconomic goods, aka things you can’t really sell because they’re so abundant.
In our view, we are pivoting to a future where roles that emphasize account management, coordination, and communication will be more valuable than those that are based on pure knowledge.
If that ends up being the case, then the uniquely human capabilities we all (can) bring to the job —things like warmth, empathy, and efficiency of communication— will become even more vital, and valuable.
BE IRREPLACEABLY HUMAN
The moral of this story? It’s not enough to just be good at your job; the new bare minimum is to be irreplaceably human.
Being irreplaceably human means leaning into things like your intuition, creative problem solving, and empathy —and bringing positive emotions like enthusiasm, gratitude, optimism, and joy to your work.
This newsletter believes that the more employees base their roles in these qualities, the more indispensable they will become —regardless of where exactly they’re working from.
In an age of abundance, being irreplaceably human might be your best career move yet.
It will be easier to replace fully remote jobs with AI, a leading WFH expert says »»
These are the American workers most worried that AI will soon make their jobs obsolete (from June) »»
Written by Jon Kallus. Any feedback? Just reply!