Adding to the long line of guests much smarter than the podcast hosts, The Chad & Cheese welcome author, entrepreneur, filmmaker, tech philosopher, and Death Metal singer Somi Arian to the show.
Did someone say Death Metal?
Somi is plugging her new book, "Career Fear (And How To Beat It), which talks about how A.I. is changing the world and how savvy professionals - talking to you, recruiters - can prepare to thrive in this fast-evolving world.
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Hide your kids! Lock the doors! You're listening to HR’s most dangerous podcast. Chad Sowash and Joel Cheeseman are here to punch the recruiting industry, right where it hurts! Complete with breaking news, brash opinion and loads of snark, buckle up boys and girls, it's time for the Chad and Cheese podcast.
In the long line of interviews where we talk to people much smarter than us.
Welcome Somi Arian, to the show, everybody.
There we go.
She is ready for this, Chad. Yes. She is a tech philosopher, filmmaker, author, entrepreneur, speaker, and a quote "transition architect." And she's the author of a new book, entitled Career Fear (and how to beat it): Get the Perspective, Mindset and Skills You Need to Futureproof your Work Life. That's a mouthful. So me, welcome to the show. Thank you. Thanks for having me. What did I miss in the bio? What else should we know about you before getting into the Q and A.
Somi (1m 3s):
I guess the main thing that's, I'm working on these days that maybe the people haven't gotten the memo yet because it's only three or four months is I have a Think Tank for women in business and technology that's been taking all of my time. You know, that's started as a side hustle, but it's becoming my main hustle now. So that's probably the main thing, the think tank for women in business and technology.
Joel (1m 27s):
So, so talk about that. Our listeners might not know.
Somi (1m 30s):
So, I use the term think tank quite loosely. This is a big platform that I'm building, where women will be able to find new opportunities and the main, the main kind of thrust of it, is the fact that it there's the fact that women have been held back in business and technology for for many years. And when you look at you go back to the past few hundred years, you know, since the start of the industrial revolution, when we've actually had entrepreneurial endeavors, women have been in the shadows. And same thing is in science and in STEM fields.
Somi (2m 14s):
So the whole point of this is to bring them in back into, or bring them into not back, but bring them into maybe even for the first time into these fields and trying to get women to think about what young girls especially think about changing that mindset of, you know, girls play with dolls and boys, you know, our engineers and changing that mindset and getting girls to actually think about building businesses and learning how to use technology. And the bottom line is I want to change this scenario where, but you look at the top 10% or top, you know, even 1% of people who are in business and technology, the leaders, they're all men.
Somi (2m 55s):
You know, you look at the top 10 companies that run the world, right? Top 10 companies around the world, five in the US Microsoft, Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and Google. And then in China, we have Jami, Walway, Alibaba, Baidu, and Tencent all run by men. There's not one woman in that picture. I want to change that.
Chad (3m 14s):
So today you're Founder, Managing Director at Smart Cookie. You're an opinion columnist at CEO World Magazine, obviously author this new book. But before that you were a visa officer in the Netherlands are, I'm sorry,
Somi (3m 30s):
In the Netherlands embassy.
Chad (3m 32s):
The Netherlands embassy, you're a program officer for the International Organization for Migration and a program officer for the UN. Yeah. So what, what brought you to talking about careers, robots, millennials, marketing, what actually brought you here? Why do this?
Somi (3m 50s):
Well, you know, I have a very diverse background. I suppose my biggest passion in life is philosophy. You know, the thing that interests me more than anything else is on the standing life, understanding what is the meaning of life? Why are we here? What is this all going? Where is this all going? And what's this all about? And since I was a child, I was always asking that and I was terrible at math and I wasn't very good at, I wasn't generally a good student. And they told me that I wouldn't amount to anything.
Chad (4m 20s):
Somi (4m 20s):
And my father said, so what are you going to do? And I said, Oh, that I want to get paid to think like, I want it, I want to make a living to think, and my dad said, like, that's not normally he gets paid to think. And I was like, yeah, there are philosophers, like, you know, Aristotle and Nietzsche. And he was like, well, first of all, you know, nobody will pay you to think. And secondly, those were men and women can'tNietzsche become philosophers. And, you know, like nature didn't exactly have the best of the endings. And I was like, no, I'm going to become a philosopher.
Chad (4m 56s):
It sounds like to me. And I have, I have two daughters and Joel has a daughter. It sounds like you actually put your foot down and said to the world, fuck you. I'm going to be who I want to be.
Joel (5m 7s):
Somi (5m 8s):
Exactly. Actually, there's a, there's a Persian poet. Now I'm actually going to get a Kelly Grafton and put it on my, because I come from a very traditional, my parents had no money growing up and they made, they forced me to marry my first cousin, which is quite common in Iran, when I was 17. And I was like, no, I don't want to do that. And, and, you know, went through a, it, it caused a whole breakdown of family relationships. Ad I was like, I don't care that it's going to break all the family relationships. So everybody thinks that, you know, I'm quite selfish, but I was like, you know, no, it's my life.. And I'm not going to let that happen. And there's this Persian poem that says, basically says, like, I'm not the one that would let the world fuck with me.
Somi (5m 56s):
Like if the world fucks with me, I'm going to fuck it up. And you can, you can beep that.
Chad (6m 4s):
Well, that let's go ahead and parlay that into the, into the next topic. The world is fucking with us. It's called Covid in many companies are focusing on, or at least they're talking about safety per se. And they're bringing in more robots. I mean, we see Microsoft robots for replacing news producers, Tyson robots are replacing butchers, gas, the Gap robots and Walmart and Amazon for warehousing. I mean, the list goes on. So I mean, this to me, and we were talking before, before the interview, this seems like a fairly simple math equation. Humans should be talking about universal, basic income, not about their next job.
Chad (6m 48s):
Can you give us some insights on what you found?
Somi (6m 51s):
Well, I actually, I wrote an article it's on my LinkedIn. I hope that your listeners will check it out. It's four and a half thousand words so prepare for it. It's going to take a while to read. And it took me a week to write it. And it's been probably my most engaged article today on LinkedIn and, and it's, it's called COVID-19 and the Future of Business, Economy and Democracy. COVID-19 whether, you know, however, it came upon us COVID-19 is it has accelerated that trend. It's definitely making it easier. I guess it's making it more acceptable people would for people to accept the adoption of robots.
Somi (7m 33s):
Right. And so when I wrote my book, I talked about all of these things in it. And my book, I finished it at the end of 2019, and then it was going to go to publication. It was supposed to come out in July, which it did come out a little bit, like I think about two, three weeks later than it was supposed to because of COVID. But essentially what my point is that when I was writing that COVID hadn't happened, I was predicting a five to 15 year transition. All I can say is that instead of five to 15, now think about one to five years.
Joel (8m 6s):
Yeah, summarize the book for us real quick career fair and how to beat it. Like if you're, if you're describing the book to someone in our listeners, what would it be about?
Somi (8m 15s):
So at the bottom line, is it all comes down to my philosophy of "transition architecture." You know, what ""transition architecture is about is understanding that we should not think about necessarily transformation, like digital transformation. We need to think about constant transition. The bottom line is if you go with the idea of singularity, basically they're saying if people like Reiki as well, that in the next 20 - 25 years, we're going to come to a point where AI is going to supersede human level intelligence, and there will be pretty much nothing to do for 90% of society.
Somi (8m 56s):
Well, that's already happening. You know, I don't see like anybody who says that's not true. It's just simple math. Computers are becoming smarter in an accelerated fashion. You know, it almost exponentially humans aren't we have a skull and we, our brain is limited to what we have in that skull. And it's like, it's not going to expand any further. You're not going to be able to learn any faster if you're not going to be able to, to compress data any faster, you know, even if you were connected, you know, like companies like Neuralink, right. They're now creating Elon Musk's Neuralink. Normally, you know, even if there was a way that I could connect myself to say my phone directly so that I could have access to all the information in Wikipedia, it doesn't necessarily mean that I would be able to process that information with the same speed.
Somi (9m 49s):
Right. So, so if I can, so what is data processing? You know, what is understanding, what is knowledge? You know, it's essentially being able to compress that data that you take from the world and, you know, to be able to summarize it and understand it, right? So if we can't speed that up anymore than what it is now, maybe to some degree, you know, you can improve your nutrition or whatever, but, but we can't really process it any faster. And there is the possibility of brain machine interface, but we don't yet know how that could work and whether it would be accessible to everybody. So it's math, machines are superseding in every way.
Joel (10m 28s):
We both have children. Chad's are a little bit older than mine. I have, I have as young as a three-year-old, what skills should they be learning to sort of survive in this future? And you talk about like, how quickly change is going to happen. I'm ready. What'd you get in terms of, you know, how fast is change happening, what skills will be in demand and what, what should essentially younger people or people for sure be prepared for and doing the work. Cause I'm guessing that schools are, are ill prepared with the changes that are happening and how fast they happening.
Somi (10m 57s):
Basically you must have a technical skill or several technical skills, preferably. So I talk about this quite a lot in the book in the sense that you need to be multi-skilled, that's very important. And, you know, you'd think about like, I used to be in a death metal band, you know, like I know that that's not exactly it has had an impact. You know, it's definitely had an impact. I assume you're in a band. I, you know, did a lot of fitness modeling when I was younger. I have a background in politics and philosophy, you know, filmmaking, you know, now I'm teaching myself Python, so it's constantly learning. So you need to have technical skills.
Somi (11m 38s):
You've got to have that, but in addition to that, you need to have four human skills. And that's what, there are four chapters in the book that are about that. Those four human skills are emotional intelligence, contextual creativity, critical thinking and mindfulness. And when I talk about mindfulness, I'm not talking about sitting there 20 minutes a day. And meditating, I'm talking about full participation with the world, with what's happening. Like, for example, since exactly since the beginning of last year, October, I haven't even watched a single Netflix series or film or movie or nothing, because I think that when you spend a lot of time watching, you know, doing entertainment stuff, because you need to be in full participation instead on Saturdays, all of my day, like I wake up in the morning sometimes, you know, I sit there with my pajama and this is my, like absolutely my relaxation to practice coding and math, like seriously.
Chad (12m 34s):
So you don't want Netflix and chill. You don't Netflix and chill. You math and chill.
Somi (12m 40s):
Yeah. Algebra and math and algebra and chill. Yeah. Or Python and chill. Yeah. Why am I doing that? Not, I don't want to become a coder. I don't need to do that. I'm teaching myself that because I'm hiring people who are going to need to have those skills. It's kind of like, if you want to be a producer director, it's so much better. If you can also film and edit, not because you need to do it, but because you know how to speak to your, to a crew, t