Imagine yourself in five years: Will your boss become an algorithm?

I don’t have an answer to that. But workers in low wage jobs are seeing an increase in management by algorithm. From Axios:

Even the most vigilant supervisor can only watch over a few workers at one time. But now, increasingly cheap AI systems can monitor every employee in a store, at a call center or on a factory floor, flagging their failures in real time and learning from their triumphs to optimize an entire workforce.

Automating humans with AI

First, the phrase “optimize an entire workforce” should strike fear into employees across workplaces. Workers are human, they aren’t designed to be optimized. They need breaks, moments to reflect, engage, connect, and encouragement from humans. They need to be human. Optimizing strips human needs from humans. The term “optimizing” masks the brutality of it.

We’ve seen what’s happened to those working in the world’s most optimized workforce, Amazon, especially people working in warehouses and as delivery drivers. We don’t need more of it.

And yet leadership is proceeding ahead as if optimization is the holy grail of the workplace. Again from Axios:

How often is an employee going out to smoke a cigarette? How long a lunch are they taking? How long are they sitting in the lunchroom?” These are the questions clients want answered with AI software, says Kim Hartman, CEO of Surveillance Secure, a D.C.-area company that installs security systems.

Hartman says his company has put in video analytics for several area retailers and restaurants that wanted to monitor their employees’ productivity.

Employee surveillance isn’t just used to keep tabs on employees – it can also be used to discipline employees. This all happens first with low-wage workers because they have less power, and less ability to push back. It’s harder to fight the system when you can’t miss a paycheck. Once these automated systems are tested, integrated, tweaked and finessed – and they’ve collected enough data – leadership will move onto automating middle-wage jobs.

I wonder what’s going to happen to all the middle managers who oversee these workforces. Where will they go? Will they be laid off? Retrained to use AI software to manage their workforce? What is a middle manager to do at this point?

At every discussion of automating workers, I wonder why we never talk automating leadership. Here’s my proposal to push back: Automate the c-suite.

How to get a remote job (without freelancing or starting your own business)

The secret is out. Remote work is a damn good setup for workers. I’m on my third remote job. And I love it.

Remote work is all the rage right now for a simple reason: it makes the chaos of every day life a little more manageable.

It’s also good for your career.

It’s good for reducing stress.

It’s good for spending more time with people you care about.

I’m not the only one that thinks this. In the annual State of Remote Work survey, Buffer found that remote workers overwhelmingly were a content bunch:

In its State of Remote Work survey, social media management company Buffer found that 99 percent of remote workers would like to continue working remotely at least part of the time for the rest of their careers, and 95 percent would recommend it to others.

While headlines about robots taking our jobs dominate the future of work narrative, remote and flexible work is the future of work. Digital communication platforms, technology-savvy leadership, and new business models have created the infrastructure for remote work cultures and we’re not going back.

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Artificial intelligence, your career, and the job search

tl;dr: I dumped out all my thoughts on artificial intelligence, the future of work, and AI in the job search on Mac’s list career podcast.

We are living in the glory days of podcast content. I don’t even care that New York Times thinks we are at peak podcast, I am loving the variety and niche topics that podcast creators are delivering on a daily basis. There isn’t enough time in the day to listen to all the podcasts in my feed.

Right now I’m totally into season four of ZigZag podcast. The theme of redefining success resonates with me.

I’m late to this podcast series party, but I’m obsessed with Caliphate and the behind the scenes action of investigative journalism.

Having just wrote a quasi-self help book, I absolutely loved Unladylike’s How to Self Help Yourself episode, as well as How to Own your Talent with Ashely Nicole Black, as well as the hip hop Spotify playlist as a compliment to the episode, How to Be Da Baddest Bitch in Hip Hop.

And Innovation Hub shared a new perspective on how meritocracy is damaging our economy.

While I’ve been busy consuming all the podcasts, I’ve also been hosting my own tiny-but-mighty podcast for career changers and am busy guesting around on others. Most recently I jumped on the fabulous career podcast from the Pacific Northwest, Mac’s List.

I covered artificial intelligence in the job search and how new technology is reshaping our careers. I also tell you why the robots aren’t exactly taking over our jobs.

Give it a listen.