I love geographic information systems! The creativity in map design, the science of spatial analysis, and the cross-industry power are amazing.
I was recently talking to a database guru at the company I work for. She is extremely smart about all things database, computers, and machine learning. She said something that I think is party true…
Machine Learning will destroy many jobs, including GIS, in the next few years(?)
This is enough to have many GIS students and current professionals shake in their boots, or become extremely defensive.
“You can’t replace humans!” some will say… others will say “Oh no…what am I going to do?”
However, knowing what you can do to avoid this outcome is half the battle (I always try to sneak that graphic in).
I have a few ideas, but first, there is a lot of really cool stuff going on in machine learning (or matrix optimization as we like to call it). For instance, “AI” generated art.
Google has an AI called Imagen which certainly creates some cool images from prompts typed in by a user (or at least what they show). Have a look at some of the art yourself. As it is stated on their webpage, there are ethical issues that are still being worked through in regards to how to use their technology.
I tried my hand at Night Cafe Studio AI art generator. I started off simple to see what it produced, for instance, a sad Elvis clown and moved on to a few strange requests. Results below.
My AI-generated “art” fall into the category of “Cosmic Horror” to rival H.P. Lovecraft. To call them “Nightmare Sauce” might be a little too generous.
I am sure AI-generated art will get better. I am sure AI everything will become more prominent.
Will this AI-generated art take jobs from artists? Maybe. Will AI take jobs from other industries? Most likely… this includes GIS.
So how can you ensure you have a GIS job in the future if AI and ML are going to take over?
I have three things you need to do
Accept it, and be a part of it.
I don’t mean to become a cyborg (or maybe I do). I mean, learn to code.
Many resources are available online to get you started, both free and paid.
This might actually be the hardest out of the three I have listed here. But there is gold in finding new and interesting ways of using GIS.
Cooking and GIS, Board Games and GIS, Dog walking and GIS.
It is through creativity that you can keep your GIS career working well into the future.
Become A Caveman, or be more human.
Learn to be human. Be social. Make friends at work. Talk to people IN PERSON, every single day. Take care of your body. Get exercise. Lift weights.
Being a real-life emotional human will be a massive asset in the future.
Emotions and human contact are going to be the difference that makes the difference in our future. It will be the human touch, the human voice, the human feeling that is a key to your GIS career.
Learn to HUMAN well.
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