3 Skills that Will Help You Survive the Robot Uprising
Chris Slemp

The robots aren’t just coming—they’re here already. Take a glimpse of the future and you’ll likely see a world in which machines, not humans, handle many of the tasks that currently require a flesh-and-blood brain to complete.

Truck-driving is the No. 1 job held by Americans, but the advent of self-driving vehicles means it’s not a matter of if we will outsource the job of “truck driver” to artificial intelligence, but when. Even the $62.5 billion-valuated Uber is preparing for the pending robot takeover when they will eliminate “the dude in the front of the car,” as Geoff Colvin explained in an interview on the podcast “Between Worlds.”

My commute to work means I drive a lot. Fortunately, that gives me about six hours per week to indulge in a new love of mine: podcasts. The ones I stick with are the best story-tellers, and Colvin tells a great story.

In the episode that most caught my ear, Colvin spoke about culture, leadership, and how to prepare for the robot uprising. He made a compelling case about the ways in which humans can continue to offer a valuable set of skills even as AI replaces millions of jobs.

Here are Colvin’s three key takeaways that will help you continue to offer value even after the robots have taken over.

1: Empathy

Computers are very good at interpreting emotions, but responding appropriately is difficult even for some humans. People and companies that want to find continued success need to be excellent at discerning feelings and responding appropriately. Every individual and group—account teams, strategists, project managers, designers, and developers—needs to recognize and respond to clients and customers in a way that speaks to them. This means communicating a solution to their problem in a way that is inviting and straightforward.

2: Team Problem-Solving

The really hard problems can only be solved by teams. Research has revealed that the most effective groups at problem-solving are not those with good “cohesion,” smart leadership, or high motivation. The key is social sensitivity: the ability of team members to “read” each other, to anticipate, and read between the lines of other team members. Looking forward, the path to success is paved not with technology, but strategy that enhances team collaboration. Though many people have not jumped on board collaborative networks like Yammer or Facebook at Work, there are loads of valuable team-enhancing features there. It may sound silly, but I honestly believe that communication styled as a feed or chat, with all its emoticons and GIFs, makes all the necessary asynchronous communication so much richer; more natural; and as a result, creates the kind of sensitivity we all need to work effectively.

3: Storytelling

Humans are hard-wired to respond to stories, particularly those that tell the classic arc of overcoming-obstacles.

“If we want to change somebody’s mind, if we want to motivate someone to act, all the data and logic in the world isn’t nearly as powerful as telling them a story,” Colvin said in the podcast interview.

If you ask me, Skype hit the nail on the head in using storytelling to motivate. Watch this video, try not to cry at the end, and then ask yourself how many times the product name was mentioned. How many features did it talk about? How many times did they talk about how many millions of people use Skype? This was a story about two girls and a human connection (oh, and by the way, there’s a Skype logo at the end). It WORKS!

The heart of the work we do at Carpool is to increase the humanity of your team communications and collaboration. We robot-proof your employees by creating more functional teams that love to tell the stories of their impact. We’re sure there are lots of ways in which AI will enrich our lives, and one of them is to make the work we do even more human.