“Illustrated catalogue and general description of improved machine tools for working metal” (1899)
Machines can’t do anything they’re not told
When we fear they do it is because we don’t fully understand the math, and have given the machine too much autonomy.
That said, machine capabilities are exponential. More of what we all do is being passed on to robots.
A good exercise is to understand — in a deeper and more pragmatic way — what we do, and think about how our work could change in the future.
Write all of the tasks you do in your job. Things like answering calls, driving to meetings, balancing accounts, smiling to people coding websites
Think closely and methodically through each of these tasks, and answer: can this be broken down to a spreadsheet? If it can mark it with M (machine), otherwise mark it with H (human)
Group all of the tasks marked with H and write the description for a new role.
This is your new job
p.s. if you can’t break down your work into district roles, the machine would not be able to either — and you have nothing to worry about
p.p.s the true challenge here is honesty about step 2, which might mean that doing this exercise with another person could be more honest and effective