Robots will do your job. Soon.

Yesterday’s post talked about solving the little problems you might have in an organisation at the beginning of the work you’d really like to do. It referenced a great thread on Hacker News, which had a huge conversation on it that stretched from how people bill for their services to what the difference is between a contractor and a freelancer. I’d like to talk today about what happens when robots can do your job, and what that means for the future of work.

Tim Hwang is the founder of The Awesome Foundation and also the founder of a legal firm called Robot, Robot and Hwang. The two senior partners at RR&H are robots and Tim jokes he’s the junior partner. Tim is experimenting with replacing law work with robots trained to respond and deal with the various issues that a lawyer may face.

This comes out of an experiment Tim and his colleagues have been playing out through the Web Ecology Project. In their main experiment, they randomly select 500 (real) twitter users and then had three teams build three bots to engage with those users. The winning bot would be the one that formed the most real relationships with the human twitter users. Check out this YouTube video interview with Tim to hear more about it.

Talking to Tim about this, it blew my mind. What does the future of the workplace look like when robots can do many of the lower value social things we currently do…not just the lower value physical things which led to the replacement of humans in the manufacturing industry? Steve Sammartino asked a related question in a post recently, with regards to what happens if you don’t radically reinvent yourself and what you’re doing.

To bring this all back to yesterday’s post, it would seem evident that this is only further encouragement to provide extreme value to the people you’re working with. Robot’s can’t, and probably won’t, be able to use intuition and reasoning to help move people towards a more successful strategy or business plan. Humans can. It all comes back to being strategic and providing value, and if you can do this then you probably won’t be replaced by a robot.

3 thoughts on “Robots will do your job. Soon.

  1. Great post Steve. With the Singularity nearing, and an ever increasing spectrum of ‘bot’ work, the question is what is the future for humans. And I keep coming back to one theme ‘Organising the seemingly disparate’. Making meaning from things which have no perceived connection. This matter because it is impossible for a robot to connect things in different worlds unless it is essentially human.

    A bit ‘Squigily’ I say. There has never been a better time in human existance to work in creative / entrepreneurial fields.

    Keep the classic posts coming.

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