By David Rose
When technology and innovation like artificial intelligence (AI) change the way people work, there is a fundamental shift in the skills needed for career success. What was once essential, becomes obsolete. So, if you have an expertise that is no longer valued or needed, were you simply artificially intelligent?
More than 2,000 years ago, an abacus was ‘the’ calculating tool. The most advanced users, the mathematicians in Europe, China, and Russian, were experts. They were the epitome of intelligence and sophistication; admired by all. While you still see abacuses (abaci) from time to time – including colorful, plastic versions in early childhood educational settings – they have been surpassed by more advanced technology. When the abacus was eclipsed, the experts – who were once revered – had a knowledge that no longer mattered. They didn’t lose proficiency, they simply neglected to adapt to the changing world around them.
30 years ago, a teacher decided to return to school in pursuit of a Master of Science degree in Computer Science. She worked hard, wrote a detailed thesis, and earned that degree. She still proudly hangs that diploma. She should be proud of her dedication, resiliency, and commitment. The diploma represents that effort. Yet, this educator with a master’s degree, cannot figure out how to log on to Instagram. She didn’t lose intelligence. She just didn’t stay current on the advances in computer science.
Expertise must evolve with innovation to maintain relevance.
First, recognize that learning should be a constant process. Whether it’s reading books, attending conferences, following influencers, participating in training programs, or simply engaging with others who share a common desire to learn and share knowledge, it’s critical that you make learning continuous. Second, as you learn, you must budget time for reflection. Without taking the time to review, consider, or re-set your understanding or perspective, no change can be made. Without change, you become stagnant.
As learning becomes more than a simple routine, you will find yourself with a thirst for more. You’ll find interests you didn’t know you had, or you may discover you know more than you ever wanted to know about a particular topic. The consistent drive to learn more – as it relates to job search, career strategy, and leadership – makes you a better candidate for job opportunities because it is a clear indicator of adaptability. Your adaptability will allow you to flex during changing circumstances, and assimilate to new environments and situations more readily.
Employers are attracted to candidates with the expertise for today, and the versatility for tomorrow.
Identify emerging technologies in your industry or workplace. Target one, and establish a short-term goal of foundational knowledge. Learn the basics, and do so quickly. Next, share your new learnings with a colleague, friend, or protégé, as it reinforces your own understanding. Repeat this process through the course of the year (once per quarter is a realistic starting point). Align yourself with others who share a common desire to improve, and encourage collaboration.
As the skills needed for career success shift, keeping current on prevailing and looming modernization will provide you with credibility, clout, and confidence. There is nothing artificial about staying on the cusp of things to come. It’s genuine intelligence.