The World Economic Forum projected that by 2025, about 85 million jobs would be replaced by machines powered by artificial intelligence (AI). AI has become all the rage for researchers and enterprises, and the best of how much intelligence can be injected into machines is yet to be discovered. In the HR space, AI continues to be not only a major trend but a disruptive one. On the one hand, AI has been adopted to streamline hiring decisions and make the process efficient for recruiters. On the other hand, there is widespread fear that AI and automation will render many people jobless across industries, especially roles related to customer service, manufacturing, and others.
However, the same report by The World Economic Forum projects that 97 million jobs will be created by 2025 due to AI technology. In an era where technology is constantly evolving, the workforce must quickly adapt to changes in the workplace and maintain their employability through upskilling, reskilling, or cross-skilling, whichever works best in their specific situations. Whether or not an IT professional should undertake an AI program is today not a matter worth debating but a necessity. This is because the demand for AI skills, not just technical but also interpersonal skills, across various industries is high and continues to rise.
The advantages of AI
We know that AI will transform the workforce in many ways. The world’s small and large enterprises alike have their keen attention on how they can implement AI, not to replace but to complement and/or empower the human workforce.
AI presents several benefits, including:
- Less human error
It is natural for humans to make mistakes as they undertake their roles. Machines, on the other hand, cannot make mistakes unless as a result of a provisioning error. Computers execute tasks accurately as programmed in the code. Thus, AI saves businesses the operating costs related to human errors.
- Increases productivity
The average human can work productively for 4-6 straight hours a day. When humans get tired, and this affects the quality and productivity of their work, AI systems can execute tasks throughout while delivering consistent quality and productivity. For instance, AI chatbots have been widely adopted as they have proved more effective in delivering 24-hours customer support.
- Automation of mundane tasks
One of the most significant benefits of AI is to take over mundane tasks such as data entry, document verification, email sending, and others and execute them faster and more productively. This frees humans to focus on innovation, problem-solving, and the development of creative solutions to business problems.
For instance, AI has been applied in financial institutions to verify documents to speed up the process of issuing credit facilities.
- AI-powered machines have taken over dangerous tasks
AI has also been employed to handle such dangerous tasks as mining, certain factory work, machine assembly, and others that expose humans to risks of injury and health hazards. In addition, AI yields higher efficiency in such processes. For this reason, the manufacturing industry has significantly benefited from AI technology in tasks such as product design and development and predictive maintenance and optimization of production facilities.
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How will AI transform the nature of jobs?
Although it is true that roles like office, administration, system administration, and other routine white-collar roles may be replaced, AI will technically not cause massive job loss. It will only demand that employees reinvent themselves to maintain their employability in the years to come. Advancements in technology have made some skills redundant as others are being created, and this evolution is happening fast.
Here is how AI may disrupt the workforce
- Higher demand for 21st-century skills
The demand for 21st-century skills like critical thinking, creative thinking, and problem-solving is set to rise. This is because there is a human aspect that is too complex and almost impossible to entirely be replaced by intelligent machines. Humans invented AI, and they will still be needed to advance AI technology and its sub-branches to its maturity.
- Humans value human interaction
It may be very challenging to delegate human aspects, particularly the 4 Cs (creative thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity) as well as such traits as empathy, moral judgment, intuition, and technology management to machines. This is because many roles still thrive on real human interactions built on trust, empathy, and compassion. AI systems are designed to handle the technical aspects and not such human aspects of the roles. Ultimately, a special collaboration between humans and intelligent machines.
Also, while AI may facilitate faster data-driven decision-making, it may not replace human intuition in strategic planning. Therefore employees who are well acquainted with AI technology will be in a better position to manage decision-making effectively.
- The emergence of collaborative intelligence
This will then push humans and AI machines to join forces in what is known as collaborative intelligence.
To implement collaborative intelligence, enterprises will require to remodel their business processes, develop human-machine interfaces on which humans will interact with smart machines, and delegate tasks to improve productivity. For this reason, businesses must reinvent various functions and train employees who can:
- Work at the human-machine interfaces
- Use their distinctive human skills on smart machines to yield better outcomes
- Teach intelligent agents new skills
- Ensure that high-level security, privacy policies, and best practices are complied with to
keep the company’s information systems and data safe
Intelligent machine agents can, in turn, take on technical and repetitive tasks such as information collection, data processing and analysis, and other repetitive physical tasks.
The future may seem uncertain for many, thanks to the advancement of AI technology. Yet enterprises cannot wish off the impact of technology on their business operations. AI has disrupted business operations in many so many ways that most businesses are considering leveraging this novel technology to enhance efficiency, productivity, and innovation. Some roles will definitely be replaced by automation and AI, as others are being created. To remain relevant, it is important to plan your future career with technology in mind. Both enterprises and individuals need to consider upskilling and reskilling to acquire AI and other technology-related skills.