Introduction: From the book Beat the Robots

This piece is part of the book Beat the Robots.

This is call for a better life. Yes, a call for your better life.

Maybe you feel the world is on a path of self-destruction. Maybe you think nothing can be done to save it from our own creations.

Maybe you have been fired from a job you liked, from a job you thought would give you the same level of security that your parents had. You thought that if you worked hard enough and dedicated your time to that job, you would be safe. But there isn’t a safe job anymore. The world is changing so fast that the elements you believed were permanent are now shadows from a glorious past.

Until the year 2000, working for a company was the safest, most stable path. Worries about the bills, mortgage, student loans, and a 401k have always been there, but the level of uncertainty regarding finding and keeping a great job is much higher today.

Just walk around the neighborhood—yes, walking is important—walk through the city, and see the places that were booming a decade ago but have now changed.

Talking with your friends, you heard stories of their daily life, full of struggle to find a great job, or at least a decent job.

You have to work hard, two or three shifts a day, because your student loans aren’t waiting for you to have a better job. They are at the top of the drawer looking at you, asking when you are going to pay them. You know it will become worse as soon as your kids attend college or a university.

Even universities are not the same as they were a couple of decades ago. Now they offer thousands of new ways to graduate. You have heard that the Ivy League schools are offering online courses.

Are those courses the same quality as the physical ones?

Are those courses expensive?

Would those courses offer you the skills to find a better job?

Are they simply an illusion, part of a world too good to be true?

They say the world is full of illusions. Some people call it “the Matrix.” Others believe that it is all in our mind. Blind people see the world in a different way. What is the correct way to see it?

A 4.0 GPA, the aim for perfection—would that be enough to find a better job?

Is the educational system preparing for robots taking our jobs?

What if you don’t have a 4.0?

Are you relegated to second tier jobs—or even unemployment?

If you check your photos from prom and find the king and queen, and you remember what the shining stars of high school were supposed to achieve—compare those expectations to the reality today. Is there a correlation between higher GPA and a better job?

Is Peter, the guy that was the class nerd and editor of the school newspaper, experiencing the most fulfillment in his career?

Or were those expectations also creating an illusion?

Maybe in the past life worked that way—study hard, get great grades, find the dream job.

Is there such thing as a dream job in your America?

Some authors recommend following your passion because that’s what will ignite your soul. Others suggest finding a vision and working towards it all of our lives.

Steve Jobs was passionate about was oriental music, but he never pursued that passion more than as a hobby. He had a mission and worked for it. But at what point did he realize what his true mission was? If Jobs found his vision when he founded Apple at age 21, that puts pressure on you to find your “mission“ now or ten years ago—or even twenty years ago. What if you haven’t found it?

Colonel Sanders was 65 when he knew he had to pursue his passion for making the best chicken and thankfully launched KFC.

David Duffield was 65 when he launches Peoplesoft and then sold it to Oracle for $10.3 billion dollars.

Evan Williams was 37 when he launched Twitter.

Those stories are awesome, but they feel like a movie, two hours where everything passes quickly and turns out well. They meet, they act, they suffer, they find the light of the end of the tunnel.

What about your life?

What light are you looking for?

What is your tunnel? The one on 14th Street that you take to get to yoga class?

Are you looking for the tunnel of life?

But it is our whole life? Or it is the representation of a dark moment?

Do we go through several tunnels?

Are several lights?

The final light will be at the end…

But what do you need to cross each tunnel?

What do you need to have a brighter future?

What knowledge is required now and in the next ten years to have a better job?

Skills, skills and skills. Everyone talks about them. But, what are they really?

Have you been fired recently?

Was because you did something wrong?

Perhaps your job was outsourced to the Vietnamese or some robots in your neighborhood.

Maybe you haven’t been fired (yet) but you know someone who worked in a factory and now he’s out of work because the assembly line was mechanized.

Maybe you read it on the nightly news that robots will steal your job.

You think you’re safe for a few more years, but are you sure they would not come tomorrow to replace you?

Maybe you believe you are secure place in your office, organizing information on the computer.

But your employer is always seeking the faster, cheaper option.

Maybe you feel secure knowing that the job at McDonald’s will always be there. But the day will come when robots will bring your favorite double burger with extra cheese and they will not forget the chips.

Maybe you think that buying and selling stocks is the diamond of jobs and requires human attention, but how do you know a robot will not be faster and more accurate, recognizing a trend and announcing the precise selling price after a news announcement made via Twitter a second ago?

Maybe Terminator isn’t the one destroying your world, and maybe it would not be Robocop defending your rights, and maybe it would not be Hal 9000 driving your train (thankfully).

But each time you read your favorite blog, talk to your friends, or check the news, you are beginning to see a new path: robots are coming. Not to exterminate you (let’s hope Elon Musk is wrong), but to replace you in the workforce.

The question is, are you going to wake up one day and find out that you don’t have that dream job for which you fought very hard because a robot has taken it from you.

That robot will be that perfect worker that your boss has always dreamed of: it is reliable, doesn’t get sick, doesn’t have children, will not ask for a pay increase, doesn’t sleep, will always follow instructions, is concentrated 100% on its job, is loyal.

Think about this: You are sitting in a waiting room. You have passed all the exams, three interviews, and a set of psychological tests. You are waiting for the decision on who will get the position of coordinator. You look to your left, and there it is: a robot. It has not checked its phone in the last hour. It just sits, ever patient. How is that possible? you think. Aren’t some lines of work exempt from robots? But what you should be thinking is, how will you beat him?

Let’s beat the robots.

Spoiler alert: Robots can be beaten by you because you are a human (unless you are a robot who is reading this book trying to find out how to prevent us from doing so). But our world wasn’t designed to be run by our creations. Our world, our lives belong to us, the humans (unless some aliens make contact and in that moment we would have to join forces with the robots to avoid the extinction of the human race).

If the “perfect“ robot is going to take your job, how are you going to beat him?

If you enjoyed you can purchase the book from March 1, 2017 on Amazon. Also register to the newsletter to have exclusive access to the audio series of Beat the Robots.