3 Ways to Ensure You Still Matter in the Age of Robots

Author: David McMillin       

As Alexa answers questions and robots make site visits, you may have kicked off 2018 with a new resolution: Don’t let technology make you irrelevant. Event organizers and meeting professionals aren’t the only ones worried about artificial intelligence. According to a recent report from McKinsey, robots will take 800 million jobs by 2030.

So it’s no surprise that Dan Berger, founder and CEO of Social Tables, acknowledges that “automation can be a bit scary in your professional life.” In the PCMA webinar “Future Proofing Your Career: How to Stay Relevant in the Age of Automation,” Berger helped event professionals prepare for a machine-dominated future by offering three tips.

1) Relax.

Relax? How are we supposed to relax if robots will erase our professional purpose along with the need to send us paychecks? Berger stressed the importance of reflecting on the history of farmers. Between 1900 and 1990, approximately 90 percent of agricultural workers lost their jobs. Despite this massive job loss, Berger said, “the 20th century is largely perceived as an era of unprecedented prosperity.”

2) Embrace the Changes Around the Corner.

Berger made an important distinction between automation and another term that feels a bit more promising: augmentation. Automation is all about building computers that can chip away at the tasks that humans perform. Augmentation leverages robots to do some of the tasks on our to-do lists to give us more time to focus on responsibilities that machines can’t master. Berger’s perspective echoes Marc Pomerleau, vice president of global strategy at FreemanXP. In 2017, Pomerleau discussed his faith in the future of robots with PCMA. “We are designed to do greater things,” Pomerleau said. “When you think about the potential for us as a species, how could you not want robots to take over some of those tasks,” like moving AV equipment or delivering water bottles?

3) Reimagine Your Responsibilities.

Once you’ve realized how much automation can assist with some of your duties, it’s time to envision a new kind of job. For example, Berger referenced healthcare. As automation helps sift through loads of data, doctors can devote more of their energy to understanding each patient as an individual person. Instead of focusing on the diagnosis, Berger spoke about how doctors can spend additional time on their soft skills and developing a better bedside manner. Consider the possibilities for reimagining roles in events — meeting planner, AV technician, convention services manager, and other traditional titles. How might automation free them up to do better, more creative work?

Berger’s webinar was part of the New Year, New You series, a collection of programming designed to help event organizers make and stick to professional-development resolutions in 2018. Interested in more insights on being the best version of yourself this year? Click here to register for “Conquering Resolution Slippage: The Power of Habit” on Feb. 22 at 1 p.m. Central Standard Time.

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