Trading Spears for Algorithms: Rethinking 'Essential' in the AI Era
Why Today's 'Must-Haves' Could Be Tomorrow's Obsolete Skills
What do hunting mammoths and driving a car have in common? Today, perhaps not much. But in a few years' time, they might both be as obsolete as cassette tapes. Welcome to the unpredictable, ever-evolving world of Artificial Intelligence, where the skills you're learning today could soon join our prehistoric friends on the extinction list.
I’m not talking about coding or design. And I’m not jumping on the doom and gloom, clickbaity trend of '[insert skill] is dead, here’s how AI will replace your job.' There’s no point in being catastrophic and fear-mongering. I’m talking about skills that seem as fundamental as hunting for survival seemed a few thousand years ago; skills like basic math or hand-writing.
Throughout my career, I’ve been obsessed with automation. It’s something I’ve always explored through self-learning. And I've often wondered what is the point of doing courses to learn specific tools when I can just Google my questions. The information is already out there. If anything, the fundamental skill behind it was search. The only thing I needed was to know what was possible. From there I just needed imagination to create tech-enabled innovation.
Fast forward to today. As I’m learning to code for the first time in my life, Google is now quickly becoming obsolete. And all I need is ChatGPT’s code interpreter.
Just a few months ago, to learn any basic coding I would have needed to search Google with the right question, read and watch a bunch of content, and hope to find the solution to my question. Now I just copy my code, and pose a question in plain English.
Again, this shift has taken less than a year to happen since the launch of the original ChatGPT. Let that sink in.
As AI gets smarter by the minute, many of the skills we deem a “must have” will come into question, and they will slowly but surely fade into oblivion.
But don't start mourning your spreadsheets and keyboards just yet. This shift is actually a shiny, gift-wrapped opportunity. We've seen it before. When we put down our bows and picked up pens, we didn't just survive. We thrived.
Think Renaissance after the Middle Ages. Industrial Revolution after the farming era. It's like breaking free from a monotonous job and discovering you've got a knack for stand-up comedy. Every time we've ditched an 'essential' skill, we've stumbled upon a game changer: the power to dream.
So, what's next? What treasures will we find when we let go of these 'essentials'? That’s the thrilling part. We don't know. And frankly, it’s quite impossible to imagine. It's like opening a mystery box. With AI taking the mundane tasks off our plate, we have free reign to create, to innovate.
We're about to start humanity's biggest improv act.
As we step into this AI era - of which we are just barely scratching the surface - we shouldn’t look back in fear. Look forward. Remain open to learning every single day, eager to figure out what new 'fundamental' skills will emerge, allowing us to build a new and yet unimaginable future.