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So, A.I. is taking over the world? Why I am not worried (yet).

When you get to my age, you amass countless frames of reference for life. I’ve lived a lot, seen a lot and have been able to observe the consequences of many technological ‘revolutions’, as I call them.

Think about the tech revolutions of the past 30 years, including the internet, mobile phones (then smartphones), and social media. Each one of these revolutions changed the world as we knew it at the time, and each brought a sense of foreboding and uncertainty. What is this new thing? What do we do with it? And, more personally, am I going to lose my job?

In the mid-90s, I remember cars driving around with yellow bumper stickers which read, “I have joined the World Wide Web”. We were asking each other, “What is the World Wide Web? Is it a cult?! In those early days, the internet was shrouded in mystery and – to a certain degree – fear.

After leaving high school, I did a photolithography apprenticeship. The best way to describe photolithography is that it was part of the printing trade and provided the “pre-press” service that we have today, except that everything was done by hand using light tables, large sheets of photographic film and rubylith, and a massive amount of time. I worked on publications such as The Listener, New Zealand Woman’s Weekly, and Reader’s Digest.

In 1993, Apple Macs were introduced into the photolithography trade in New Zealand, revolutionising our pre-press industry overnight. Wilson & Horton (NZ Herald) owned our small company, and – being a behemoth of a corporation – they quickly introduced these expensive, time-saving Mac devices. Staff members were invited to train to use the Macs, and (as I was not enjoying my apprenticeship) I was one of the first to put my hand up to learn. Fortunately, I did, as ‘photolithography’ was as dead and obsolete as a dodo within five years. Apple Macs obliterated our world as we knew it, and those who had steadfastly refused to retrain were out of a job. Apple Macs opened up a new life for me, and I moved from pre-press to graphic design, which became my career for the next ten years.

Is A.I. an unknown quantity? Yes, it is. Will A.I. mean people will lose their jobs? If historical tech revolutions are anything to go by, then yes, that is precisely what will happen. Should we be afraid? Yes, but only if you are unwilling to embrace the change.

Fear is a debilitating disease, but fear of the unknown has an easy remedy – make it known. I encourage you to learn all you can about A.I. and start to live in that world, even just a little bit.

At Journey Digital, where I work as our Head of People & Culture, we fully embrace A.I. because we know that it will be a game-changer for the world…a tech revolution…and we refuse to be left behind. Every member of our team, no matter what role they have (technical or otherwise), has been given a challenge: how can we use A.I. to save one hour of our time each week? We then meet to share our experiences and inspiration and help each other learn and demystify this crazy new world.

Am I worried about A.I.? No, I am excited! As with any tech revolution, there will be issues to work through – security, compliance, privacy. There will be new mindsets to adopt, and we will have to say goodbye to some of our old ways of thinking and working. For those of you who dare to make the A.I. leap, it could be a game-changer for your career!


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