How worried are you about AI replacing you?
Many people are worried about losing their livelihoods to the fast-approaching robot invasion. Many people are right to be worried.
However, there’s a way to be robot-resistant. You can prosper in the age of AI - assuming you take this advice seriously.
Is this article genuine?
First of all, most advice on this topic is written by people trying to ride the SEO wave, not actually trying to convey a message of any importance. Some advice on this topic is written by AI, which is hilarious if you think about it.
It’s harder than ever to find genuine, well-meaning knowledge on the internet. With the influx of AI-generated content, it’s about to become a lot harder still. Now, I’m not claiming to be an old wise man, but at least everything I say is built on real experience and focused on helping you prosper.
Which brings me to my point.
Searching for Steve Jobs
Have you listened to the interview that Joe Rogan did with Steve Jobs? The interview is, of course, 100% AI-generated. At points, it is quite convincing. You can sense that sophisticated, impatient snark that Jobs brought to interviews. The difference is, the real Jobs talked with purpose. The AI version is a superficial mashup of data points, spiced up with conjecture.
What, then, can the viewer gain from it? Entertainment and, for Jobs fans, a bit of nostalgia. There is no news, no wit, and definitely no new Apple.
It’s like a bad photo of the Mona Lisa. No matter how advanced AI becomes, it will never be the original. It may eventually become a high-res photo, but a photo nonetheless. Not even a replica. A photo.
AI is an actor
The interview only exists because Steve Jobs was who he was, did the things he did, and did them publicly enough so as to allow AI to mimic him now.
It’s the same reason a movie was made about Steve Jobs.
And that’s the core of the matter: AI is an actor. A highly versatile actor that can train itself to impersonate anyone or anything, but an actor nonetheless. And therein lies the answer:
If you are an actor, AI will out-act you any day of the week. Your goal should be to become the person that actors portray. Become the object of research rather than the researcher.
Be Steve Jobs
Not literally. Not at that level. But to become AI-proof, you must do remarkable things. It’s that simple. When someone asks AI a question, let the AI search through your accomplishments for an answer.
AI can do a lot of things but it can’t live life. If you ask AI to tell you a story about building a startup, it will either tell you somebody’s real story or make up a fake one. The only way this jeopardizes your job is if your job is one of those things: making up stories or retelling other people’s stories.
I once built a fantasy sports game and ran it for a few years. There is nothing any robot can do to replace my expertise on what I lived for a few years as a founder.
Deals happen in private
People will tell you a lot of things in private that they wouldn’t say publicly. Guess what this means? All such data is inaccessible to AI.
AI operates on publicly available data. The most valuable data in the world isn’t publicly available. Think about all the business meetings, diplomacy, and chatter that happens offline. There’s still a whole world out there and you can’t just scrape it. You have to live in it to prosper in it.
Focusing on consuming public data makes you a competitor to AI. You cannot possibly compete with a supercomputer at a consumption game, let alone at drawing connections between various datasets.
What you can do is get in touch with a prospect and sell them your products or services. Or walk over to your local coworking office and have a casual chat with a couple of entrepreneurs. Even a casual coffee chat with a friend is an opportunity if you move in the right circles.
What about freelancing?
As a freelancer, I’m not worried about AI taking my job.
How could it? My job involves solving problems, thinking pragmatically, communicating, and executing. AI might become a helpful tool, but a competitor it is not.
Now, if I were selling something that can be auto-generated based on widely available data, I’d be worried. AI and no-code tools mean that a lot of such tasks will soon be routinely performed by non-technical personnel. The solution? Don’t do anything of the sort.
If you’re a freelance writer, focus on unique perspectives and interviews. But, most of all, draw from your experience. If you focus on generic landing page copy, you’re gonna find yourself out of a job.
If you’re a freelance web developer, focus on personalized services, custom solutions, and soft skills. Carpenters weren’t replaced by Ikea. You won’t be replaced by AI.
If you write coding tutorials based on the documentation of a programming language, forget about it. If you write tutorials about your experience building software in the wild, you don't have a problem.
What about writing online?
I remember a time when writing content for humans was supposed to die because everyone was gaming SEO. Keyword stuffing was supposed to flood Google with garbage content to the point where quality content could never get found.
What happened? Google adapted. They started penalizing keyword stuffing (and many other SEO hacks) and prioritizing quality content.
Does it work perfectly? No. Does it tell us what’s gonna happen to AI-generated content? Yes. Auto-generated content is going to get detected and penalized. Quality human-centric content will be more valuable than ever. Especially since a large number of bloggers will chicken out and quit.
I'm not saying AI has no place in writing. It can be a magnificent tool that helps with structure, phrasing, vocabulary, and editing. But the core ideas have to come from the writer if the piece is to have any impact.
And, once again, Steve Jobs
Entrepreneurship isn’t going anywhere. If you start a company, AI isn’t going to start a competitor. At worst, a competitor will use it as a tool. But nothing’s stopping you from doing the same thing. Just make sure the thing that AI does for you isn’t the core of what you’re offering, or you will soon have a million competitors.
Beware of hype. Use AI only where it’s useful. Don’t try to stuff it into every aspect of your business. Leverage it as needed to help the human element shine.
“Think differently” is soon going to mean “don’t rely on AI for everything, especially those things that AI sucks at”.