Generation AI: The Rise of The Resilient Entrepreneur
Scholar and entrepreneur Katerina Thomas PhD offers her insights on why you need to invest in your well-being, emotional resilience and creativity to be able to survive and thrive in the age of artificial intelligence (AI).
In Generation AI: The Rise of the Resilient Entrepreneur, she uses insights garnered from nearly 15 years of professional work as a tertiary educator and her experience as a businesswoman to argue for the importance of creativity, personal resiliency and entrepreneurship skills as a path to staying relevant in the age of intelligent algorithmic systems.
We are moving to a more digitised, AI-driven world, and keeping up with the pace of change will put additional pressures on our mental health.
What’s clear is that there will be winners but most likely many more losers – not just among low- and middle-skilled workers but also among high-skilled professions.
Companies will use algorithmic intelligent machines to search for emotionally resilient and creative ‘superstars’.
However, there is no guarantee that newly created jobs will remain unaffected as AI technology gains momentum.
Why I wrote this book
14 Chapters, 153 Pages
In 2017, as a researcher with experience of running two businesses, I was asked to present an introductory talk at Global Entrepreneurship Week on a topic of my choice.
I didn’t know what to present at first, but I ultimately chose to speak about automation and its effect on jobs.
A few years earlier, I had travelled to Malta as a researcher to learn how to bridge education and the skills demands of the workplace, and I was aware of the central importance of the topic of automation and how employers’ requirements in this area were not being fulfilled by providers of education.
What I have learned since has not only changed my perception of education but also opened my mind to what the future might hold.
In my professional life, I have given talks to undergraduate and postgraduate students, managers, corporate clients and educators on the topics of strategy, creativity, entrepreneurship and innovation.
But my talk on the meaning of disruptive technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and the future of jobs generated a lot of questions and interest that day.
‘Are robots really coming for my job?’ participants asked.
The answer is evident.
Corporations around the world have been automating their business, technology by technology, process by process.
Rapid advances in robotics, Big Data and AI have begun disrupting entire industries and technology, with obvious effects on jobs and people.
Lured by the prospect of sizeable productivity gains, these ‘smart’ companies have been accelerating the adoption of intelligent algorithms.
The media has long warned that robots and AI would replace millions of workers around the world, and the UN has projected that robots will destabilise the world.
Lethal autonomous weapons threaten to become the third revolution in warfare.
In addition, the late Professor Stephen Hawking warned that AI will prove to be ‘either the best or the worst thing ever to happen to humanity’ and we may become the victims of an extinction-level catastrophe.
A report by the International Bar Association (IBA) claims that if jobs were under threat from breakthroughs in AI and robotics, then one way to protect jobs would be to force governments to legislate for quotas of human workers.
Gerlind Wisskirchen, IBA Global Employment Institute vice-chair for multinationals, points out that ‘jobs at all levels in society presently undertaken by humans are at risk of being reassigned to robots or AI, and the legislation once in place to protect the rights of human workers may be no longer fit for purpose’.
There is something unpleasant, even unsettling, about sci-fi books and movies that resemble our reality.
We are more comfortable watching dystopian, futuristic sci-fi that depicts a fantastical society, such as in Blade Runner or Ready Player One, because we can view it through a mental lens or filter.
We are okay with it exactly because it shows us a dystopian future.
I don’t have a crystal ball, but I see one possible future – a future without a meaningful job for many people.
And this troubles me because people need meaningful work to have a sense of fulfilment and purpose in life.
A meaningful job or occupation can provide people with a psychological sense of well-being and identity.
While some optimists claim that AI will create more jobs than it destroys, it seems to me that they are misleading us.
And the price we’ll pay for being so short-sighted is very high indeed.
Throughout my professional life as an academic and entrepreneur, I’ve gained insights into what technology adoption really means for folks like you and me – and this is something you need to consider.
Will you remain a fulfilled member of society and an individual with purpose in a world overrun by robots and AI?
My rationale for writing the book you are holding now is to provide a concise but comprehensive research-based outline of the challenges we’re facing.
It is my hope that this book will help you to understand the far-reaching consequences of AI’s disruption for your life and the lives of your children.
But why do we need another book on the subject of AI? And who will read it?
This book is not for a techy elite.
It is for ordinary folks who want to get ready for the unemployment tsunami we are about to face.
It’s a modest attempt to provide a balanced account of what AI means for you and your family, and what you can do about it.
The insights I offer are gleaned from my own research as well as from books, scientific papers, and governmental and industry reports, and from talking to leaders in academia and industry.
The book draws on questions raised by educators on the importance of creativity and creative problem-solving and soft skills in general.
The education sector today is in crisis and is not fit for purpose.
There are three main reasons why this is true. First, it kills curiosity and creativity in kids.
Second, it fails to recognise the importance of cultivating an entrepreneurial spirit.
And third, it can’t keep up with the pace of technological change.
Who is to blame?
Preparing young people for challenges and professions that don’t yet or won’t exist remains a challenge.
Yet, many educators agree that the education system, with its outcome-based agenda and standardised approach, is outdated, backward-looking and soon to be obsolete.
In this age of transformational technological change, we are providing spoon-fed education backed up by behavioural scientific pedagogy, which teaches students to focus on getting a reward rather than understanding the big picture.
This is crushing students’ instinct to learn through curiosity, exploration and an entrepreneurial spirit.
Today, intelligent algorithms are able to drive cars and trucks, and they can defeat human champions in chess, Scrabble and Go.
They can take orders, sell food, cook, teach classes, advise doctors on symptoms and treatments for particular diseases, deliver packages, inspect offshore oil rigs, write political speeches and act as police officers.
AI systems will have a transformational effect on people’s ways of living and working, and on their value systems.
Today, it has become apparent that we need to rethink our approach to education and how we acquire skills.
As I am writing this introduction, the digital colleague Amelia, created by IPsoft (www.ipsoft.com) using a powerful conversational AI technology, is allowing organisations to make the transition to a new way of doing business.
Driverless technology has reached some of the neighbourhoods of London, and Elon Musk’s ventures include flying cars and turning humans into interplanetary travellers using brain implants with AI technology.
The world is changing, and these disruptive and unpredictable forces are here to stay.
No doubt, there is an exciting future ahead.
New technologies will solve large portions of our environmental challenges, prevent tens of thousands of deaths each year, save millions of hours in productivity gains and create new industries we can’t currently imagine.
But there is a dark side to AI’s adoption too.
As we move to a more digitised, AI-driven world, there will be additional pressures on our mental health and well-being as we strive to keep up with the pace of change.
Today, more and more children and adults alike are diagnosed with psychiatric ‘illnesses’, the solution to which is deemed to be ever more drugs.
As we move into the post-pandemic era, we are likely to see a worsening of this trend.
The big issue is not whether the robots are coming – because they are – but whether we are prepared for it.
This book will equip you with a better understanding of the effect of AI on jobs, society and life in general.
It will also reveal why you need to start thinking entrepreneurially to stay relevant and have a meaningful life.
Finally, it will divulge what skills you will need to ride the entrepreneurial wave.
The intent of this book is to interpret future scenarios and present alternative paths.
My hope is that it will give you the courage to be brave and make a change, no matter how big and scary it is, because if you do not you may be left behind by those who do.
You likely learned long ago that technological change is inevitable.
Advances in technology are the driver of change and global businesses are dictating the speed of technological innovation.
But what you are unlikely to have learned is that you can adapt to ride this wave of technological disruption today and thereby avoid becoming an irrelevant human in the age of intelligent machines.
AI will prove to be ‘either the best or the worst thing ever to happen to humanity’
What People Are Saying.
“This book is so excellent, so empowering, so practical and so useful that I couldn’t put it down. I am reading it for the second time and I thought it will be a short process but I kept getting wonderfully swept away into practising all the amazing processes. With each process, I gained fresh insight and inspiration and felt new understandings clicking into place. This book contains a lot of inspiration and perspectives, some that I need reminders of and others that are completely new to me. I’m so glad I obtained this because I love the reflective journey it led me through. Reading it every morning is the best way to start off the day and it reminds me over and over how the artificial intelligence is affecting my life. This is definitely a must-read! Thank you, Katerina, for sharing your wisdom”. See review on Goodreads.com
Guy Weatley rated
“This is an eye opening look at the coming societal change that is even now being brought on by advances in AI. It’s not a particularly encouraging look. The first third of the book has more technical detail and pointed out several platforms I was unaware of. The last two-thirds read like more of an inspiration talk, or warning of how to deal with the coming change. Technology has caused the loss of many specific jobs, but so far seems to create more jobs than it removes. People have to learn new skills and be versatile and resilient in order to stay in the workforce. Thomas doesn’t come right out and say it, but I certainly felt she is implying that this trend may not continue through this next workforce revolution. With AI now encroaching into very skilled jobs, medical, legal, and other jobs previously thought immune to automation, we may not all make it.” Read the full review on Goodreads.com
“Wow, just wow! Generation AI: The Rise of the Resilient Entrepreneur is excellent in so many levels. This is a book that has definitely taught me how to be successful in a rapidly changing world.
Katerina Thomas thinks that we must prepare for the big amount of unemployment that artificial intelligence (AI) is going to generate, by building emotional resilience and mental strength.
I couldn’t agree more with this author and I think that what makes her opinion so relevant is that she speaks from her own experience as a businesswoman.
I recommend this book not only for people who want to keep their jobs but also for those who want to know more about how AI is rapidly changing the work market!” See review on Goodreads.com
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