7 Skills That Will Never Be Automated

Woman building robot


Leah Thomas
Leah Thomas866
April 13, 2024 at 7:29AM UTC

We see technology replacing workers everywhere. Cash registers. Fast food restaurants. Grocery stores. You get the picture.

As automation becomes more and more prominent in our society and our workplaces, we wonder where and when it'll end. Can machines replace all human workers? Are they capable of taking over positions in finance departments or journalists in newsrooms? While technology may seem to be taking over the world, some say it won’t (and can’t) completely run us out of our jobs.

Technology researchers and experts Adam J. Gustein and John Sviokla wrote in Harvard Business Review exactly why humans will never be completely replaced. And thankfully, they listed the skills computers can never learn.

1. Communication

While there have been attempts at automated communication, none have been truly successful, and Gustein and Sviokla believe none will ever be. In order to effectively communicate the stories of the world, the news, the hard facts supported by experts, as well as data and science, real people must be in charge. With automated news stories and coverage, there is always a risk of falsehoods and a lack of human interpretation. And businesses know this. Improve your communication skills to make yourself irreplaceable.

2. Content

With automated content, we miss out on the personal knowledge and appreciation that a person can bring to a particular subject. Also, simply Googling a topic is no match to a person’s professional experience in a field. The two researchers believe your personal experiences and knowledge will get you further in writing and journalism than a robot ever could. Now Twitter ruining the industry is another story...

3. Context

According to Gustein and Sviokla, automated systems are bad at recognizing context. Truly understanding and grasping a company’s business model, its competition, its clients, its partners, its business model, its leadership, as well as his/her leadership style is something a computer cannot replicate. Having this type of contextual knowledge makes you invaluable. 

4. Emotional Competence

Machines are also incapable of understanding and processing emotion. And research has found that the most important factor behind executive decisions is emotion. Also, a certain importance lies in being able to understand others’ emotions, as well as play to them as a persuasion tactic. According to Gustein and Sviokla, emotional competence will never be replicated via technology.

5. Teaching

Although technology has changed the ways we teach, machines will truly never be able to replace the human act of helping others learn. To teach a new employee the necessary skills to be successful in a position, one must truly understand A) how the company works and B) how the human mind learns. And the experts say machines are incapable of genuinely grasping both concepts.

6. Connections

Connections allow for personal business ties and company growth that wouldn’t be possible otherwise. Machines are not capable of forming a strong (or loose) connection with other business-owners or prominent businesswomen. But you are. And that’s important, according to Gustein and Sviokla.

7. An ethical compass

Machines will forever be incapable of making moral judgments, according to Gustein and Sviokla. There is no algorithm for navigating an important ethical dilemma. And thank goodness, because as you can image, that could be very problematic. Your strong moral values as a human being are some of the greatest strengths you can bring to a company (as long as you aren't a robot). 

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