Nonprofit Workers More Essential Than Ever

APRIL 30, 2018

Rise of Robots Makes Nonprofit Workers More Essential Than Ever


In March of 2017, a small fleet of GPS-enabled delivery robots took to the streets of Washington to deliver food. These automated 35-pound, six-wheeled takeout containers — created by the co-founders of Skype — are just at the head of the oncoming wave of automation.

Although robots on wheels may be on pace to replace food-delivery jobs in our nation’s capital, one thing they won’t be threatening are groups like Meals on Wheels. More important than delivering food, programs like these are delivering human contact that helps connect homebound older people with the outside world. This is the kind of work that depends on social intelligence, and it won’t easily be replaced by a robot.

So even as experts predict half the American workforce could find their jobs wiped out in coming decades, the nonprofit world faces a great opportunity: The jobs that are the safest from automation rely on creativity, social intelligence, perception, and manipulation. For at least the next two decades, machines will continue to struggle in matching the human brain’s ability to understand and empathize with others.

This means that, in the coming decade, America’s nonprofits will go from a nice addition to a necessary player in our economic and labor success.

Read the full article here: NYCP in Chronicle of Philanthropy 4_30_2018 (PDF)