What Can Humans Do Better Than Bots?
I’ve written a lot about how bots can undertake all those mundane, routine, boring tasks that humans hate. And you might have begun to think that bots are going to take all our work in the next few years. In fact there have been a lot of scare stories in the media on this topic. So What Skills Bots Can’t Replace?
The media stories aren’t based on facts. These stories are just that ….. Stories. Usually they are stories designed to sell newspapers, magazines and other media.
What Tasks Are Bots Really Bad At?
Let’s start by considering what bots can’t do.
Well first off they can’t compete with humans in human competitions. What’s the point of a bot trying to run faster or jump higher than a human? None. Competitions between humans will only ever make sense if all the competitors are human.
Bots aren’t alive so forget about things that need human emotions. They can’t comfort the sick, feel empathy with a child when their pet dies or offer bereavement counselling. In fact they can’t really offer any form of counselling, coaching or mentoring beyond the very basic training or assessment sessions that are rote. As soon as human nature is involved they are useless.
Then there’s cost. In many cases it will be too expensive to get a bot to undertake really complex work. Sure they can fly a plane in fog but when it comes to an emergency it needs human experience and intuition as much as dumb obedience.
Bots Versus Miracles
Do you remember the “Miracle on the Hudson”? It was made into a film starring Tom Hanks. US Airways Flight 1549 was three minute into a flight when it hit a flock of Canada Geese over New York. Capt Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger had moments to make a decision that would decide whether a fully loaded plane would crash into the city.
Could a bot handle this?
They lack the thousands of hours of experience the pilots had acquired. They also lacked the ability to consider all the parameters needed to make an incredibly complex decision. In theory this could be programmed into a bot but in practice it is next to impossible.
Pilot and co-pilot cut power and the plane glided into the Hudson river.
There were 155 passengers and crew on board and all were rescued by nearby boats. There were few serious injuries.
The safest jobs in future will coalesce around complex systems that are too complex or expensive to automate.
Skills Bots Can’t Replace: Creative Versus Bots
In theory a bot could have carved the original of works like Rodin’s “The Thinker” or painted the Mona Lisa. But they would need programming by a human that had conceived the idea of these works of art.
Bots can’t think at that conceptual level.
Skills Bots Can’t Replace; More Things Bots Can’t Do
Over the next months I’ll keep adding other things that bots can’t do. My current list stands at over 100 .. and most are very generic. Bots don’t pose a threat to humans. They can liberate us from drudgery, but key human interaction stuff is safe forever.