Creative Work In The Age Of Automation.
Today, I want to talk to you about which type of creative work is going to survive this fourth industrial revolution and adapt to this age of automation.
Will My Job Survive?
One of the questions I’m often asked, especially by creative professionals is, do I think that their jobs are going to be able to survive all this automation, all this AI, this change that we’re seeing just now in the world of work. And I usually start by asking them a little bit more about the type of work that they do. And that will help me kind of decide on whether I think their job has a future, or whether they need to change or tweak it in a certain way.
The writer David Pye, who wrote a book about craftsmanship in the 1960s, made it a useful distinction between different types of creative work or workmanship, really, and he was talking in terms of furniture design, but he works equally well, whether you’re in financial services, or whether you’re in sales, or whether you’re a designer or musician, for example. And he said, there are these two types of workmanship, there’s the workmanship, of certainty. And there’s the workmanship, of risk, the workmanship of certainty, and workmanship of rest. Now, I think one of these will be more sustainable. In this future. In this future where AI and machine learning robotics are taking more and more jobs,
Workmanship of Certainty
You see, this workmanship of certainty is where you know where the result needs to be kind of predetermined, where let’s say, You’re, you’re deciding you’re, something’s been built by an organization, something has been designed by an organization. And they said, We know, we need to know with absolute certainty, what the finished product will look like. So this lends itself very well to things like automation. You know, if we think about an example here, in David pies book, he talks about printmaking, we want to make the initial template, essentially, you can just generate lots and lots of them, and there’s not really so much skill, so you’re a bit more certain in what you’re you’re creating. Likewise, if you’re thinking about getting a suit, or a tailored dress made, then you know, an off the peg suit or dress is going to be certain you know where they’re going to finish the result because you actually see it there.
Now, this type of workmanship, this type of craft this type of creativity, if you’re involved in that type of work, producing things, which are going to be the same multiple times and the end result is, is defined, that’s the jobs are most at risk, just now. That’s the jobs that I will see many of them will go many that will be automated machines, robots will take over many of those jobs,
Workmanship of Risk
the jobs that are going to stay and actually become even stronger in the future, are what we call the workmanship of risk, the creativity of risk. So this is where that final outcome, the final result is not pre-determined. So for example, mentioned the clothing near the tailor. So in a tailor, you might have rather than off the peg suit or dress is getting made, you would employ a tailor to make a defined like a purpose, custom-designed, made for you suit or dress, you don’t know what the final result exactly is going to be. Because you’re having to make the trust in that professional in that craft and in that creative person to design that work. But it will be more tailor-made, it will fit you perfectly, you’re going to look great in it.
Now, that job, the job of the craftsman who is able to flex, who is able to be fine with ambiguity, and to work in those kinds of more complex problem solving, collaboration styles, ways of working, that type of role, that type of workmanship, that type of creative work is going to be less at risk from automation and machines. Because it’s an evolving process the whole time there is no it’s not a cookie-cutter type of exercise.
So ask yourself this is the creative work that you do. Is it pre-determined and unalterable once it gets started? If it is, then it’s more highly likely that the job could be automated, that creative work can be automated. But if the work that you do is more tailor-made, is more customized is more personalized, then that’s a more defendable, creative job.