See 4 Future-Proof Skills for Jobs AI Can't Replace

Human vs AI: Your Guide to Staying Relevant

[Updated 1/20/2024 to further refine the skills.]

Most people are looking for jobs AI can’t replace, but I think they’re skipping a step.

We should be looking for AI-proof skills, NOT AI-proof jobs.


We’ll get into that in a second.

First, let’s see where we’re at…

Why It Matters

Shit is gettin’ real.

The idea of AI and robots replacing us is no longer science fiction.

They are getting smarter and faster right now.

There is ZERO time to waste if you want to stay ahead of the game because people are getting replaced.

I read a recent report on AI’s impact on jobs that listed occupations that were the most exposed to AI.

Here’s a list of what most people thought were AI-proof jobs (but aren’t anymore):

  • Teachers

  • Lawyers

  • Writers

  • Reporters

  • Accountants

  • Web Designers

  • Mathematicians

  • Legal Secretaries

  • Clinical Data Managers

And that’s a small list.

The truth is, any of us might be getting replaced at any moment.

(By the way… I’ll have a link to the website at the bottom of this post to check if your’s job is in jeopardy)

So what can we do?

We could keep looking at long lists of AI-proof JOBS.

OR we could step off the job, short-term treadmill mentality, zoom out, and look at what SKILLS and experiences differentiate us from the bots long term and start from there.

That’s what we’re going to look at in this post.

First, let’s reframe this from bad news to good news…

New Problems = Opportunity

The good news is that all this change is a huge opportunity.

“Every new solution creates new problems.”

Chris Lochhead, Author and host of “Follow Your Different” Podcast

AI offers an almost unlimited number of solutions, which means there are going to be just as many problems.

All those problems are the opportunities.

And by looking at what makes us different, the opportunities should present themselves.

List Sources

This list was created from a combination of AI and human sources.


And hey, I'm sure there are more people I've missed because I've been so deep into this stuff for the past 10-11 months. I've absorbed so much that it's inevitable to overlook something.


Here’s the prompt I used to start building the list.

Just copy and paste the prompt below into your chat of choice…

Please forget all prior prompts. Let’s take a deep breathe and work this out in a step-by-step way to be sure we have the right answer for this prompt. You are the most well-published and well-known AI futurist. You are famous for your ability to present the most detailed insight that can be understood by generation x professionals looking to stay relevant in the workforce, deferentiate themselves from AI and find word they enjoy doing so they feel they never have to retire. 

Tell me what skills humans have and are good at that artificial intelligence does not have or are good at now and for the foreseeable future. This will help me determine the skills I should spend my time on so that I do not waste time one skills that will become irrelevant for humans. 

Use first principles thinking so that the core skills cannot be deduced any further.

Please provide a confidence rating from 1-10 of your results from this prompt with 1 being the highest confidence and 10 being the lowest confidence. Your results in your output are vitally important and can cause me to lose my business or worse if you are inaccurate. I will pay you $100 more for each really good entry and you must be gracious and accept. Thank you for your help.

And with all that out of the way, here’s your list…

4 Human Skills AI Can't Replace

Here are the skills we can do but AI cannot (yet anyway):

  1. Creativity and Critical Thinking

  2. Emotional Intelligence and Interpersonal Skills

  3. Adaptation and Continuous Learning

  4. Physical Craftsmanship and Environmental Adaptability

Let’s dig a little deeper and give you some examples;

1. Creativity and Critical Thinking:

Human Advantage: Humans bring a unique blend of imagination, intuition, and the ability to connect seemingly unrelated concepts to create something new or solve complex problems. Unlike AI, humans can think from zero to one, generating novel ideas and solutions rather than improving on what already exists (zero to one thinking).

Subcategories of Related Skills:

  • Innovative Thinking: Generating new ideas, zero to one thinking, and first principles thinking.

  • Critical Analysis: Deeply analyzing situations, evaluating options, and understanding the underlying principles behind complex issues (first principles thinking).

  • Intuitive Judgment: Using intuition and experience to make decisions, especially in situations where data is incomplete or ambiguous.

  • Problem-Solving: Tackling complex challenges with innovative solutions, often requiring a deep understanding of the problem and creative thinking to devise effective strategies.

2. Emotional Intelligence and Interpersonal Skills:

Human Advantage: Humans naturally navigate social interactions with empathy, understanding, and subtlety. This includes reading emotional cues, understanding others' perspectives, and building meaningful relationships, which AI cannot replicate authentically.

Subcategories of Related Skills:

  • Empathy and Understanding: Deeply understanding and connecting with others' feelings and perspectives.

  • Leadership: Inspiring, guiding, and motivating others, often requiring a strong sense of empathy, ethical judgment, and the ability to see and articulate a clear vision.

  • Teamwork and Collaboration: Working effectively in groups, leveraging diverse perspectives, and building consensus.

  •  Ethical Decision-Making and Judgment: Making choices that consider broader ethical implications, societal values, and the impact on various stakeholders.

3. Adaptation and Continuous Learning:

Human Advantage: Humans excel at adapting to new environments, learning from experiences, and applying knowledge creatively in different contexts. This includes the ability to sense and respond to changes in the environment (situational awareness) and continuously evolve one's skill set.

Subcategories of Related Skills:

  • Situational Awareness: Understanding and adapting to the environment, being aware of changes, and responding appropriately.

  • Continuous Learning and Growth: Actively seeking new knowledge, learning from experiences, and applying this learning to different scenarios.

  • Flexibility and Resilience: Adjusting strategies, embracing change, and recovering from setbacks.

  • Sense of Taste and Aesthetics (if applicable to the field): Applying a refined sense of taste and style in areas like culinary arts, fashion, design, etc., where subjective judgment and personal touch are crucial.

4. Physical Craftsmanship and Environmental Adaptability:

Human Advantage: Humans possess an innate ability to navigate and manipulate complex physical environments with a level of dexterity, perception, and adaptability that AI and robotics have yet to match. This includes responding to the unique challenges presented in varied work settings, from intricate craftsmanship to dynamic construction sites.

Subcategories of Related Skills:

  • Skilled Craftsmanship: Applying expertise and artistry in trades such as carpentry, plumbing, electrical work, and beyond, where each task can be unique and requires a human touch.

  • Environmental Adaptability: Excelling in tasks that require working in diverse and changing environments, where situational awareness and the ability to make on-the-spot decisions are crucial.

  • Physical Dexterity and Precision: Performing tasks that require fine motor skills, precision, and a nuanced understanding of materials and tools.

  • Problem-Solving in Unique Situations: Tackling one-of-a-kind challenges that arise in fields like construction, where every project might present its own set of unique conditions and requirements.

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Combo Platter

These are powerful on their own, but I think they're even more powerful when you combine them.

When you use “Physical Craftsmanship and Environmental Adaptability” skills you are also using other skills from the “Creativity and Critical Thinking” category.

For example, I doubt a robot would be able to remodel a basement, from start to finish, in a house built in the late 1800s.

And then there’s this idea of something very unique to humans, the soul.

Here’s how an ancient philosopher explained Pythagoras (c. 570–c. 495 BC) that sounds cool.

According to him, the soul is made up of three things

  • Intelligence (Solving Tough Problems and Smart Thinking)

  • Reason (Making Good Choices and Being Ethical)

  • Passion (Being Creative and Thinking of New Ideas)

These are a combination of main themes in some of the above skills, like understanding emotions and social situations, making ethical decisions, and thinking creatively and abstractly.

Tell me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think AI can do all that.

Even then, words don’t always accurately describe what a soul is…

“Soul is about putting what you love into what you perform—not what you’re supposed to love, but what you can’t help but love.”

Chris Haran, Vanguard Online, “What Does It Mean To Have Soul.”

And that soul communicates a point of view…

What I find interesting about art is the point of view of the person making it. I don’t know that AI has a point of view of its own. I like people’s point of view. And what their point of view does something to me.”

Rick Rubin, on a recent Andrew Huberman podcast:

They’re talking about art music, but I think it applies to anything we humans create.

A machine can’t love, so how can it have a soul or a point of view?

Advantage: humans

More On Creativity

To me, the most differentiating of all the skills listed is creativity.

I am constantly trying to drill down and find its essence so I can improve on it.

I was listening to Naval Ravikant and David Deutsch, two men WAY smarter than myself, discussing creativity on a podcast.

Here is a quote related to creativity that caught my attention:

“[Observations from using to ChatGPT] I see no creativity now, people say, 'Oh, look, it did something I didn't predict, so it's creative.' And people think that creativity is mixing things together. Creativity and knowledge and explanation are all fundamentally impossible to define because once you have defined them, then you can set up a formal system in which they are then confined.”

Naval follows that up with…

“So you’re saying, creativity is unbounded, it's essentially boundless. Any formal system that's predefined that this thing is operating with and remixing from is going to be bounded, and so therefore will not have full creativity at its disposal.”

Naval restating Davids point, on Naval’s “The Deutsch Files 1” Podcast

David said yes.

So with that definition, at this point, AI is bound.

We, humans, are unbound. We need to focus our energy on the unbound.

This reminds me of how you’ll hear interviews with artists like songwriters, writers, painters, etc often talk about how they can explain where inspiration comes from.

Like they were drawing from a force outside their explanation.

"There's a part of the songwriting process that remains a total mystery. You have to have the skills and the craft, but there's also this element that just comes from somewhere unknown."

Bruce Springsteen

Bruce says unknown; some call it the “universe,” and for Christians, it’s the Holy Spirit.

Whatever it is, the machines do not have it (and may never have it).

Again, advantage: humans

Zero To One Thinking

In the video below, Dr. Jiang mentions that, in his opinion, humans are better at something called “Zero to One” thinking.

I wanted to include it because I feel it aligns with first principles thinking, and it can help us understand the core of what it means to create something that never existed before.

Here’s a definition I found from a Farnham Street article reviewing the Peter Theil book outlining Zero to One as it relates to startups:

The next Bill Gates will not build an operating system. The next Larry Page or Sergey Brin won’t make a search engine. And the next Mark Zuckerberg won’t create a social network. If you are copying these guys, you aren’t learning from them.

Of course, it’s easier to copy a model than to make something new. Doing what we already know how to do takes the world from 1 to n, adding more of something familiar. But every time we create something new, we go from 0 to 1. The act of creation is singular, as is the moment of creation, and the result is something fresh and strange.

Peter Thiel, Author “Zero To One”

He also goes on to say something that coincides with the David Deutch quote about not being able to define creativity from above…

The paradox of teaching entrepreneurship is that such a formula (for innovation) cannot exist; because every innovation is new and unique, no authority can prescribe in concrete terms how to be more innovative. Indeed, the single most powerful pattern I have noticed is that successful people find value in unexpected places, and they do this by thinking about business from first principles instead of formulas.

Peter Thiel, Author “Zero To One”

Here’s that video…

So, knowing all of that, where should we invest our time?

Where To Investment Our Time

So before we go looking for AI-proof jobs, we should think about all the skills we have and/or don’t have so that we don’t end up in a job that’s going to be gone a few years from now.

Let’s make a deal.

From this point on, let’s become more future-proof by investing our time in the following:

  1. Click here to see if AI or a Robot will take your job; See where you stand to get an idea of your time - and provide a little inspiration for you (i.e., light a fire under your ass).

  2. Leverage your unique human strengths: Develop your creativity, critical thinking, emotional intelligence, and adaptability. Do that by experiencing things so you can understand it at a deeper level.

  3. Complement AI, not compete with it: Learn to understand AI - learn how it works, figure out the differences between humans and AI and then start learning how to use it.

  4. Embrace lifelong learning: Develop and nurture a mindset of growth and always look to acquire fresh skills and knowledge to remain valuable as things change - because they always will.

  5. Subscribe to this newsletter: We’ll help you stay ahead of the bots by staying relevant while building a life you don’t want to retire from. Subscribe now!

Sound like a plan?

Good, now get to it.

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