It recently dawned on me, that from an outsider’s perspective, my professional life might seem like a contradiction at the worst, ironic at the least.
That’s because while I work for a robotics company, my personal belief is that to be human is to work. And I love to work.
Unless you’ve been living off the grid for the past 24 months, you know the narrative. Robots will take ALL the jobs away. Or at least the majority of them. That mantra has spun off dozens of wild and not-so-wild ideas – from the need to tax robots’ “wages” and the call for introducing guaranteed basic income to fear that robots will take away more than work – they will take away what it means to be human.
Well, I can tell you with a pretty high degree of confidence, that it’s not quite that simple. There are so very many things that we do that cannot be replicated by or programmed into a robot.
More than the technical challenges related to making a machine into a person, though, I believe that work is essential to being human. Having a purpose is possibly the most important driver to get up every day. Building something. Solving a problem. Making right something that is wrong. The list goes on and on.
I’ve worked in large, multi-national corporations with hundreds of people on my team and at start-ups with just a few dozen. The job descriptions, roles and responsibilities varied, of course. The reasons, rewards and measures of success were different, too. What remained – and still remains – is that regardless of what I was doing the work gave me a chance to lead, learn, grow, influence and contribute to something larger than myself. Why would I ever give that up?