Career Innovation: The robots are (still) coming!

Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) is often perceived as a threat to jobs, or at least a large-scale disrupter of daily working life. What are the latest predictions, and how should professionals – and professional bodies – respond?

In this blog Jonathan Winter – CEO at The Career Innovation Company – encourages us to view automation as an opportunity more than a threat, discusses the role of membership bodies, and offers three steps to future-proof your career.

WebSeven professional bodies recently gathered at one of our ‘Virtual Roundtables’. To my surprise, automation was on everyone’s lips – genuinely high on the agenda. Perhaps I shouldn’t have been surprised: In January, A.I. and digitisation was also the focus of CEOs at Davos[1]. In diverse industries, digital disruption is shaking the roots.

Forecasts vary, but sometimes when the experts disagree on the detail it is best to focus on the big picture consensus, and on what has already become a concrete reality. Few would argue that automation of routine tasks comes first, and today the focus is less on whole jobs lost than on digitising the routine within everyone’s work. It’s a good news bad news story: You may not lose your job, but – for sure – your job will change.

Take radiologists, for example. In the US, the FDA approved the first cloud-based deep leCareer Innovation robotarning algorithm for cardiac imaging in 2017. Medical imaging startup Arterys reads MRIs of the heart and measures blood flow through its ventricles. The process usually takes a human 30 minutes or more. Arterys can do it in 15 seconds[2].

This kind of disruption doesn’t put radiologists out of a job. But it does put radiologists who know nothing about AI out of a job. In all professions, it has become essential to keep up. Unfortunately, judging by the comments round the table on our recent call, most professional bodies feel their members are not yet taking this seriously. Nor are they sure how best to help.

It’s not just about A.I.

Technology disruption is coming from more than one direction. As well as A.I., according to Professor Leslie Willcocks (in an interview with ACAS[3]), technology disruption is coming from:

  • Social media
  • Mobile analytics
  • Cloud computing
  • Blockchain
  • Robotics
  • Automation of knowledge work
  • Internet of things
  • Digital fabrication

Professional bodies who observe emerging technologies, new skills gaps, and an ageing workforce can take action by providing new generation career support to equip people for the future, and re-shape the out-of-date career models that persist. Career ladders have been replaced by ‘lattices’ in many fields, and it is only by changing these models that diverse talent can be attracted, retained and developed.

CI robot table 2

Membership bodies are uniquely placed to help people futureproof their career with a combination of new technical knowledge, agile career skills, and a first-class network.

The Career Innovation Company works with membership organisations worldwide, putting in place large-scale online support for professional and career development. Their flagship services and Be Bold in your Career empower members to develop their careers within their professional community.

For help on creating career strategies, online career development courses, tools and resources, please go to, or connect with us @careerinnovator or LinkedIn.





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