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  • Writer's pictureChristoph Burkhardt

Are you in charge or your AI?

Updated: Feb 1, 2019

Work in the Age of #AI - what to #control before it controls you. If you don't take charge someone else will. And in the very near future, this someone will be a #machine.

While the #gig economy has already taken over some industries, from #crowdsourced mobility solutions such as Uber and Lyft to freelancing #platforms like Upworks every service that can be split into parts and performed by private people rather than employees of some company will be transformed. The simple reason is economics. It is efficient to do this and the companies launching those platforms use our underprepared legal systems to gather enormous traction and market capitalization.

For the individual in regular #employment conditions these changes seem to have little effect but this is going to change soon. With the rise of AI driven business cases across all industries we will see a massive demand for talent in handling these #technologies. Rather than distribution of work in more efficient ways, AI relies on #augmenting humans to be more efficient. The potential is so expansive that there is little doubt it will affect even those knowledge workers who feel safe in their routine corporate environment jobs. Thus it will be crucial to look at what the rise of AI will do to our jobs whether we join the gig economy workforce or not.

Four changes will make a tremendous difference if we implement them right away and do not wait until we will be forced to change:

Control your #environment or it will control you

Being able to work from anywhere in the world, a cafe, a shared office or on a plane does not only require technological setups that support the work you do. Much more than that it requires commitment and resilience to deal with changing environments while still being productive. Self sufficiency and high productivity under stress and pressure are crucial to the survival of mobile work environments. Getting rid of bad habits is crucial to the success of any knowledge worker working with AI as a tool.

Control your #agenda or it will control you.

Flexibility in doing whatever whenever requires an ability to prioritize on the spot, to protect one’s own agenda and schedule, to not let anyone call for last minute meetings. It is so important in the age of AI to be able to set targets and timeframes according to whatever makes you succeed. Controlling when you work, how you work and with whom you work will lead you to make the most of what you bring to the table. You will automatically gravitate towards tasks and environments in which you perform your best.

Control your #revenue or it will control you.

It is not enough to have great ideas, turn them into products, sell them and be happy. No matter the industry or company there will be no way around the fact that you are part of running a business. Knowing how to take care of cash flow and profits for growth today is left to a few with expertise in accounting and finance. Not in the age of AI. The tools to organize a business are all there, they are cheap, and they replace for many expensive accountants, tax advisors and lawyers. Your job is to grow a business to a point where the inexpensive solutions are not enough anymore and you require the expertise of human advisors. Even if you work in a large corporation you will not get around acquiring the skills of an entrepreneur to make your case and justify your costs.

Control your #relationships or they will control you.

You need alliances outside formal hierarchies. This is no secret. Extraordinarily successful corporate careers always rely on mentors, great relationships within the industry, popularity in the right circles and charisma. Being selective about who to surround yourself with has plenty of scientific support. You become the people you are with, you learn from and the people you ask for advice. Entrepreneurs know that nothing is more important than a good team. You need a good team. If you work in a corporate environment do not rely on any formal team setup to elevate yourself. Behind the scenes you need to build your own team. This team ideally spans across diverse divisions and sometimes even company boundaries and industries.


Read more about the rise of smart machines and how they fundamentally change how we live and work. To get ready for the Age of AI check out Christoph Burkhardt’s new book “Don’t Be a Robot - Seven Survival Strategies in the Age of Artificial Intelligence”.

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