You know those doomsday reports about how machines are going to put us all out of work?

They’re wrong.

Make no mistake; those machines are redefining our profession. Artificial intelligence and cognitive learning technologies can crunch the numbers faster and more accurately than we can ever hope to — and they don’t have to stop to eat or sleep. That has huge implications for any IT professionals.

But it doesn’t mean we’re suddenly going to be unemployable.

Let’s start with this:

Those of us being disrupted by new technologies tend to see machines as job killers without considering the fact that those same technologies are creating many new jobs at the same time — or at least creating the need for new jobs that machines can’t do themselves.

And let’s face it, the stuff that machines can currently do probably isn’t the stuff we want to spend a lot of time doing anyway. If your job can be automated, your job is probably boring. Letting the robots do those things frees us up to do more important, value-added work.

People still believe professional judgement and expertise is not replaceable by machines, have you ever met a machine with courage and empathy, one that can read body language and adjust what they say? While we’re going to digest larger volumes of data and information, the key is to use artificial intelligence to augment what the human does…using these technologies to augment human intelligence and find the insights in the data is more important than ever.

To remain relevant in the Age of Automation, IT pros must be fluent in so-called “soft” skills like strategic and critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and anticipation.

Most important, our future relevancy depends on our ability to learn new skills on the fly — to adapt quickly to new and emerging technologies and position ourselves to do the things for our clients that those new technologies can’t do. Not long ago, we could count on our degrees and on-the-job experience to carry us for decades and build our careers.

Not anymore.

By some estimates, half of what graduates learn in their first year of university will be obsolete by the time they graduate — and many of them will end up in jobs that didn’t exist when they started university.

The most important skill we’ll possess going forward is the ability to learn new skills, and learn them quickly. Like everything else in the age of accelerations, securing and holding a job requires dynamic stability — you need to keep pedalling all the time. Today, you have to know more, you have to update what you know more and you have to do more creative things with it, that recursive loop really defines work and learning today.

That loop requires us to ask a few key questions: What can I become quite good at that’s really difficult for a computer to do one day soon? How can I become so resilient, so human and such a linchpin that shifts in technology won’t be able to catch up? It was always important, but now it’s urgent and necessary.

Automation is going to happen whether you like it or not. The question is, what are you going to do about it?