Consider a great conductor leading an orchestra in the throes of a majestic symphony.

Now consider a metronome, a soulless mechanism for keeping time.

Do you think they’re doing the exact same job?


Would you replace Bernstein or Karajan with a glorified clock?

The machine does have some serious advantages over the human; it’s more precise, more efficient and more reliable. It is infinitely cheaper than the human. It doesn’t get sick, doesn’t throw tantrums and has no ego to deal with.

No-one would seriously let a metronome lead the Berlin or London Philharmonic through Swan Lake or The Messiah, let alone the Ring of the Nibelung… because we all realise the crucial human talents required.

We can sense the passion that drives every move of the baton, the intellect that studied every note of every instrument, the comprehension that synthesises each tiny detail into a seamless, magnificent whole. We can appreciate the commitment that powers every rehearsal and the creative energy that drives every performance.

Machines outperform humans in any task that can be reduced to a number of known, predictable steps; they’re better at routine than we are, better at jobs that require no interpretation or invention.

We’re better at jobs that are changing. We’re better at reading shifts in meaning or context. We’re better at feeling the practical and emotional needs of our fellow humans, better at adapting to new situations, better at solving problems that aren’t covered in the rule book.

If your job doesn’t require empathy, creativity, passion, ingenuity or sensitivity, get one that does.

Because you deserve better.

And because you’re probably keeping a machine out of a job. For now.

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Written by Jason Clarke

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Celebrated author, adventurer, gold medal Olympian and popular TV chef; Jason is none of these things. He is, however, one of the most sought-after creative minds in the country. As founder of Minds at Work, he’s helped people ‘think again’ since the end of the last century, working with clients across Australia in virtually every industry and government sector on issues ranging from creativity and trouble shooting to culture change and leadership.