I changed my mind about losing my job to Artificial Intelligence! Here’s why…

Shruti Mahadevan
8 min readAug 19, 2021


Jobs lost. Livelihoods destroyed — the impact of COVID-19 continues to be felt like a ricochet shot. The WEF estimates that 114 million people lost their jobs in 2020.

For the longest time, this situation caused me sleepless nights. In my short career so far, I have been an HR cum marketing specialist, and now a freelance content creator. In one of my part-time roles, I was asked to read articles and papers about COVID-19’s impact on learning and skills. Today I will be telling you what I have learned and why it doesn’t bother me anymore.

The future of work has already arrived (And we can’t avoid it anymore) 🤖

When James Cameron wrote the script for the multimillion-dollar franchise, The Terminator, he created more than a film — he painted a dystopian picture of what would happen if AI and machines were to take control of the world. Although we may not be around to witness it, signs of it can already be seen (Siri and Alexa are the best examples)

The future of work has arrived Job destruction and displacement will create the new jobs of tomorrow, with The WEF estimating that “By 2025, 85 million jobs may be displaced by a shift in the division of labor between humans and machines, while 97 million new roles may emerge that are more adapted to the new division of labor between humans, machines and algorithms, across the 15 industries and 26 economies”.

The future job landscape looks something like this

An infographic by the WEF showing the job landscape for 2025

Your skills are your Bitcoin 💰

Have you ever wondered if there is something more valuable than Bitcoin? It’s your skills, skills which help you become better at what you do every day. COVID-19 has forced businesses to hasten their digital transformation. And this has irreversibly changed the definition of talent and skilling.

In the words of Pravin Rao (CEO of Infosys) — “We have a talent famine (i.e.) A situation where there is a mismatch between the skill needs of the current landscape and the talent pool available”. The skills learned in a traditional college degree are irrelevant by the time a student graduates. And organizations are focused on the individual's specific skill sets, mindset, and behavior. The result? A serious skill shortage and a yawning talent gap.

These are the top 10 skills of 2025

An infographic by the WEF showing the top skills needed for 2025

I thought I finished learning in college! The story of the boiling frog 🏆

Let me tell you a story. If a frog is placed in a pot of boiling water, it will jump out to save itself. But if the same frog is placed in a pot of cold water that is slowly heated, it will not realize the situation it is in and will eventually cook to death. This story is an urban myth, but it is the state of affairs when it comes to the current scenario of our education system.

In previous centuries, education was a privilege and means of rising in society. As education became compulsory and more people got access to it, a decline in quality was inevitable. In the previous industrial revolutions, it took decades for educational systems, training systems, and labor market institutions to adapt to the skill requirements of the larger economy.

Regretfully, the education system we have today is still focused on the skills of a different time. Like a frog boiling to death in a watery grave, traditional education continues to emphasize IQ with rote learning, memorization, and standardization as the norm. Upcoming technologies are already replacing these skills and the jobs associated with them.

Recently the Chairman of NASSCOM U B Pravin Rao, addressing outgoing students at an online graduation ceremony pointed out “the shelf-life of skills is becoming short, two to three years. People need to unlearn, learn new stuff and therefore commit to lifelong learning”.

So let’s summarize what we have learned so far

  • The twin forces of the fourth revolution and the pandemic have accelerated the arrival of the Future of Work and has created skill and talent gaps
  • The current education system is not equipped to fill this gap as colleges and universities simply cannot produce enough graduates to meet industry needs.
  • The lifespan of skills is reducing. According to one popular estimate, nearly 50% of subject knowledge acquired during the first year of a four-year technical degree is outdated by the time students graduate.
  • The rapid changes in digital space create a perpetual skill gap in the industry, making reskilling and upskilling a necessity.

Why am I not scared of AI taking over my Job!

☑I have a secret kill-switch 🙊

“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.” — Dale Carnegie.

Never have truer words been spoken. There is no point in fearing that a machine will take over my job. A machine cannot take over a job — it can change it, modify it, but the job won’t completely disappear. Developing self-awareness and the curiosity to learn new things is the best antidote for doubt and fear. Be smart like Dilbert and have a backup plan ( a kill-switch).

What’s my kill-switch? Constant learning and I don’t mean courses.

Courses are great and I learned about writing through an online MOOC with Coursera. One thing I have come to realize is that courses are great if you have all the time in the world. I realized that there is never going to be time to learn, dedicated time that I can put aside.

My solution? I micro-learn, I listen to a podcast or a short youtube video, I subscribe to newsletters, blogs that come to my mailbox, I read the top stories in the newspaper, and summaries of books. And I learn from other people on my network through their social media posts.

☑A machine will always need a human expert 👨‍🎓

A machine is created by and for humans as a time-saving tool, not to replace humans. As Computer scientist Elizabeth Holm points out

“Machines are great at handling things, like large amounts of data, but machines still need an expert, a human, to analyze the data, set parameters, and guide decisions,” said Holm.

☑A machine is not intelligent (in the real sense of the word) 💡

What is intelligence? Is it the ability to calculate 10 numbers in your head or scoring 100 percentile in an aptitude test? Not really. Intelligence is much more complex than that.

Human intelligence is a combination of multiple factors — genes, evolution, external/internal environment, and most importantly the ability to see meaning and context.

Human intelligence is (and continues to be) responsible for some of the greatest miracles and inventions that have changed the course of history. The idea that a machine could replace it, is not something I can imagine.

☑A machine can only imitate emotions, it cannot create it 🎭

Human emotions are a different ball game. The ability to feel and express emotions is what makes us who we are. A machine may be able to imitate human emotions, but it can never feel them. How does an emotion get communicated, if it is not felt by the person who is expressing it?

As a content creator, I am on the constant lookout for stories — stories that inspire me to take action. Can a machine tell a story like our grandparents or our mentors or our teachers? Not really. A story is essentially a human endeavor and no machine can successfully replace a human’s role in it.

☑A machine is not perfect, it makes mistakes too (and you need a human to correct them) 💩

As a content creator and writer, I use a number of tools including AI-based writing tools. And I can tell you right now, they are a great help, but they cannot be relied on. They are not error-free and I have noticed that the tool(s) doesn’t always understand the context of the sentence I have written. This is where human intelligence trumps artificial intelligence.

This is why I have stopped stressing about AI taking over my job (and you should as well) 💪

As my friend and fellow copywriter Deb says: “ Machines can churn out words, but they can’t help a business owner figure out their branding or content strategy, help them think about their objectives, or celebrate with them when it all goes fabulously well”.

🗨️ What are your thoughts?

🤖Do you think Artificial intelligence will take away jobs or create new ones?

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Shruti Mahadevan

A freelance content writer and storyteller