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How AI is changing the game for the workforce of the future

Picking up a newspaper, flipping through its pages or scrolling down through news feeds, one can easily spot headlines with AI and its expected effects on the future of work. Being a hot topic, articles centred on it cater to both general and industry-specific audiences. However, what exactly is AI, and how does it relate to the future of work?

The definition of AI

AI stands for Artificial Intelligence, which is not just one technology but an assemblage of various emerging technologies. These technologies may range from Machine Learning, Robotics, and Natural Language Processing (NLP), among others. When combined, these technologies enable machines to perform tasks that would have otherwise required human intervention. This includes perceptual, cognitive, and physical tasks, all of which point to the possibility of machines being capable of learning, adapting, and making decisions.

The relationship between AI and the future of work

The discussion on the future of work has been one that has been ongoing for years, but with AI, the conversation has taken a new form. People are wondering whether AI will take over their jobs or whether it will be the force pushing companies to drive growth, increase productivity, and boost efficiency. The answer to this question is complex but interdependent.

On one hand, AI has the potential to transform the workplace by automating various tasks, streamlining processes, and making a workforce more efficient. This will allow humans to focus on more important tasks, enhancing creativity in the workplace. Only challenges that could limit its effectiveness are the need for huge investments required to integrate and modify current infrastructure and training employees with new skills that will be required.

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On the other hand, some people believe that AI could replace human jobs on a massive scale. Studies reveal that 1 in 3 jobs in developed countries might potentially be automated^1. This is a fear that is not unfounded, given the possibilities of machines performing tasks faster, cheaper, and, in some cases, more effectively than humans. However, it is essential to point out that this will not necessarily translate to complete job loss, but rather a strategic and necessary shift in the workforce to meet new demands.

Real-life examples of AI and the future of work

As AI becomes a prevalent trend in the business world, various job roles will evolve, while others may be replaced altogether. Below are a few examples of how AI is shaping the future of work.

– Retail: Retail is becoming one of the sectors most affected by AI technologies. Already, chatbots and virtual assistants have begun replacing some customer service tasks. Additionally, companies like Amazon and Walmart are experimenting with autonomous delivery drones that could revolutionize their distribution operations.

– Finance: AI will greatly impact the finance sector, especially in customer support and risk assessment. AI’s predictive capabilities make it possible to assess customers’ creditworthiness, reducing the need for an entire department to perform the function. Similarly, accounting functions such as bookkeeping and auditing will largely become automated.

– Manufacturing: The increasing automation of manufacturing processes means that robots and machines will replace human workers, allowing for the realization of economies of scale and increasing accuracy on the factory floor.

The future of work in the AI era

The future of work is uncertain, but one thing is for sure: AI technologies are here to stay. As humans, we have always adapted to new technological advances, and this will be no different. Instead, we should embrace change by learning new skills and adapting to new methods of work.

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Additionally, employers should focus on ensuring their employees have the necessary training to remain relevant in the ever-changing business landscape. This should include not only technical training but also the development of interpersonal and creative thinking skills.

In conclusion, the future of work with AI is indeed exciting, but comes with its share of challenges. As humans, we are wired to adapt and improve our lives through innovation. As we plunge deeper into the AI era, we must embrace our ability to adapt to maximize AI’s benefits and leverage them to create a better future for us all.

Sources

1. Frey, C.B. and Osborne, M.A. (2017).The future of employment: How susceptible are jobs to computerisation? Technological Forecasting and Social Change.

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