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       seek out fresh innovative seed. Beyond the obvious but
       short-sighted solution of reducing staff numbers, how
       about thinking long-term and forging new value out of
       unique circumstances? Perhaps humanity doesn’t have
       to end up “on their knees”, as Robopocalypse au-
       thor Daniel Wilson suggests. Perhaps there’s the whiff
       of reinvention in the air.

       Finding the gap…

       Don’t get us wrong. There’s good reason to perk up ‒
       maybe even panic, if that’s the fuel needed to move into
       new paradigm thinking. But McKinsey’s latest report on
       automation displacement reminds us that, although al-
       most every occupation has partial automation potential,   stream occupations, so too will the same phenomenon
       humans will remain an essential ingredient in the future   unfold in science, technology, engineering and mathe-
       workplace equation. Even those jobs that can be easily   matics.
       automated, such as nursing or teaching, rely heavily on     Furthermore in other fields, according to a 2011 study,
       interactions between people and expertise that stretch-  jobs are likely to triple from automation. Experts say, for
       es beyond the knowledge of facts.                   every one million industrial robots created, nearly three
                                                           million jobs are directly needed to support them. They
       Where the design and construction of cities of the future   even argue unemployment rates will drop, as they did
       depend on public participation, the role of human crea-  for five of the six countries examined in the study.
       tivity and ingenuity will keep rising to the top. And for
       machines that excel at analyzing structured data, crea-  Are we taxing the wrong ‘people’?
       tive thinking will always remain gold, which is why future
       -thinking organizations are placing more emphasis on   Indeed, the subject is a bit more complex than a one-
       innovation and fostering creativity.                sided end-of-the-world scenario. We can envision a
                                                           future of coexistence, but we must ask the big ques-
       So, while a future with AI might mean the factory floor is   tions now and ensure that conscience leads the way.
       inhabited by more affordable, time-efficient robots, de-  Should robots be taxed like normal citizens, as Mi-
       signers and engineers will have more time to imagine,   crosoft co-founder Bill Gates proposes? It could be a
       create and build; clients will have more choices; and   way of slowing down automation and even funding jobs
       niche opportunities will find new traction.         in human-centered sectors such as caring for the elder-
                                                           ly and teaching children. And what’s stopping us from
       …also makes new jobs                                asking, should we ban robots in some industries alto-
       Others would say that AI and robots are creating a
       whole new job crop. Although an estimated 78% of pre-  These are the questions we need to be asking. These
       dictable physical jobs in the US (such as packaging,   are the grey areas we need to define. If we do it well, if
       food preparation and assembly line work) are under   we stay agile and inventive, and if we keep eyes peeled
       replacement threat, robots will never have the technical   for opportunity, we’re likely to dodge our own demise
       world waxed. So long as there are machines, there will   and remain the future’s authors. ◊
       be glitches and maintenance and updates required. All
       the more, we’ll need skilled labor and expertise to man-  By Brad McBean,
       age and maintain these emerging technologies. The
       robot will need replacing, the driverless car will need a   Managing Director, Advisory,
       tweak. And odds are good for still some time, it will be   Aurecon
       the human hand to do the fixing.                    This post originally appeared on
       New jobs will open up. Just as digital has given birth to   Just Imagine blog
       the IT world, with titles like ‘network administrator’, ‘field
       service technician’ and ‘web developer’ now main-
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