May 18, 2023 - Economy

Axios Finish Line: 6 new skills for 2025

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

With one kid in college, two soon heading there, and a staff full of ambitious, idealistic 20-somethings, I think a lot about what it'll take to thrive professionally in coming years.

  • Why it matters: Work and the world will operate much differently than today, as machines with humanlike capabilities turbocharge the already high velocity of change in our professions, companies and industries.

Countless tasks done by humans — from writing to diagnosing illness — will be enhanced or completely done by machines. (No, I'm not at all convinced the transformative effect of generative AI has been overhyped.)

  • Think of this column as a 2025 plan for rising professionals eager to thrive in this wild, man-meets-machine unknown. It's coming. So prepare and adapt:
  1. Creativity: Machines will do a lot of chores — research, sifting, analysis, idea generation, writing, editing, sorting, chart creation. The big winners: creative thinkers who understand and exploit these capabilities in original and hyperproductive ways.
  2. Ethics: I tell my kids to take ethics and philosophy classes — they'll be dealing with some weird crap in the years ahead. One example: interacting with machines that can mimic human interaction and relationships. (Watch the 2013 film, "Her," with Joaquin Phoenix for a taste.) If you're out of school, spend some time reading and thinking about the implications of harmful uses of machines with awesome power.
  3. Human connectivity: This might strike you as a peculiar "skill." But with more people than ever working in isolation (outside the office, alone at home), the experience, empathy and emotional joy that flow from learning to work with and shape others will grow greatly in importance. It's impossible to learn to manage or lead if you stare at a screen and rarely see others in person. One thing machines will never be is us.
  4. Agility: Everything will move and change faster than today as machines grow closer to true artificial general intelligence (the ability to think creatively like us). Consider how computers or the internet changed jobs and industries. Get comfortable with fast change. Stay open to quick shifts. Broaden your ability to roll with it.
  5. Resilience: I believe you can practice grit. Set small challenges in your hobbies, habits, exercise and diet to train yourself to absorb — and bounce back from — setbacks or abrupt change. Start training now. It's hard to imagine a future short on wild twists and turns, especially at work.
  6. Bionic brain: It'll get easier to find, sort and synthesize healthy and helpful content if you're discerning about the source. Own your information-consumption diet. Know the source. Filter out garbage or fake crap. Your goal: Get smarter, faster across more topics. This will sharpen all five skills above — and lead to vastly more success.

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This article originally appeared in Axios Finish Line, our nightly newsletter on life, leadership and wellness. Sign up here.

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