Skills That Won’t Be Automated Any Time Soon

By Harvard Business Review
October 1, 2018

It’s a high-tech world, but excelling in these five areas should keep you employable no matter what the future holds.

The advances achieved in this age of technological change, from the growth of the internet to the development of machine-learning systems, point toward the total automation of our lives, including the way we work and do business. 

Luckily, these skills will make you employable no matter what the future holds:

Communication: The most basic form of communication is constructing a compelling story, and although efforts have been launched to create robot authors, the ability to communicate compellingly will always be hard to automate.

RELATED: Autonomous Robots on a Roll in Health Care

Content: If you know a great deal about a given domain, you have a rich base on which to draw. And if you have an appreciation for the dynamics of that domain, you have something mere Googling can never replicate. 

Context: Automated systems are usually very bad at recognizing context. Understanding the business model, competition and leadership of a client or an employer makes your understanding of content more useful.

Emotional competence: Machines are rudimentary in their ability to understand the emotional tenor of a person, meeting or organization. Being able to recognize the emotions at play in the context of analysis and action, successfully intervene in an emotionally complex situation and persuade individuals and groups by evoking emotion make humans irreplaceable.

RELATED: Use Emotional Intelligence to Get Your Ideas Across

An ethical compass: As computers become more capable, executives are realizing just how important the capacity for moral judgment is. The prototypical case of the robot driver caught between hitting an oncoming bus and killing the car’s passengers or avoiding the passengers’ death by veering onto a sidewalk and killing a group of schoolchildren demonstrates this point. We don’t have an optimization function for such situations. 

Copyright 2018 Harvard Business School Publishing Corp. Distributed by The New York Times Syndicate.

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