My entrepreneurial brain is in fast-forward right now, trying to figure out what happens to human beings as computers replace models, actors, writers, HR departments, and maybe even teachers.
I realize this happened to manufacturing many years ago and humans have adapted, which is why it makes me think about how we’ll adapt and whether or not there is a business I can start that will help us get there.
A Few Examples
A company here in Chicago, Narrative Science, has created algorithms that tell stories human beings don’t tell. For instance, the play-by-play of Little League games or the financial reporting of the Fortune 500 that Forbes and Fortune don’t report, typically the companies at the bottom of the list.
Augmented reality is creating the opportunity for models to be computer-generated in catalogs and print ads, cutting down on labor costs and time associated with getting the exact, right shot.
Companies, such as Xerox, are leaving call center hiring decisions to software because it uses big data to determine whether or not a person will stay in the job long enough for the company to recoup its training investment…and it’s all based on personality, not skill set.
And now computerized tutors are popping up for math and science students…the type of learning that is easily computerized because it is data-driven.
But what does all of this mean to those of us working in the fields where, until today, have required human interaction, eye contact, and a way with words?
Right now, Arment Dietrich is dependent on human interaction and client service. A second business we’re getting ready to launch, Spin Sucks Pro, teaches people about our human, client service-oriented profession via computer-generated content.
While that second business has pretty big projections because it’s easier to scale than a business reliant on people, we don’t know whether or not it’ll succeed. We think it will, based on the trend of computers replacing people, but are humans really ready for that? Will computers ever totally replace humans? Will we still need in-person interaction?
What do you do in your job every day? Do you face the risk of being replaced by an algorithm? How are you preparing for a future where your cognitive skills may no longer be needed?
A version of this first appeared in my weekly Crain’s column.