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  • Dominic Miranda

AI-Resistant Skills to Help You Navigate Mass Layoffs

Updated: Mar 12

Adaptable professionals with resilient skill sets standing tall amidst corporate restructuring.

In the age of rapidly developing Artificial Intelligence (AI), many jobs will eventually become automated, something that technology, in general, has done throughout history. This phenomenon has been compared to cars overtaking horses as the primary method of individual transportation. Nowadays, horses are mostly ‘out of a job’ when it comes to transporting people from one place to another aside from tourist attractions that attempt to invoke a quaint feeling. Today, a similar development is occurring throughout the world, with over 20,000 tech jobs cut in January 2024 in the midst of an AI revolution. Companies experiencing these swift pivots in their product do not only include tech giants like Google and Microsoft, but they also include companies like Vroom, an e-commerce site, in which more finance roles are being automated. This appears to be a trend that will only continue as AI’s capabilities continue to expand.

Duolingo is a company that specifically cited AI as the reason it cut 10% of its entire contracted workforce. Along the same lines, Blackrock is another company that has made large cuts to its employee base. They are looking to shift towards other avenues, which “includes its technology investing and investments in “alternative products” instead of stocks or bonds.” Deutsche Bank also included a goal for “savings [that] will be driven by various measures "including simplified workflows and automation." People in any sector of the economy can expect to face disruptions by AI developments. These companies are a few examples of situations where being technologically literate has become more important by the day, as well as offering skills that cannot be replaceable by new technology. This article will delve into the lessons to be learned from this development and how to adapt to it by honing your skill set to be “future-proof”.

Become Emotionally Intelligent

AI attempting to understand and read the emotions of humans is unreliable, as simple facial expressions are sometimes misleading or misinterpreted by a machine. According to NYU, “the limitations of emotion recognition AI systems are that they're by design dependent on the simplification of whatever it is we are defining as emotion in the dataset”. It can only capture subtle cues in the case that a well-functioning and accurate face scanner is being used. Even with such technology, many people would likely find this to be invasive as this would necessitate someone’s camera capturing images of their face and performing instant analysis. Overall, this is not a currently feasible feature of artificial intelligence.

You should take advantage of these limitations and become better at understanding others’ emotions and learning how to manage them. It is important to empathize with others to ensure closer relationships with potential associates/partners and work together to find something that helps everyone. An AI cannot effectively ease the worry of an anxious client or shareholder. 

Learn How To Be An Effective Leader

This involves using a lot more skills on this list, but leading a group of humans is a task that AI will likely not be able to replicate anytime in the near future. It is impossible for AI to use emotional intelligence to empathize with group members, understand the strengths and weaknesses of each, and properly factor in experience, personality traits, and motivations, among other things. Interpersonal intelligence is a must-have to be able to do this. It is possible to display leadership skills even when not in a direct leadership role. One must take initiative for tasks, set an example for others, and be a self-starter. By assuming this role, companies will notice and choose to promote you to lead a group of other employees and ensure that artificial intelligence will not overtake that position. 

Improve Problem-Solving Skills Through Resourcefulness

When faced with a problem, an AI is not aware of all of the potential avenues to its solution. There will always be limitations to AIs' understanding of an environment, so you must stay ahead and be aware of your work environment. 

Being able to interpret data is essential to a career in case data collection is delegated to technology. Leveraging data efficiently requires expertise and the human essence to generate profitable solutions. This should serve as motivation to master your profession and gain a deep understanding of the intricacies of the business and underlying reasons why things operate the way they do. 

Ensure You Are Aware Of Cultural Contexts

Like many other skills on this list, AI does not have the proper human context to offer workable solutions to problems. It is impossible for AI to understand the complexities of human relationships and behavior the way humans can. Despite being trained in history, an AI would not be able to synthesize this knowledge into every potential interaction between humans. 

Someone who is in touch with cultural contexts for an issue can offer solutions and make suggestions that are sensitive and respectful to all groups. It is important to keep these in mind because customers and shareholders are the backbone of any industry, and ensuring that their interests are met keeps the business afloat and viable.

One example would be Duolingo’s cuts, they decided to shift towards using more AI in their product, essentially cutting individuals for not providing something that the AI could not do by itself. An enhanced cultural sense would likely separate the skills of the employed humans over the AIs that help generate educational content for the platform. Because language can vary by geography, age, and SES, among other things, human experiences are necessary to provide an informed and comprehensive experience.

Engage With Your Creative Side

Creativity is something that cannot be replicated. As a human, we can think ‘outside the box’ so to speak, so we need to take advantage of this and explore new and innovative ways to resolve an issue. AIs can only process what they are prompted with, and what they are trained on. There will never be any revolutionary ideas brought about by AI, so it is important to continue to exercise your creativity and use it when you can to keep your mind sharp. Continue to venture into thoughts that are nontraditional or nonconforming, because this is where niches can be filled and new ways to prosper are discovered. Harvard Business Review mentions a few different tactics that allow you to expand your creativity, including engaging with nature, meditation, practicing creative tasks, among others.

Listen To Your Clients And Coworkers

Effective communication is a skill that any occupation requires. To understand what problem to solve and if the solution to the problem is feasible and optimal, one must be able to communicate these ideas to the others involved. AIs will likely not be used to mediate a disagreement or come up with conclusions for an issue any time soon. It is imperative to become someone who listens to the details and to properly communicates any potential issues that humans can sense. A human has a better and higher capacity for following complex directions. Make sure you are available to be assigned these complex issues by having a keen sense of what is actually necessary for the success of the task. 

Make Ethical Choices

AI does not necessarily have a moral compass outside of what it is trained on. Although it can be trained to avoid making unethical decisions, its code can be circumvented and it can also just make mistakes. Context is necessary to treat everyone fairly and ensure no one is getting wronged. In the case of an automated decision, someone may be unfairly treated or breached in an agreement and be negatively affected by something that cannot be held accountable and has no conscience. Not only that, but you or your business can be held liable for any damages and your reputation would be harmed. 

For this reason, it is essential to keep making ethical decisions that do not exploit others for the sake of greed. Although AIs would likely be trained to avoid exploiting others, it has no understanding of the working environment and thus cannot make a proper judgment. 

Develop Stress-Management Techniques

Many of these companies are deciding to automate tasks that bring stress to their employees, which in turn lowers productivity at the expense of the ‘human essence’. In the age of AI, it is important to maintain productivity at your tasks through discipline and stress-management techniques to give your employers less of a reason to give up their human capital.

Understand Negotiation And Persuasion Tactics

Negotiation is something that is an art and utilizes things such as rhetoric, body language, appeals, and strategic use of information. AIs do not currently have the benefit of having a body to use body language to its advantage. Vocal inflections and heavily implied language are also used to get a point across without overtly pushing an issue too far. Being a good negotiator that provides the maximum benefit for your company is a good way to remain AI-resistant.

Learn How To Manage Risk

Similar to the point above, AIs cannot properly account for the various interests at play when making decisions. Business decisions always come with risks and rewards, pros and cons, and it is currently a uniquely human ability to weigh these factors properly. Attributing non-monetary value to something is a product of a person’s intrinsic value system, and cannot be replicated to reach the goals of a company. Some things might just be too nuanced to leave to AI. For example, the idea of acquiring a new asset or making an investment will likely not be left to artificial intelligence unless it comes down to a simple one-dimensional choice. 

Become Proficient In Some Software/Technology

There are plenty of different technologies or programs that artificial intelligence cannot effectively operate on its own. Despite being able to provide code or directions to use a certain program, issues may arise with these directions and it takes a competent user to fix such issues and arrive at a proper solution. Going back to the horses and cars analogy, a horse needs a jockey as much as a car needs a driver (except now we have self-driving cars, which now can be analogous to self-driving cars needing programmers). It is up to you to adapt and become literate in software that is relevant to your career, so you can work alongside AI rather than get replaced by it.

Forging an AI-Resistant Future: Concluding Insights

In the face of an ever-evolving technological landscape, mastering AI-resistant skills becomes paramount for individuals navigating the uncertain terrain of the job market. While AI continues to revolutionize industries, there remains a steadfast need for human-centric qualities that machines cannot replicate. From emotional intelligence to problem-solving prowess, cultural awareness, and creativity, these skills serve as a bulwark against automation, ensuring human relevance in an AI-driven world. By honing these attributes, individuals can fortify themselves against the tide of mass layoffs and technological disruption, carving out a resilient path forward in the age of AI. Embracing adaptability, ethical decision-making, and technological proficiency, they can not only weather the storm of automation but emerge as indispensable assets in an increasingly AI-dominated landscape. As we navigate this era of rapid change, cultivating AI-resistant skills proves to be the cornerstone of professional resilience and longevity.

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