Good morning. This is working theology.
Well, contrary to my own estimates, robots are in fact pretty good with language. If you don’t know, I’m a content strategist at a marketing agency by day. Unfortunately for me, an artificial intelligence program at JPMorgan Chase has created marketing copy that outperformed human copywriters.
Here’s the context from Quartz.
In another sign that the future of work is already here, JPMorgan Chase has signed a five-year deal with a software startup that uses artificial intelligence to write marketing copy, following a successful pilot with the technology.
In tests, JPMorgan Chase found that Persado’s machine-learning tool crafted better ad copy than its own writers could muster, as measured by the higher click rates—more than double in some case—on digital ads for Chase cards and mortgages. In one such matchup, an ad written by a human read, “Access cash from the equity in your home.” The more successful version, from Persado, read, “It’s true—You can unlock cash from the equity in your home.”
“Persado’s technology is incredibly promising,” Kristin Lemkau, chief marketing officer at JPMorgan Chase, said in a statement. “It rewrote copy and headlines that a marketer, using subjective judgment and their experience, likely wouldn’t have. And they worked.”
I’m not alone in job displacement. Millions and millions of jobs will be lost because of increasingly sophisticated machines doing the work we used to do. Economists at Bain estimate 20–25% of jobs will be displaced by 2030, with US investments in automation increasing to nearly $8 trillion.
To be clear, I’m a firm believer that technology creates as many jobs as it destroys. For example, there weren’t jobs for iOS engineers or data scientists twenty years ago. Further, we shouldn’t be so critical of automation, since we’re not mad that fridges replaced the milk man or cars replaced the carriage driver.
Throughout history societies have had to grapple with how machines replace human work, but it’s important to note two things.
First, machines always win. The laws of economics are against us: We’re expensive, frail, frustrating creatures, and machines simply do a lot of work better than we do. This won’t bode well for many jobs in the future.
Second, some jobs cannot be automated—at least not yet—and we were all made with unique skills to fit within the economy somehow, somewhere.
Who will go first?
In a July report from the McKinsey Global Institute called “The Future of Work in America,” researchers estimated how many of which type of jobs would be eliminated over the coming decade thanks to automation. It turns out that office work is the most automatable.
But look in the lower left corner. There are some jobs that are simply too, well, human.
Those workers skilled in the arts, education, and healthcare have the lowest likelihood of displacement. These sectors need other humans to do what machines can’t—to care for other humans, and to teach them what it means to be human. You might say that the work of the future will be increasingly more human-centric after we’ve automated the rest.
Charts like these serve as reminders that we all serve a purpose, whether that’s in software engineering, financial management, mothering, or oil and gas. Some are more likely to be automated than others, but we all have to wrestle with our identities in our work and the purpose we serve.
We all serve a purpose.
The apostle Paul wrote to help us with this. In ancient Corinth, the church was divided over job roles, especially over how God had created each person with unique gifts in his economy. Some regarded their gifts as superior to others. So, in his first letter to the Corinthians, Paul chided the church, saying that we all have a role to play in the grand scheme of things.
For in fact the body is not a single member, but many. If the foot says, “Since I am not a hand, I am not part of the body,” it does not lose its membership in the body because of that. And if the ear says, “Since I am not an eye, I am not part of the body,” it does not lose its membership in the body because of that. If the whole body were an eye, what part would do the hearing? If the whole were an ear, what part would exercise the sense of smell? But as a matter of fact, God has placed each of the members in the body just as he decided. If they were all the same member, where would the body be? So now there are many members, but one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, “I do not need you,” nor in turn can the head say to the foot, “I do not need you.” On the contrary, those members that seem to be weaker are essential, and those members we consider less honorable we clothe with greater honor, and our unpresentable members are clothed with dignity, but our presentable members do not need this. Instead, God has blended together the body, giving greater honor to the lesser member, so that there may be no division in the body, but the members may have mutual concern for one another. If one member suffers, everyone suffers with it. If a member is honored, all rejoice with it.
Even if your work can be automated like mine, remember today that your talents and personality are unique, that we all work together as part of a whole community, a whole economy.
In short, we all need each other.
Thanks for reading.