Potatoes VS Lawyers
Japanese potato farmers in Hokkaido conceded defeat that the high end robots they had employed were no better than cheap farm hands. After digging potatoes each had to be manually checked and its black “eyes” (blemishes) removed, a process that is laborious and tedious. Using cutting edge robots, farmers set out to automate the process but soon found that even though they could eliminate almost all of the eyes but not with a 100% accuracy. Although human labor was slower and more expensive, it was almost always accurate.
At the other end of the career pyramid, consultancy PWC reported that with the use of a single AI algorithm which could pattern match documents with case history, they could save a corporate client 340,000 hours of lawyer time.
This is our reality.
We cannot replace potato cleaners, but we can replace lawyers.
We often talk of the 4th Industrial Revolution and the disruptive impact of AI as a threat to the low skilled and uneducated strata of our workforce. But the opposite will be true.
This Industrial Revolution will disrupt and devalue a whole strata of highly skilled, educated professionals. If your job is highly paid, requires years of training and is fundamentally based on learning and recognising patterns, I’d be very worried right now. It’s these jobs AI will disrupt first. Learn from the Weavers and their story in this book.
We need to train our people with the skills that will equip them for this new Era, and Era of Peak Efficiency. There is no point sending the next generation to University to memorize a lot of data when machines are already exceeding human efficiency in this field. We need to train people to do what machines can’t and this book will show us how: leadership, storytelling and connection.
These are the qualities of humanity that set us apart from the machine.
In the Era of the Machine, be more Human.