In Flow: The Mura Blog

Will You Be Automated or Will You Invent Shipwrecks?

June 27, 2017

With the advent and popularity of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and solutions based on it, there's been a lot of discussion about which jobs will be replaced by increasingly intelligent technology. Previous jobs were eaten by the information age, and that gave birth to what? The Knowledge Worker.

At MuraCon 2017, the Content Marketing Institute's Robert Rose made this point clear:

"That's where we are today--the knowledge worker. That's what we all are theoretically, whether we're in marketing, content practitioners, or developers. We're all knowledge workers. We're building off of the knowledge of what we do, and the cycle continues. We're working through a new cycle, as we develop technology…

If you're doing something that can be automated — writing press releases, writing news releases — in fact, people doing coding, doing template after template after template. Those are things that will ultimately be automated and created and computerized."

Fortunately, the news is not all bad and there are reasons why many jobs will not ever be replaced. In fact, much of the technology we use from Content Management, Content Personalization, Applications and MarTech need a human to ensure success.

Rose underscored this point in referencing French cultural-ist, sociologist, philosopher, Paul Virilio:

Did you guys know that the shipwreck is an invention? You invent the plane. You invent the plane crash. You invent the ship. You inevitably invent the shipwreck. You invent a Ben Affleck, you get Batman versus Superman. It's just inevitable. You're going to get these kinds of things happening.

"Did you guys know that the shipwreck is an invention? The shipwreck is an invention, so is the plane crash, by the way. The plane crash, the shipwreck—these are both inventions...When technology invades culture—when we have technology that comes into the culture--we have to realize that when we invent the technology, we inevitably invent the disaster resulting from the technology. You invent the plane. You invent the plane crash. You invent the ship. You inevitably invent the shipwreck. You invent a Ben Affleck, you get Batman versus Superman. It's just inevitable. You're going to get these kinds of things happening."

And that fact, is why and how we can inoculate ourselves against automation. Because the truth is, Rose explains, the ones that can't be automated are "the people who are bringing and synthesizing different skills together. Call them the artists, if you like. Call them creative, if you like. I like to call them inventors. They're inventing new things. That's the thing that the machine cannot do—cannot really do...I'll contend that the knowledge workers' days are over, that we are moving into a new era, whether we are a developer and a coder. Whether we're a marketer or a content practitioner, we are moving into a different era, one where wisdom work will become the way that we differentiate in our career."

Robert Rose is not the only one who has come to this conclusion. NPR created a calculator you can check out to see if a job will be replaced by a computer, based on research by Oxford University.

If you play with it a little, you'll find that there are some jobs that have a high probability of being replaced—and some that don't. The ones that don't, are exactly the ones that Rose describes above, the ones that require creativity and wisdom; the ones that look forward, as opposed to the rear view mirror; the ones that innately understand context:

  • Commercial and Industrial Designers
  • Writers and Authors
  • Interior Designers
  • Music Directors and Composers
  • Nuclear Engineers
  • Biomedical Engineers
  • Civil Engineers

The list goes on.


Rose finishes the MuraCon keynote with this:

"Your job is to go out and invent shipwrecks, because when you invent shipwrecks, you inevitably invent the ship. When you invent the plane crash, it's because you've invented the plane. Believe in it. You have to believe in that ability for you to do the invention, because that's the way we will propel ourselves forward."

And that's the difference between the Knowledge Worker and the Wisdom Worker. Will you invent the shipwreck or will you be automated?

Watch Robert's Keynote


About the Author

Sean Schroeder

CCO of Blue River and co-founder of the Mura Platform, former Graphic Designer/Front-End Developer and confessed app junkie,  Sean is currently consumed with Business Storytelling, Content Strategy and Creating Content-Driven Experiences..