Preparing in case of an Artificial Intelligence job winter

In the TV show Game of Thrones, there is a common warning – Winter is Coming. It refers to an impending war and attack of Zombies.

There has been steady stream of articles and studies that to detail concerns about automation and in particular artificial intelligence enhanced automation devastating entire categories of work.

The warnings of mass unemployment are a warning that a job winter is coming.

People (characters) in Game of Thrones can be killed in the many wars and power struggles well before the Zombie attack.

Similarly people can lose their job or career for more mundane reasons than AI job apocalypse.
– the company they work at goes bankrupt or has a series of mass layoffs
– the job could be outsourced to another country
– new graduates will to accept lower pay are hired to replace current staff
– a regular economic crisis or recession hits
– regional or local problems cause higher unemployment
– job cuts need not be total, there could be a sharp drop in the compensation

Some articles talk about AI-proof jobs. However, some of the recommendations are for middle management jobs which could be replaced through regular corporate restructuring. IT work could in general be stable but the particular products and tools that make you valuable could become cloud based and need fewer people and provide fewer lower paying jobs.

It is wrong to assume that
– any job is safe forever
– any company is safe forever
– any career is safe forever

Preparations for a job winter are similar to the steps in positioning and contingencies for economic recession or regular unemployment risks. People who are really worried about a job winter should start thinking more like the Depression era generation.

Financial Preparation

– Pay down debt, increasing savings and income, reduce expenses

Try to create a larger cash emergency fund. Not just 3 months but 3 years.
Debts are constant expenses and payments even if you lose your job or income.

The dependency rate is the percentage of your monthly income that goes to your regular expenses.

Increasing savings and income involves getting side work or making investments that increase regular income.

Keep a tight financial budget and where you have a portfolio of investments look at investments that would perform better in an AI ascendant scenario.

At the very least hold investments that will not drop if the company or career that you are in performs badly.

If your company or job sector is hit would that mean that all people in the same real estate location would lose their jobs too ? This would mean the value of real estate near the location of your office could also be negatively impacted.

Job and Career Preparations

Update your resume and Network. It can take many months to get a new job search in gear.

Make preparations regarding an alternative career. This could involve having a side job or business.

Online education or other long term preparations should be considered.

Closely Monitor and track the situations and be prepared to rapidly adapt

Try to keep track how much your job, company, career or investments may need to change.

Be prepared to move or to sell assets if the situation warrants. Do not hold on to depreciating assets or have expenses when there is no matching income.

Be prepared to move to a less impacted region.

Be prepared to act quickly to say sell assets and move in with relatives or friends to drastically cut expenses.

Be prepared to hustle.

Aggressively act now

The AI job winter has not arrived yet and even the clearly visible eventual replacement of human drivers with robotic driving is still some years off (although ride sharing and truck platooning will accelerate the job impact when it comes).

It is still possible to aggressively attack any debts and get your personal income statement more resilient.

It is still possible to effectively hustle now to get more work or income.

Do not expect or depend upon a bailout

In the last financial crisis there was no bailout or regular people. It would be foolish to expect some basic income or other government handout to preserve your career or finances.

* no bailout for regular people last time
* Bernie Sanders was not elected and even if he was, Bernie said his socialist agenda would require like minded people to hold a majority or super majority in the House and Senate.

If you are looking for socialism then try immigrating to Norway. Although Norway has been drawing down on its fund the last two years because of lower oil prices.

Alaska’s dividend fund pays out about $1000-2000 to residents who have been in Alaska over one year.

Try moving to places that are piloting universal basic income. Of course usually the amount is about $500 per month or less and sometimes in places with high joblessness because of loss of manufacturing jobs. It still seems like it is better to go to stronger economic locations with jobs that you can qualify for and get.