Can there be a “jobless future”?
Can there be a job advertisement in future which will say,” Humans need not apply “.
Before we answer this question and create scenarios, it is important to understand the role of Intelligence and its Linkage to modern jobs. Intelligence is the ability to acquire and apply knowledge and skills to solve complex problems and create outcomes which benefits or comforts us. But who has made humans Intelligent?
In the evolutionary perspective, it is the human brain which did so and differentiated us from other species by acquiring outstanding cognitive capabilities e.g., abstract thinking, creativity, storytelling, and language. This happened because the brain evolved and stayed flexible for learning, experimentation, and analysis through firing, forging, and connecting the 100 billion neurons it has, thus making our brain the most efficient and experiential working machine on planet earth. It is the same human intelligence, which has now created its own competition or alter ego- The artificial Intelligence. This is a scenario where machines and computers learn, reason and work like us.
Artificial Intelligence or AI is based on machine learning and neural network driven deep learning. AI is a stacked layers of algorithms which mimics the behavior of human brain by allowing the computer program to recognize patterns, make analysis, solve problems, and self-learn on the way. A non-technical, short definition of Artificial Intelligence would be the technology which enables systems to acquire cognitive functions along with adaptive and learning capabilities leading to self- improvement.
Hence, Artificial Intelligence perform actions like humans in a faster, economic, and super-efficient manner. AI allows digital devices to perceive their environment, analyze the data, and take intentional actions to achieve given goals. So, while humans need a much-needed holiday from work, AI can work relentlessly, forever.
What does this lead us to??
This leads to AI disrupting the job scenario by bringing in superior economic value and untiring productivity. AI is already making compelling stories and converting text into images, drawing unique art, and translating languages apart from speaking i t with r ight accent. AI is analyzing with accuracy, X-rays, and MRIs, predicting stock graphs, unfolding proteins for drug discovery, and making chatbots more useful and interactive.
AI is creating ubiquitous impact in Transportation, Finance, Citizen services, social media, Education, Entertainment, Space exploration, Agriculture, Robotics and Gaming. Some version of AI is already in found in most of the professions and general industry. This disruption is drive by a paradigm shift in AI where it has moved from algorithmic intelligence to machine learning and fast upgrading to superior intelligence driven by Neural networks.
AI models start their Learning by getting trained on data feeds and scale up on foundational models to create vertical use cases which are tunable. The models progress in competence at tremendous pace. AI is also capable of passing on the gained competence to infinite number of non-human nodes through the medium of cloud. There is practically no silo in AI and hence scale is humongous. With the advent of Generative AI and its possible and powerful successors the game has further changed.
A recent report by Goldman Sachs predicted alarming possibilities when it comes to AI and its impact on jobs. The report mentions that two-thirds of jobs in the U.S. and Europe and close to 300 million jobs worldwide can be exposed to new AI tools. The report also notes that one-fourth of all work being done could be replaced by generative AI. A similar report by Mckinsey Global Institute indicates that automation can displace around 400 million workers which is 15% of global workforce by 2030 in a midpoint scenario. The world economic forum predicts that nearly 25% of jobs are set to be disrupted in next five years and AI will play a key role.
So, if this is a possibility then what is the method to foolproof and stay relevant. It is to be mentioned that work continues to be a leading indicator of our Purpose and unless we fundamentally change our purpose, right to work and capacity to work will be sensitive themes. Let us focus on six headlines which can help us to stay invested in the work arena.
AI is very good at analyzing data and recognizing patterns. Unless AI gains sentience which still looks far, it cannot experience sensations and feelings. Humans bring in experience to deal with human teams and human situation and possess empathy. This is a valuable trait in era of hybrid working. As humans we have evolved to respond to emotions and caring about what others think and feel make us unique. Developing this kind of essential empathy can be a vital strategy to differentiate yourself in the age of AI. Don’t be full of yourself.
You don’t need to be a computer engineer or super coder to leverage AI. Ultimately it will not be AI but a person with AI skills who will replace you. Get skilled in AI tools and applications. Most of this can be easily learnt and is available for consumption. Discipline and Hunger for learning can set you apart. With this upskilling, you can stay relevant in coming years is to experiment with different AI tools. You should also explore how successful business owners and marketers use these tools to their advantage. Stay curious. AI is not currently curious.
Connect with other professionals and stay visible professionally on digital platforms. Learn from experts, pick up a mentor and follow the thought leaders of your industry. This is an easy way to stay up to date with the latest trends in your industry. You can also share your perspective in your posts and add value to your personal brand.
First there is sight and then there is insight. Originality and capacity to decipher future trends is a critical skill which can differentiate you. AI connects past dots that it is presented with and currently it does not have agency to conceive a future. Insights are cultivated with gaining of deeper skills, seeking the unknown and be ready to accept the alternate view. Achieve excellence and expertise in your field or industry. Keep on upskilling and upgrading yourself.
Aim to develop adaptability as a core skill. AI is going to disrupt the workplace, so it is important that you are capable of pivoting with agility and not get bogged down by uncertainties. If you are adaptable, you can rewire yourself to learn modern technologies to stay attractive in the job market. Adaptable means staying open to feedback as well. Also cultivate a mindset of Growth over a mindset of scarcity.
Data is the new oil. It can provide us with actionable insights. New work force will have to work with data as it can help in analysis, efficiency and support problem solving. So, investing in Data literacy can be a very effective investment. People who can work with data can talk with content and get differentiated. Data literacy is key skill needed to work with AI tools.
It is also interesting to know that while AI can disrupt jobs there are other trends which will also create net positive jobs. Companies which are making green transition and focusing on environmental, social and governance standards are expected to generate more jobs than conventional companies. Driven by the fallout of Covid-19, Health is also a fertile ground for rapid jobs along with sectors of agriculture, cybersecurity, and education.
So currently Future of Jobs is at cross-roads, but you can steer this well, if you are ready to cope with change and change yourself towards a renewed program of self-development and self -assessment.
ABOUT THE AUTHORSudhir Tiku is an Automation expert, AI enthusiast and a Certified Futurist and works for a Global MNC in Singapore. He has over two decades of professional experience in the industry and is a regular at TEDx on Topic of Artificial Intelligence and its impact. Sudhir Tiku has graduated from Regional Engineering college, Kurukshetra with Electronics and Communications as his Major and is a Postgraduate in Finance from NMIMS, Mumbai. He is a badge holder in Ethics of AI from the London School of Economics and Political Science. He has certifications on AI Leadership from MIT Sloan school of Management.