Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach

Automation Is Not The Enemy

Machines have replaced workers for over almost two hundred years. But the first time we truly felt threatened by machines was in ‘97 when IBM’s Deep Blue beat Garry Kasparov at chess.

And as if it wasn’t already obvious that we were no longer the best at thinking, machines later beat our champions at bridge, poker, Jeopardy!, and Go.

Fear gripped the world. 

With enough time, computers may surpass us in all fields. Leaving us little choice but to fight back.

At least, that’s the black and white view the media generally feeds us: winner takes all. Not because it’s true, but because it gets more clicks.

The less exciting truth is that humans and machines make a better team than Cheech & Chong. Mechanical Chong doesn’t get tired, doesn’t want credit for its work, and doesn’t get the munchies and tear off your cupboard doors looking for Oreos.

Granted, machines will put millions of people out of a job. But only those with one-dimensional jobs. Like truck drivers, cashiers, dishwashers, toll-booth operators, and pencil pushers.

But the more complex professions, like lawyers and surgeons, will only do better with the assistance of computers. Give the machines the grunt work and the doctor gets extra time to focus on the important stuff, like choosing the treatment and making the patient feel cared for. 

And have no fear if your job happens to be on the chopping block. Automation is a long process.

Take self-driving cars. They’ll arrive not too long from now. But that’s only because we’re far down the road. 

To make autonomous cars possible, we first had to invent cruise control, automatic transmission, cameras, parking sensors, GPS and ride-hailing apps. Inventions that made the jobs of professional drivers far easier and effective.

By removing annoying tasks like map reading and finding clients, drivers got more room to focus on the human aspects of the job.

The same goes for most professions that are in line for automatisation. 

Machines don’t make us obsolete. Machines amplify our productivity and free up time to do what matters.

By Jeroen Elsing
Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach