By John Sonmez September 21, 2017

Will You Lose Your Job To AI?

Recently, a reader emailed me about how much he was concerned about a recent layoff in Indie due to AI.

The threat of an India layoff due to AI has raised a lot of questions. AI is indeed progressing at a rapid pace and while at this time the jobs that are being replaced are low-skilled, it does raise some questions.

Will programmers lose their jobs to AI? How to survive in this not-so-secure landscape?

Watch this video and find out!

Transcript Of The Video

John Sonmez: 

Hey, what's up? John Sonmez here from simpleprogrammer.com. Tired of pushy recruiters sending you LinkedIn requests for jobs you have no interest in? Tired of blasting out resumes into the dark? If so, you should check out Hired.com. Hired.com flips job searching on its head by having top employers like Facebook come to you after you fill out one simple application. You also get your own job coach to help you on your next job search. If you haven't checked it out, I highly recommend you at least fill out the application. Just go to Hired.com/simpleprogrammer. When you get hired with Hired, you'll get double the normal sign-on bonus for using that link.

I got a question about automation and AI, but it's not really about that. It's more about being afraid of the future, which is something that—this is a reoccurring theme that I found from a lot of software developers. I did some videos on AI in which—Is AI coming to take my job and all this. I think I did a couple of videos because this is a reoccurring theme, but I'm going to do another one here from a little bit of a different angle just because this is—it's such a fear. I'm surprised that this is such a fear.

This is from Anita and he says, “In India, one company fired 6K employees then another company fired 9K employees due to automation and AI. I'm worried about my future as a software developer. Can you please suggest how I should look at this situation positively and keep going forward? Whatever we are learning today will turn to a value zero tomorrow due to change in technology. Which technology should I learn to make a secure future? Currently, I'm working on Java technology. Please advise.”

Here's what I got to say. All right. I heard a really powerful thing from someone I highly respect. I was at a Tony Robbins Seminar as I've changed a lot of how I present myself and how I think about life from that moment forward. I mean I think you could see a drastic change in my life. He said something—I've talked about this a lot of times, but I'll say it again, because it's so powerful. He said, “The quality of your life is in direct proportion to the amount of uncertainty you can comfortably live with.”

What I realize at that point when I heard them say that was that my entire life was built around creating certainty. It was built around creating an impenetrable fortress, so no one could hurt me so I could secure my future and nothing bad could happen. That took all the joy out of life. It really did and I was really sealing myself into my own coffin. You could say, right? Impenetrable coffin. No one can get to me, but I can't get out either, and there's so little value left in my life and joy when I do that because the future has to be uncertain. Right?

You could spend a lot of time and a lot of effort trying to secure yourself a good future and I'm not saying being an idiot. I'm not saying being stupid. I'm not saying don't like think ahead and make wise decisions. Right? I'm all about delayed gratification and long-term decision making. My life is in some way based on that, you could say, but you can't be driven by fear and you have to be willing to embrace whatever comes, even though you do your—I mean you train for the battle, but you're willing to go into it. You don't train just for the sake of training. You train for the battle but you're willing to realize that despite your training, despite whatever plan that you have as—what is it? Mike Tyson says, “Everyone's got a plan until they get punched in the face.” All right? You're going to get punched in the face. Don't try and avoid getting—you can't be a boxer in the boxing ring and your strategy is “I'm never going to get punched.” That's a bad strategy. It's a horrible strategy. It's a horrible way to live your life. That's how I was trying to live my life and that's what you're telling me you want to do here right now. You're like, “Hey, John. Tell me what technology that I can invest in that is future proof. Tell me what thing is going to make us so I'm never get laid off in my life, so that I'm always secure so that there's never a problem.” I don’t know. I can't tell you.

Even if I did, right? I mean what would that—is that really valuable to you? You might think it is, but no. If you knew for certain that you're going to get a certain paycheck for the rest of your life and never have to worry again, it seems like a great thing but there will be no excitement. There will be no joy. There will be no variability in that and you would actually end up losing some of the value of life.

What can I say here? This si my best wisdom on this that I will tell you. Plan for the future, but do that by making yourself adaptable as much as possible. Focus—if you're going to learn things, teach yourself how to learn. I've got a course on how to teach yourself how to learn. It's called 10 Steps to Learn Anything Quickly. You can check it out here. That's one thing that you could do, is prepare yourself for the future by—you don’t have to buy my course, but make sure you are adaptable. Make sure that you are the kind of person that can roll with the punches, that knows how to adapt, that focuses on the higher level principles and is able to learn things quickly, is able to grasp concepts quickly, is able to jump into things that—new things and be comfortable being uncomfortable. Focus on that. That's number one.

Two, focus on what is obviously long-term investments in your future, delayed gratification type of things. Have some money saved up. Right? I did this video on not being in a squeeze. All right? Avoiding a squeeze situation. It's about having some backup, having some buffer. Okay? That's really important. Make wise financial decisions. Make wise decisions for the future. Make investments that will help you that will give you a buffer that will sort of buff at you against the waves of life and fortune, so that mild misfortunes do not wreck you. Okay? You can't control the earthquakes and the hurricanes of life, those will happen. What you don’t want to have happened is that you have a mild bump in the sidewalk and it causes you to knock your teeth out and lose and to go on this whole chain reaction of bad things. Give yourself the buffer that you can. Don't build an entire fortress around you like I was trying to do, but be smart about that.

Then the third thing is just to say just embrace change and embrace the future, and whatever comes comes. You know, I've decided to live my life in such a way that I'm going to do what I'm going to do and I'm going to just deal with the consequences, and that's—it's about—it's living life. Anything other than that is not living life. It's denying reality. If you deny reality, you're living somewhere else. Live here and here you can't control fate. You can't control what's ultimately going to happen. You just got to accept it and that's what I would say.

As far as the job, as far technology, as far as AI taking over things, yeah. Maybe. I don’t know what will happen. There's no guarantee in technology. If you're doing the three things I described above, you will survive and you will thrive while other people are scrambling, while other people are trying to put the bricks back in their wall, while other people are trying to build themselves security when there is no security. Right? Those are things that are going to give you the inner security that is going to give you the inner strength, that's going to really make you strong and make it so you don't care what happens. You're going to adapt to whatever situation occurs because you can't predict against this stuff.

I can't tell you. I can't tell you if AI is going to make your job disappear. What I can tell you is there are always going to be jobs and there's always going to be people that are valuable because they contribute because they figure out the way—they look at the current market, the current landscape and they figure out how to create value for other people within that. That's what you have to be not the kind of person that tries to predict the future because that—those people, a few of them are right but most of them are wrong.

All right? Hope that helps you. If you have a question for me, you can email me at john@simpleprogrammer.com and I'll talk to you next time. Take care.

About the author

John Sonmez

John Sonmez is the founder of Simple Programmer and a life coach for software developers. He is the best selling author of the book "Soft Skills: The Software Developer's Life Manual."