Features, Insight, Technology

AI and the Future of Jobs

Neamat El Gayar, University Professor, ML Researcher, Director, Heriot-Watt University Dubai.

Since AI has become a cornerstone in the recent technological innovation, the development in AI has sparked concerns regarding the nature of jobs and whether some jobs will be replaced. Although the World Economic Forum’s “The Future of Jobs Report 2020” states that AI is expected to replace 85 million jobs worldwide by 2025, the same report also mentions that AI is expected to create 97 million new jobs. While there is no doubt that AI will have an impact on the future of jobs, experts are predicting that AI will help the advancement of some jobs, but will not entirely replace human input. For example, developments in generative AI tools like ChatGPT and Bard have raised questions about if AI will replace jobs that involve writing. While it’s unlikely that AI will ever match the authentic creativity of humans, it can assist with writing ideas and assisting with repetitive content creation. Additionally, AI could be a helpful tool for educators to help them assess the varying levels of students’ progress and tailor their approaches according to students’ learning requirements. However, AI cannot replicate the level of empathy and social intelligence required by teachers.

The integration of artificial intelligence (AI) in the workplace can have a significant impact on employees, including changes in job tasks, skills requirements, and job security. Therefore, preparing employees for the impact of AI to ensure they are equipped to handle changes and take advantage of the support that AI can provide is essential. Fortunately, there are some ways for enterprises and companies to begin with this process.

Providing training:

With the advent of technological developments championed by AI, the skills and training gap is widening regularly. According to Harvard Business Review, more than 50% of companies report they have adopted AI in at least one way in their business. Therefore, it is now becoming critical for companies to utilize the potential of AI for employee learning and development. This can be done in the form of training on the basics of AI, including its capabilities, limitations, and potential impact on the organisation and employees. Employees should also be trained on how to use AI tools and software that may be introduced in the workplace.

Strengthen employees’ soft skills:

Since AI will impact several industries, the type of skills required may vary according to each industry. However, when thinking about skills required to manage AI, soft skills are the most underscored. According to the CEO of Skymind, an AI startup, these skills include basic skills such as solid verbal and written communication, listening, emotional intelligence, asking questions and structuring arguments. These are indispensable skills as they cannot be performed by AI technology. Usually, the focus is on learning technical and programming skills such as Python and more. Technical requirements are undoubtedly needed for AI-connected roles; however, it is noteworthy that depending on their roles, employees will be involved to varying degrees. When it comes to soft skills, employees can benefit from them regardless of the extent of their involvement with AI technology.

Provide employees with hands-on experiences in AI:

Providing employees with hands-on experience in AI is an important step in enhancing their AI preparation. This can be done through assigning employees to AI-related projects that align with their skills and interests. These projects can include tasks such as data cleaning, feature engineering, and model building. Additionally, forming cross-functional teams that include employees from different departments to work on AI-related projects will give employees the opportunity to collaborate and learn from each other.

Now that AI is permeating several aspects of work and daily life, upskilling has become more accessible as there is an abundance of resources available. For example, many AI practitioners carry out useful educational blogs and YouTube videos. Besides many AI technology organisations have useful tutorials and libraries to jumpstart users into using their platforms.

Currently, the focus is on democratising AI and machine learning and making them accessible to the public regardless of their technical depth.

Educate employees about the advantages of automation:

According to McKinsey, at least one-third of the activities that make up a specific job could be automated. Additionally, 40% of workers surveyed reporting spending at least a quarter of their week on manual, repetitive tasks. One of the major challenges facing the adoption of automation is employees’ concerns about being replaced. However, conducting training sessions about automation can help employees understand the potential impact of automation on their jobs and the company as a whole. Since AI has the ability to collect, store, and analyse massive data sets in seconds, employees can utilise their time to work on more complex tasks.

Overall, it is inevitable that the adoption of AI will disrupt industries and change the nature of jobs. However, it will create new opportunities and ways of working that could revolutionise industries. Therefore, it is critical for companies to create a culture of learning to help employees stay engaged and motivated to learn more about the integration of AI.

Previous ArticleNext Article


The free newsletter covering the top industry headlines