AI Jobs Rising Tide - Thrive or Freeze?

Feel AI is a threat, begin the limbic dance of Fight Flight Freeze or Fawn. Many wait for AI jobs to arrive & miss what's in front of their eyes. Critical thinking ahead, one of the new skills. EP #37

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The brittle grass breaking beneath your feet, breath hushed,

you walk as quietly as possible to avoid the lion hunting you....

The lion called AI.

Feel AI is a threat, begin the ancient, limbic dance of Fight Flight Freeze or Fawn.

Many wait for AI jobs to arrive & miss what's in front of their eyes.

Critical thinking ahead, one of the new skills. EP #37

Episode 37 Playlist

00:00 The Lion is AI - AI Jobs Rising Tide

01:27 Klarna example: Thrive or Freeze?

03:48 Like Water - Integrating AI

09:30 Which occupations will AI impact?

14:08 Hi exposure workers to AI

19:29 What to do - inventing futures

In the latest episode of "The AI Optimist," we dance in the polarized debate surrounding AI jobs, casting a fresh light on how we perceive this techn advancement.

The episode begins with a powerful metaphor, likening AI to a lion and our reactions to its perceived threat to an "ancient human limbic dance" of fight, flight, freeze, or fawn.

This imagery sets the stage for a discussion on the primal fears many of us harbor about AI, which could cloud our judgment and prevent us from seeing the opportunities it presents.

While many wait on the sidelines, trying to predict the future job landscape, they miss out on developing crucial skills, like critical thinking, that are essential in the era of AI.

One of the most compelling moments comes with the news about Klarna's AI assistant, which reportedly does the work of 700 full-time agents. This could easily be interpreted as a death knell for jobs, but the podcast challenges us to flip our perspective.

Instead of viewing Klarna's innovation as a harbinger of job loss, see it as proof of AI's potential to enhance efficiency and, importantly, without significant job losses.

This reframing is part of a broader call for critical thinking, urging us to look beyond fear-mongering headlines and consider the nuanced impacts of AI on the workforce.

The episode wraps up with a personal reflection, insights gained from witnessing multiple tech revolutions, from the advent of personal computers to the current AI wave.

These reflections offer a hopeful outlook, suggesting that just as we have navigated past technological upheavals, we can adapt to and thrive in the age of AI.

This journey through fear, opportunity, and adaptation in the context of AI jobs not only enlightens but also inspires listeners to approach the future with an open mind and a critical eye.

AI Jobs Rising Tide - Thrive or Freeze?

Klarna replaced 700 full-time agents. Proof of AI’s inevitable takeover or a reason to smile because AI helped 700 agents maybe do their jobs better?

Look at AI - a lot of people out there afraid of it.

Some with experience - like mid level coders, middle managers, marketers of all kinds, the first wave of people to be replaced or downsized because of AI.

Some fearful that their jobs might change

Some might think it won't impact them.

No matter what you think about AI, and what scares you, it's coming;

new things come out daily. It's a rising tide.

You can be afraid - and go into the freeze, flight, or fawn/feed state.

Asking people to stop it (even a bunch of billionaries tried that last year, remember?)

A few will see this for what it is, a chance. Like the personal computer replacing

the typewriter in the 1980s and 90s;

The internet taking off and crashing in the early 2000s, while social media provided the next change.

Jobs lost, jobs gained.

We talk about Agile, now forget the talk.

Be agile, to thrive.

Many will learn soft skills - team building, empathy, listening, and other skills previously set aside to do boring mundane things that AI will do now.

Others will integrate AI to make them more efficient.

The people who curl up, afraid, in the fetal position, or those who deny AI will impact their careers?

The future is not looking good

Because they don't want the future to happen, they want things to stay the same.

Why resilience is a key skill:

APA defines

"Resilience is the process and outcome of successfully adapting to

difficult or challenging life experiences,

especially through mental, emotional, and behavioral flexibility."

Bend the mind, the spoon a bit - this is like yoga for your

AI fearful mind. Brought to you by someone who is old

enough that he should be freezing or pretending it doesn't matter...

In the face of a

rate of change so fast

hard hard to predict

why is it a threat?

what can you do?

Threats draw out that ancient part of us, almost like being hunted,

and the way leaders casually drop career bombs like....

“95% of what marketers use agencies, strategists, and creative professionals for today will easily, nearly instantly and at almost no cost be handled by the AI”

- Sam Altman, CEO OpenAI

Be a critical thinker

Critical thinking is the ability to analyze information, evaluate arguments, and make reasoned judgments. It involves the systematic evaluation of information to form a conclusion or solve a problem.

Some key examples of critical thinking include:

1. Identifying strengths and weaknesses: Carefully examining a situation or argument to understand its merits and limitations.

2. Limited Data? Make educated guesses about how something works, designing experiments to test.

3. Evaluating different viewpoints, identifying logical flaws, and guiding a discussion to ensure all sides are heard fairly.

4. Basing beliefs on logic and reasoning: Forming conclusions based on reliable information and sound arguments, rather than emotions or biases.

what can you do?

Use AI in some way, shape or form.

Even better, find out how you are using

it without knowing (Netflix?).

Begin with yourself, your job and career.

What can AI do/not do to help you?

Don't Fear the AI Career Reaper:

Thinking Critically and Inventing Yourself

We've all seen the headlines - "AI to Make Millions of Jobs Obsolete" or "Robots Coming for Your Career." With every new AI breakthrough, a wave of fear spreads about job losses. But before you hunker down for the worst, let's apply some critical thinking.

Take the example of Klarna claiming their AI assistant can do the work of 700 employees. On the surface, this sounds like a job apocalypse.

However, this hasn't actually led to any significant layoffs. Like many transformative technologies before it, AI is augmenting human capabilities rather than completely replacing us.

We've been through multiple "end of job" panics before - personal computers, the internet, etc. And yet, employment persists, with new roles and opportunities emerging.

Instead of pointing fingers at AI, we need to think critically about the research and embrace what AI can do for us.

That's not to say AI won't disrupt certain jobs and industries. It absolutely will, just as past innovations have. But fixating on fear blinds us to the prospects AI unlocks.

With machine intelligence handling mundane tasks, we humans can focus on higher cognitive areas that AI can't yet match - creativity, strategy, empathy, and more.

So rather than freezing up at the thought of an AI job apocalypse, it's time for a mindset shift.

Don't just plan to "weather" the AI storm. Invent yourself with AI's assistance, allowing it to elevate your skills and unburden you from dull, repetitive work.

Embrace the rising AI tide and evolve your career to align with AI's strengths, not resist them.

The future won't be humanless, but human-centered in new ways we can't yet imagine. By applying critical thinking, keeping our skills continually refreshed, and inventing new possibilities with AI's help, we can ride this wave towards new ways of thinking and doing.

The AI reaper isn't coming for your career - it's a catalyst for reinventing it.


The AI Optimist
The AI Optimist
Moving beyond AI hype, The AI Optimist explores how we can use AI to our advantage, how not to be left behind, and what's essential for business and education going forward.
Each week for one year I’m exploring the possibilities of AI, against the drawbacks. Diving into regulations and the top 10 questions posed by AI Pessimists, I’m not here to prove I’m right. The purpose here is to engage in discussions with both sides, hear out what we fear and what we hope for, and help design AI models that benefit us all.