Turning the Tables: How to Supervise the AI that Could Replace You

You’ve heard the rumblings: AI is coming for jobs, automating tasks left and right. You’re afraid that soon you’ll be replaced by a bot that will do your job more quickly and effectively than you. But what if, instead of being replaced, you could take a new seat at the table—a seat where you’re the supervisor of this groundbreaking technology? Forget the dystopian narrative of humans vs. machines; it’s time to embrace a new storyline. In this version, you’re not just surviving the AI revolution, you’re leading it. 

While the idea of staying ahead of AI can seem like an overwhelming game of catch-up, fear not. There’s a straightforward heuristic to pinpoint the exact skills you’ll need in this evolving landscape. Simply ask yourself: “What skills would make someone the best possible manager of me in my current role?” These are the very skills that you’ll need to hone to excel in an AI-augmented work environment.

Why AI Isn’t a Job Killer, But a Job Transformer

Many people fear that AI is a harbinger of job loss and workplace obsolescence. While it’s true that AI is changing the landscape of employment, it’s not pushing humans out of the picture. Rather, it’s transforming the nature of work itself, automating tasks that were once manual and time-consuming. This opens the door for you to ascend the ladder of responsibility and oversee the automated aspects of your role. In other words, you’re not losing a job; you’re gaining a promotion, of sorts. If you’re concerned that your current boss will become the boss of your new AI replacement and that you’ll become obsolete, don’t worry. I’ll explain how you can maintain a competitive edge over both AI and your current manager.

The Marketer’s Journey: From Wordsmith to Supervisor

Let’s say you’re a marketer whose primary job is to write compelling blog posts. In the AI-augmented future, you could have a software tool draft the initial post based on a topic you provide. Your new role then shifts from writing each word to doing something more nuanced: (1) instructing the AI on the blog post’s topic and objectives; (2) reviewing the draft to ensure it meets the quality and style you desire; (3) providing feedback for revisions; and (4) making the final touches to perfect the piece. Essentially, you’ve become the editor-in-chief of your own content, a supervisor to your digital counterpart.

From Law to Order: The Lawyer’s Adaptation

Imagine being a lawyer who spends hours on document review and drafting contracts. With AI, a major chunk of this work can be automated. Your role transforms into that of a vigilant overseer: (1) setting parameters and guidelines for the AI to follow; (2) reviewing the automatically generated documents for legal accuracy; and (3) interpreting and making the necessary adjustments. It’s like shifting from being a scribe to a judge, focusing on interpretation and decision-making.

Code & Command: The Programmer’s New Role

If you’re a programmer, you’re likely familiar with the arduous process of writing, testing, and debugging code. Enter AI-powered code generators that can produce functional code based on your specifications. Your evolved role involves: (1) defining the project specifications and parameters that guide the AI; (2) reviewing the generated code for accuracy and efficiency; and (3) debugging and optimizing the code where necessary. In essence, you transition from a coder to a project manager of your own coding tasks.

The New Skill Set: Becoming Your Own Supervisor

Think about the skills that qualify your manager to manage you. Those are the skills you need to develop right now, in anticipation of AI capabilities expanding.

Your manager oversees your work, makes strategic decisions, and often has a more comprehensive understanding of the broader goals and objectives. Now, imagine a scenario where AI takes over the tasks you currently handle. Who’s going to manage that AI? You could, right? Just like your manager oversees you, you could oversee the AI, ensuring that it aligns with broader objectives, performing quality checks, and tweaking strategies. In essence, the skills required to manage are the skills you’ll need in an AI-augmented job landscape.

So, if you’re still wondering how to “AI-proof” your career, look no further than your current job description and the responsibilities of the person managing you. Skills like strategic thinking, quality assurance, and effective communication will be your new best friends. The sooner you start honing these managerial skills, the better positioned you’ll be to seize the opportunities that AI will bring, rather than being left behind.

You might ask, “But what is stopping my current boss from managing the AI that’s coming to get me?” The answer is that you can retain and even strengthen your advantage over AI tools and your boss by combining your existing skills with the supervisory skills necessary to harness AI. When writing a compelling blog post, for example, AI won’t create the final product for you; it will only help you to brainstorm and create rough drafts. Creating professional-grade output will still require your skill as an artisan. Combine this with your new ability to manage AI and you’ll have a blend of abilities that someone with only the ability to supervise can’t match.

Another skill that can make you  even more indispensable is the ability to speak to AI in its own language. Although communicating with an AI system such as ChatGPT is similar to conversing with a human, commanding such a system with maximum effectiveness requires special knowledge about what language the tool speaks. In the case of ChatGPT, “prompt engineering” skills–techniques for phrasing prompts in ways that are designed to produce better outputs–allow you to write prompts tailored to the way an AI understands human input. If you combine your original skills as an expert in your field with your new managerial expertise and the ability to speak the language of AI, you’ll hit the AI trifecta and be indispensable and in continuous high demand.

Universal Skills for Managing AI Across Roles

Regardless of your profession, there are several core skills that will make you an effective manager of AI in any field. These skills are universally applicable and will serve you well as you transition into a more supervisory role over automated tasks.

  1. Critical Thinking and Decision Making: AI can provide data and options, but the final call is yours. Being able to evaluate situations critically will be invaluable.
  2. Emotional Intelligence: Understanding and managing your own emotions, as well as those of others, will be crucial, especially when it comes to team dynamics in an AI-augmented workplace.
  3. Ethical Considerations: You’ll need to understand the ethical implications of using AI in different scenarios and be prepared to make ethical decisions.
  4. Technological Literacy: A basic understanding of the technologies that power AI will help you manage it more effectively.
  5. Project Management: As the manager of an AI ’employee,’ you’ll need to plan, execute, and oversee projects from start to finish, ensuring they align with organizational objectives.
  6. Communication Skills: Whether it’s communicating with human colleagues or setting parameters for AI, clear and effective communication will be key, including using your prompt engineering skills to communicate with AI.
  7. Problem-Solving: Unexpected issues will inevitably arise, and your ability to quickly find solutions will be a significant asset.
  8. Adaptability and Continuous Learning: The AI landscape is constantly changing. Your willingness and ability to adapt and learn will be vital for long-term success.

By focusing on developing these core skills, you’ll be well-equipped to manage AI effectively, regardless of your specific job role.


We get it, the looming shadow of AI can be intimidating. Many human job functions will be replaced by AI in some form., But there’s more to it than that: by taking the reins and becoming the manager of your AI self, you’re not just avoiding replacement. You’re actually setting the stage for a career that’s more efficient, effective, and valuable than ever before. By embracing a wider view of AI, you will not merely survive the transition, you will thrive through it. You become the irreplaceable human element that adds nuance, strategy, and creativity to the tasks at hand.

The prospect isn’t one of obsolescence but of evolution. Gain the skills to become your own supervisor and manage automated tasks. Don’t be satisfied with just keeping pace with technological advancements—stay ahead of the curve. There’s a future brimming with opportunity, and it’s yours for the taking.

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