The idea of robots in the workplace used to be something only found in the realms of science fiction movies. Even then, many of these machines worked in low-skill ‘blue-collar’ professions so, for those audience members who dared to dream, the idea of a robot taking jobs was—similar to the film itself—just fiction.
This is no longer the case.
The BBC has reported that 800 million jobs will be replaced by robots by 2030. Although this is a global figure, it’s predicted that nations such as the United States, Germany and the UK will be worst affected.
Although those in the media may believe their roles secure, it’s estimated that marketing associate professionals stand a 33% chance of having their job automated. Moreover, this stat was also true for those working as advertising accounts managers and creative directors.
Conventional wisdom has generally dictated that those working in “creative” fields were safe from robotic automation. However, with artificial intelligence developing at a rapid rate, marketers are clearly not as safe as they used to be.
How emotional intelligence can save your job
If history has taught us one thing, it’s that technological progress cannot be resisted. Robots will eventually become commonplace in our offices so now is the time to ensure you’re not left behind. To do this, you should improve your emotional intelligence (EQ).
EQ represents a person’s capacity to control, be aware of, and express their own emotions—as well as adequately react to the emotions of others. Although many would feel this is something everyone possesses, we have all had dealings with those lacking in EQ – sometimes every day.
From the campaign manager obsessed with statistics who frequently refers to people as “users,” to the secretary who is completely ambivalent to your personal circumstances, people with low emotional intelligence are actually often very robotic themselves.
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Robots can do numerous jobs better than humans but anything which requires emotion is out of their reach. Consequently, skilled negotiators, great listeners, and practiced orators have very little to fear from artificial intelligence. Ironically, those who lack emotional intelligence–and are almost robotic themselves—stand the highest chance of being replaced with a machine.
How can I cultivate my own emotional intelligence?
Unfortunately, improving your own emotional intelligence is not something which can be completed overnight. Similar to how you can’t tell someone to be more sympathetic, it is a fundamental personality shift which often takes months before changes come into effect.
Although there are online courses out there which offer to help applicants improve their emotional intelligence, the most important thing you can do is start acting on a daily level. For example, in interactions with colleagues, examine how each conversation unfolded.
In this situation, assess your strengths and weaknesses. For example, perhaps you are able to sympathise with a co-worker’s needs but were unable to negotiate a suitable conclusion. Furthermore, at the supermarket, do you treat your cashier like a person or an instrument which just processes your order?
If this answer is the latter, it might be time to reflect on your own emotional intelligence.
By identifying your strengths and weaknesses, and working on them, you should be well on the way to improving your emotional intelligence. Furthermore, as an added bonus, EQ is an essential skill in helping convert customers.
Can robots do jobs which require emotions?
At the moment, it seems very unlikely that machines will ever be able to replicate and use human emotions. Having said that, technology is advancing at an astonishing rate. Just over a decade ago, for instance, smartphones and high-speed Internet were almost alien concepts.
Therefore, it isn’t inconceivable that a robot could one day start exhibiting realistic emotions. However, if this situation develops, the world of work will be fundamentally changed. After all, if a machine starts demanding a salary or recognition for work, it will create a profound ethical conundrum with no simple answers.
Therefore, worrying if a robot can exhibit emotions is another—completely different—problem. Instead, focus on the now, improve your emotional intelligence and become a great leader, learn to negotiate, and empathise with your fellow man.
As well as securing your future, it’ll help you become a better person as well.
Tom Chapman is a publishing specialist at CandidSky.