Lean Into These AI-Proof Skills in Westchester’s Job Landscape

A Westchester business owner shares how to stay ahead during the AI boom.

With artificial intelligence encroaching on multiple professions, more and more people are asking themselves which skills are beyond AI’s reach – at least for now. 

The past few years have been dominated by rapid tech advancements thanks to the AI boom, which led to the workforce undergoing a seismic shift. For every task, people wonder, “Can AI do that?” AI can handle mundane tasks, allowing room for other efficiencies and an overall boost in productivity thanks to an increase in delegation to the bots. That being said, AI certainly can’t do it all.

AI-Proof Skills

Distinctly human traits are invaluable, especially within the modern workforce. For example, soft skills, which are those intangible qualities that enable us to connect, empathize, and innovate, remain beyond the reach of even the most sophisticated AI. Those soft skills can set workers apart in an increasingly automated world. 

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Workers can also go beyond AI by choosing a different industry entirely that requires labor done by humans, like trade skills. 

Whether you are navigating your career, managing a team, or simply seeking to understand the future of work, it’s important to get a sense of the top AI-proof skills right now. We spoke to Sherry Bruck, Brand Strategist & Creative Director at the White Plains-based Harquin Creative Group, to learn more. 

She says one of the easiest routes to being AI-proof is choosing a job function or skill that will always require that human touch. Healthcare, she says, is extremely AI-proof. Every function from nurses and doctors to physical therapists requires hands-on treatment and bedside care that a bot cannot currently replace. 

Similar to healthcare, personal service roles are promising in a time when we are inundated with technology. That might include personal trainers, hair stylists, event planners, or entrepreneurs. 

Other jobs, in the creative world specifically, she says are a little more vulnerable. “Some of the low-hanging fruit creative tasks can be done with AI, like designing a logo,” she shares.

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What AI can’t do is use critical thinking skills or have the ability to assess whether that logo is a part of the overall brand strategy. That’s where those soft skills come in. 

“People who are strategists, do critical thinking, and really assess something are still considered to be AI-proof,” says Bruck. “You need to be a lifelong learner.”

Adapting With the Times

It’s hard to say for certain which roles will be AI-proof, with change happening faster in shorter periods. But we have gone through technological advancements before, and it’s something that we will go through again.

“When the Mac came on the scene in the ’80s, all of a sudden those different jobs – typesetter jobs, color separators, film strippers, printing press operators, photo retouchers, editors – all of those jobs collapsed into a designer role because we are using Adobe Illustrator and InDesign and Photoshop,” notes Bruck. “My job as a designer now would have probably been 10 to 15 people’s jobs back in the ’80s.”

That’s why the core skill of being open to learning is crucial. “A lot of people are not used to that,” says Bruck. 

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“You can’t think you’re going to learn some skills, have a job description lay everything out for you in black and white exactly what the job entails, and that will be what’s written in stone,” notes Bruck. “It’s going to be a really hard thing for people to realize that.”

The first step? Don’t be afraid of AI. Bruck suggests doing the research, talking to people in the profession you’re interested in to get a pulse on what’s coming down the pike, and welcoming change.

“You’re just not going to be able to go to school and count on the fact that you got your degree and think that it’ll still be good to go in five years,” says Bruck. “Nobody really knows the full extent of where this is all going.”

Related: What Does the Future of Business Look Like in Westchester?

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