Finance or Marketing Major? Consider Switching Now.

If you’re anything like me, job security is extremely important. The chance of having my job removed because of factors I cannot control definitely worries me. However, the reality has become that change is the only constant.

There has been a lot of talk of Artificial Intelligence recently. For those of you that don’t know what this is, Artificial Intelligence is “the theory and development of computer systems able to perform tasks that normally require human intelligence, such as visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making, and translation between languages.” According to Forbes, robotics are not just replacing blue-collar jobs that have a set pattern and are thus easy to automate. In fact, jobs in marketing, finance, law and even medicine are in some way or another having some kind of help from Artificial Intelligence and robotics.

Here’s a video of Baxter, a robot that can supposedly beat any human in a game of Connect Four.

This is the kind of learning we’re talking about – robots that are able to interpret their surroundings and are able to perform tasks better than humans can. Whether it’s Baxter, Watson on Jeopardy, or even Siri on your iPhone, humans are going to be surrounded by robots who have computing power that goes far beyond what our brains can currently do.

However, given that I am a finance major at Boston College, I wanted to see what I could do to potentially protect myself from this change that is so inevitable. Here’s a short list of things to remember:

AI is New

It seems like these changes are so scary mainly because we’re being inundated with technology that common people may not have foreseen around 10 years ago. However, it’s important to keep in mind that this technology is nascent. It will take time for it to fully develop and actually have a disruptive impact on the sector that you’re currently working in. As humans, we are skeptical to give most (and definitely not all) of our control over to artificial intelligence. On that note, things like artificial intelligence will have a much more potent impact on lower skilled jobs first. Although I outlined some more white collar jobs earlier in this article, it will definitely take more time for robotics to be able to outpace humans as those jobs require some more complex problem solving.

Get Some (Soft) Skills

On that note, it’s important to note that robots are great at doing normal tasks that can be automated. However, tasks like communication and client relationship management are amongst the host of tasks that robots are still, for lack of better terms, fairly bad at completing to the level humans. Although one would intuitively believe that getting hard skills will be the way to “defeat” these robots, soft skills are going to be some key strengths to put on your resume. With the emergence of robots, don’t be shocked if there’s some sort of increase in the wage gap. Why? It will become increasingly difficult for those that do not have the skills to surpass robots and artificial intelligence to get new jobs. On the other hand, those that do have jobs will be able to afford commodities that used to be made by humans at a much cheaper price. Competition amongst these companies will lower prices for consumers, allowing the “haves” to increase their own wealth while the “hane nots” struggle to get by.

Educate Yourself

It’s going to be critical for the next generation to educate themselves in tasks that are very different from what we focused on as we grew up. Computer science and a large focus on technology are going to be critical for new students to remain competitive in this ever changing world. Whether the education system reforms itself or parents hold the responsibility to make their kids attain new skills, the next generation will have to adapt. However, education won’t just come from the classroom. It’s not like people will be completely replaced by robots. Those that can learn about new technologies and learn to work with them will also be successful in new technological markets.

It’ll All Be Okay

Like I started off by saying in this article, change is the only constant. This is also true of those jobs that seem to be more secure. At the end of the day, we should look at artificial intelligence and robotics as a method to that will cause job transformation, not job replacement. Computers will still need to be created by humans and continuing to improve these robots will be a part of human existence in the future.

Although the future of Artificial Intelligence is unknown and is still heatedly debated amongst some great thinkers, the kind of AI we are talking about has already come. It’ll only improve with time as processes become more efficient and overall cheaper. AI is still new, and there’s a lot to be excited for in the future.

10 comments

  1. Austin Ellis · ·

    Interesting topic. As both a marketing and finance major, I figured I needed to give this a read. It really is impressive seeing what has transpired over just a few years, with IBM’s Watson and Baxter that you meantion. Robots aren’t just automating factories or cleaning floors anymore, they can drive trucks, or even more impressive, assist in financial advising and such. I think the future of many of careers these industries will be in learning how to use these technologies to gain new insights and provide better advice.

  2. Your suggestion: Get some soft skills.

    This sounds analogous to Prof Kane’s advice to companies: Develop a culture to support change and collaboration.

    Public speaking, sales, psychology, courses and real world experience, whether as an employee or volunteer, working on teams, selling, truly knowing one’s self (emotions, strengths, weaknesses) , mediating disputes …. these are the skills of emotional intelligence that Danial Goleman says will differentiate and distinguish the future leaders.

  3. rohansuwarna · ·

    Great post! I completely agree that AI is a new sort of Creative Destruction that is affecting all industries. However, if financial service companies and banks can prepare and adjust prior to AI’s shift into this field I feel like more jobs will be secured. However, I do think that with AI the way financial service companies work on M&A’s and transactions will change. The construction of models and pitches will certainly be made easier. As you said the wage gap will be a major factor in this change and I feel like many analysts will be surprised by their wage decrease as well.

  4. adawsisys · ·

    Nice post. AI is likely to take over many entry level jobs in the future. As people become more senior within their companies relationships seem to matter much more. It will be interesting to see how talent is developed and retained if entry level human employees are not a necessity, but more senior employes are. Like you discussed the the post this will certainly lead to an increase in the wage gap.

  5. Nice post. AI is an extremely interesting part of the economy that will be extremely important as we move to the future. Analytics as well, will be a big part of this. I think big data along with AI working in combination has a chance to do some real good for this country. As i have witnessed working in banking, people are losing touch with stocks, the future lies on analyzing huge data sets and breaking them down into feasible amounts, which has lead to higher returns. Cool post and hope to read again soon.

  6. holdthemayo4653 · ·

    It’s true that eventually AI will impact almost every job. Robots might not be as good but its hard to imagine a job that they could do at least “satisfactory”. The section you discuss soft skills is very interesting. In the workplace I’ve found these are the hardest to learn and the characteristic that all successful/respected managers and senior leaders possess. I studied finance in undergrad and have decided to focus all my MBA classes on non-technical skills and soft skills. No matter what your area of focus is I think you hit a ceiling if you apply different ways of thinking. Neither a marketing person who can’t grasp the economics of the business or a finance person who can’t explain results to the sales team will be the next leader of the company.

  7. Great post. Looking forward to the presentation!

  8. Artificial Intelligence is also pioneering in the medical field as well. In a recent study at the North Carolina School of Medicine, Watson recommended the same treatment plans as real life doctors 99% of the time and found treatment options that doctors missed in 30% of the cases. http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/17/technology/ibm-is-counting-on-its-bet-on-watson-and-paying-big-money-for-it.html The ability to instantly analyze millions of bodies of information much more efficiently than a human could analyze a substantially lesser amount of info definitely gives it an edge but I do believe it will benefit us in the long run.

  9. Really enjoyed reading this! I agree that soft skills and an understanding of technology are crucial for all disciplines going forward. That is the Maine reason I am focusing my MBA electives to take more tech business classes here at BC. Being able to work with machines to produce quality work is going to be essential if I’m going to continue progressing in my career.

  10. Really great post! I think you hit multiple points that must be addressed in the debate for or against artificial intelligence going forward. What do you think about automated jobs in the future when AI is at the level to replace blue collar workers? Is it an ethical dilemma for companies to decide whether to hire humans instead of AI or is it something that the government should stop and stifle? If that is the case, where do you draw the line at stopping innovation versus saving jobs that would only be saved to employee people, not out of efficiency / growth?

%d bloggers like this: