Manage the machines

Using what you know to manage the machines – part 2

Machines are not taking your job, today anyway. Machines can replicate repeatable tasks and with enough data, make decisions. You will either manage the machines or be managed by the machines.

In the first post, we talked about the skills you already have that can translate to managing a machine led process, or the machines themselves. You don’t need to restart your career, you just need to know to parlay your existing skill set into the next phase.

Read the full post here:

A lot of the skills you’ve developed as a manager will port over. However, you possess a lot of additional skills that really only work with actual people, and the machines will struggle to replicate. These unique skills will keep you ahead of what machines can do. Let’s explore:

Non-verbal cues

Sometimes what isn’t being said is just as telling as what you hear. Body language is a very big clue as to how someone is feeling about a situation and whether or not they are being truthful with you. If someone is fidgety you can tell they are likely nervous. If someone has their arms crossed they are likely closed off, and if they won’t make eye contact with you, they are likely not willing to share information or are not being truthful. Machines don’t possess the ability to do any of those things.


You’ve seen those social posts where someone posts a picture of a tropical location with a fruity drink – then they caption it with “this is terrible” or “I’m having a bad time”. While we know that the person who posted is kidding, it will be more difficult for machines to determine whether or not the caption is sarcastic. You do occasionally run into those folks that hate warm weather and sunshine (you know who you are). The data that machines will train on will need to be clear with intent, and humans like to complicate things. Being able to detect sarcasm gives you an advantage.

Nuance, tone, and intonation

How someone says something is just as important as what they say. Two people could say the same sentence, but by emphasizing a different word, the sentence will have two different meanings. For example: “I never said he stole my money”.  If you emphasize the first word, you are insinuating that you’re offended. If you emphasize the fourth word you are implying that they have the wrong person.

Machine Learning, Process Automation, Artificial Intelligence – they aren’t Sci-Fi concepts, they are the reality of technology today. To stay relevant you need to evaluate yourself and your skillset. You don’t have to be an expert technologist and overhaul everything you know, you may already have the experience that will help you manage the machines.


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