The robots are coming. I am not talking about Terminators, Voltron, Johnny 5 or even Bender. I have a different definition of what a robot is and how they relate to our economy. My definition : Automated technology that replaces or significantly impacts jobs previously performed by humans. The robots are all around us… and they are coming for your job.

Some of my favorite robots:

  • The printing press – displaced scribes.
  • The inkjet printer – displaced printing press workers.
  • The 3D printer – soon to displace manufacturing jobs.
  • The ATM – displaced bank tellers.
  • Sunpass – displaced toll booth workers.
  • Flobee – displaced barbers (or at least tried to).
  • Netflix – displaced rental store employees.
  • Yelp – displaced the concierge and food critics.
  • eSurance iPhone App – displaced insurance adjustors.
  • – displaced big box workers.
  • – displaced video editors

These are all incredible innovations, but one of the most intriguing robots out there is Amazon Mechanical Turk. It is a giant robot that displaces traditional human workers with crowdsourced human robots. It provides automation of workflow and distribution of specialized tasks, allowing companies to easily outsource jobs that would have previously been done by in-house labor. The companies who use Mechanical Turk don’t know who completes the task and they don’t care. It is just inputs and outputs.

This is not the Terminator scenario (yet). For the most part these robots are hardware and software designed to improve the world we live in and make businesses more efficient. But make no mistake – these robots are still deadly. One by one they are displacing jobs and automating tasks. You could be next.

Kill or Be Killed

The robots are constantly evolving. Every business model is a target and every jobs is on the line. You may think you are not at risk because you are an educated professional – you are dead wrong.

  • Ask my lawyer what he thinks about
  • Ask my doctor what he thinks about
  • Ask my designer he thinks about 99designs.
  • Ask my engineers what they think of eLance.
  • Ask a sales person what they think about e-commerce.

Robots and human robots are making things faster, cheeper and in many cases better. They are a huge factor in the global economy and effect hundreds of millions of jobs. They automate processes and replace millions of daily tasks previously performed by humans. They operate 24/7/365. They don’t eat. They don’t sleep. They are a tremendous threat to workers worldwide.

Even Bigger Opportunity

At the same time the robot economy is a huge opportunity. Robots are a product of innovation, which is both a job killer and a job creator. Those that innovate rule the world, those that do not innovate are doomed to be replaced by the robots.The jobs of the future are in robot creation and maintenance. Some might say there is a future in robot sales, but truth be told the best robots sell themselves.

Thriving in the Robot Economy

In order to succeed in the robot economy you require five things:

1. Creativity
This is your number one weapon in the robot economy. While robots can execute the tasks they are given, they don’t posses the creative skills and imagination of humans. People get tired of robots doing the same thing over and over again – they want to see something new. Your big crazy ideas are key… don’t stop dreaming!

2. Elegant Engineering
Most companies engineer for utility – but that is only 1/2 of the equation. Successful robots don’t just complete a task – they complete it with style and elegance. That is why Apple is currently the biggest company in the world. The robots they create are as sexy as they are useful.

 3. Speed
Robots move fast. If you want to surpass the current generation you need to move faster. You need to ideate, iterate and evolve. Remember, whatever robot you are building, someone else is trying to make a better one.
4. Teamwork
Robots are fast because they are able to perform several discreet tasks at the same time with precision. Those that are successful in the robot economy are able to do the same with their human resources.
5. Perseverance
Robots never tire. They complete the same tasks over and over again without compliant. If something fails they will retry to no end. You need the same dedication and perseverance in your own job.

Is this new world scary?

Hell yeah it is! But if you are reading this blog chances are you already know the robots are coming.

We are the visionaries. We destroy the old and create the new.We push the boundaries. We redefine what is possible. We don’t hate robots…. we love them. They touch our lives every day and we welcome the efficiencies they provide.

You have the skillsets you need to thrive in the robot economy… and help others by creating new jobs.

Go forth and create killer robots.

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Ted Murphy

Ted Murphy

Ted Murphy is an American entrepreneur. He is currently the Founder, Chairman, and Chief Executive Officer of IZEA, a technology company that provides software for influencer marketing.

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