Future of Work 2021: The only way to beat the bots from taking your job is to be more human

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Future of Work 2021: The only way to beat the bots from taking your job is to be more human
Image by kiquebg from Pixabay
  • A PwC report predicts that 30% of the jobs will be automated by the mid-2030s.
  • However, Ronnie Screwvala believes that saying that bots are going to replace humans is rather a simplistic way of seeing things.
  • The key is to make oneself into a 360 degree person, armoured by both soft and hard skills, he noted.
We have been warned for many years that technology will take over the world in decades to come and most of our jobs will become redundant. It’s definitely a scary thought, isn’t it? Well, serial entrepreneur and founder of a billion dollar edtech company Ronnie Screwvala has a slightly different take on it.

In a conversation with Business Insider during its Future of Work event, Screwvala noted that the world is in the fourth era of industrial revolution and many things are bound to change. However, he is of the opinion that saying that “bots are going to replace the workforce is rather a simplistic way of seeing things”.

The jobs of tomorrow would lay emphasis on soft skills of an individual as hard skills can easily be managed by technology.

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“When everyone says that you’re unemployable, it’s not because you don’t have the knowledge base. It’s because you don’t know what to do with that knowledge, you can’t communicate with that knowledge, you can’t collaborate with that knowledge… If you want to solve our employment problems today, people will have to be substantially entrepreneurial driven.”

— Ronnie Screwvala, serial entrepreneur and chief executive of upGrad, said in Business Insider’s Future of Work event.

If you are not able to communicate, analyse, participate — it is going to be very difficult for the information age, he added. The key is to make oneself into a “360 degree person”, armoured by both soft and hard skills.


A few examples of soft skills include critical thinking, complex problem-solving, resilience, flexibility, creativity, originality, initiative and emotional intelligence.

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Ashutosh Garg, founder and chief executive (CEO) of artificial intelligence-powered talent management company eightfold.ai, also attended Business Insider’s Future of Work event. He noted that there are multiple aspects to saying whether automation is going to replace humans in their jobs.

The first of those aspects is whether artificial intelligence (AI) is ready for it. According to Garg, AI is not developed enough to be at that stage, however it has the potential of getting there in the future. Again, some jobs may have to work in alignment with this deeptech technology.

“I can put it on autopilot and be feasibly comfortable. So things are improving a lot. Now let's take sales as an example. I'm trying to hire a salesperson, I will start evaluating this person based on their emotional touch. Are they going to be able to close the deal or not, can they negotiate with the buyer or not?” he noted.

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According to a PwC report which estimates that 40% of jobs can be automated in the next 15 years, digital and softer skills are going to be the demand of the new age businesses. In 2017, Deloitte also reported that "soft skill-intensive occupations will account for two-thirds of all jobs by 2030."

According to a blogpost by Sweden-based HR-tech platform MuchSkills, the new age technologies — like artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) or robotics — can automate a number of human tasks, they will not be able to replicate emotional, social and cognitive skills imbibed by humans.

“Between 1980 and 2012, jobs requiring high levels of social interaction grew by nearly 12 percentage points as a share of the US labour force. Math-intensive but less social jobs – including many STEM occupations – shrank by 3.3 percentage points over the same period,” wrote David J Deming in a paper titled The Growing Importance Of Social Skills In The Labor Market.

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Prior to this, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi had emphasised that AI is not going to take away jobs, but would be a talent and force multiplier.

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