AI at the workplace: Opportunities and Challenges

AI at the workplace: Opportunities and Challenges

As with every age of automation, an adjustment period is underway with the advent of Artificial Intelligence into the workplace. The global workforce is expected to experience significant turn between job families and functions with a net employment impact predicted of more than 5.1 million jobs lost to AI over the period of 2015-2020.

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While the true impact of the job loss is expected to be around 7.1 million jobs. Two-thirds of which are concentrated in routine white-collar office functions. The loss is softened by an expected rebound effect. The introduction of AI is expected to add 2 million jobs and computer, mathematical, architectural and engineering related fields.

Further, manufacturing and production rules are also anticipated to have relatively good potential for upskilling. Redeployment&Productivity enhancement through technology rather than pure substitutions.

Indeed, it is this aspect of AI that yields the most hope. AI intends to augment human activity rather than replace it completely. In fields such as medicine for example, AI may be able to keep categorize and segregate the 400 types of cancer as well as 75 different drugs meant to treat breast cancer and do so with speed and efficiency but it will be the physicians and their many years of training and experience that determines the treatment plan.

In finance, programs such as the popular turbotax might use algorithms to guide users in preparing their tax returns but it still requires human input and judgment to successfully complete the task.

So how do you best ensure that your job is the one enhanced rather than replaced by AI? Researchers have come up with several suggestions:

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The first is a long followed strategy for career enhancement to increase your educational level by stepping up your higher level cognitive skills further than the abilities a data crunching computer can manage. You ensure a seat on  the table. One example is the pharmaceutical startup berg which uses high-through put screening to identify potential drugs. Artificial Intelligence can detect patterns from trillions of data points suggesting that certain molecules have a potential as a medicine but it will still require a biochemist to test its viability as a pharmaceutical.

Another technique is to develop skills that are simply impossible for AI. Compassion, reading social cues or making a sale are all skills beyond the reach of AI.

They require adaptability, common sense and creativity, skills currently beyond the scope of modern programming.

Another opportunity for growth will be spotting and correcting possible computer errors that may arise. Understanding nuances and complexities will be out of reach for AI for years to come.

Accountants may pick up where tax preparation software leaves off. For example, correcting mistakes that the system or the client inadvertently create. Extreme specialization in niche services can further protect a person’s employment opportunities.

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One example cited by researchers is a woman with an encyclopedic knowledge of paper whose ability to identify the age and origin of paper by field has made her invaluable to art historians and preservationists. Finally Artificial Intelligence do not create themselves yet a programmer is still needed to find a service or solution that can be provided through automation and then develop an AI program to fill that niche.

Additionally data analysts are expected to help companies make sense and derive insights from the torrent of data generated by AI. While individuals fight to remain relevant in the age of AI automation. Governments must also play a role in ensuring citizen employment. Governments can aid citizens in implementing the above strategies by augmenting education programs to increase competency-based education. That can teach individual skills that can be completed at any stage in an employee’s career. These can be quickly designed and rolled out to keep workers prepared for their positions ever-changing needs.

Further governments can emphasize the positives of automation by creating an environment where entrepreneurship can flourish where citizens create new jobs and positions previously unheard-of. Though the path of automation will be a messy and uneven process, the remedy to the upcoming disruption is not to slow down progress but to help institutions keep up so that entrepreneurs, managers and workers alike and succeed.

AI has entered the workforce, and many are afraid of the massive job loss it will cause. This video explains the jobs and industries that will be affected the most by AI, and those who will benefit from it, the new opportunities it will create, in addition to governments’ role in ensuring citizens’ employment.

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