AI—is it coming for you and your job?
The honest answer is yes. Well, not coming specifically for you. But yes, your job is in the AI firing line, and I mean firing.
According to the World Economic Forum, fears of what AI can do, the slow growth of many companies and organisations and the green transition mean several million jobs will be destroyed in the next four or five years.
For example, secretaries and bank workers are probably most at risk from the AI rolling tsunami.
In its “Future of Jobs Report 2020,” the World Economic Forum estimates that 85 million jobs will be displaced while 97 million new jobs will be created across 26 countries by 2025. A few decades ago, the internet made similar concerns as it grew.
Despite scepticism, the technology created
millions of jobs and is now around 10% of all jobs in developed nations.
AI is poised to create even more significant growth in global economies today. Sixty-three per cent of CEOs believe AI will have a more substantial impact than the internet, according to PwC’s Annual Global CEO Survey.
Let’s start with your sense of optimism. Do you consider AI as an opportunity, a creative challenge?
If so, that’s a great starting point for preparing for what may happen.
If you dread what AI could do to your employability, it could negatively influence your response to it. If so, you risk making it a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Let’s take digitisation, the move to converting information into a digital format used by computers and other machines.
Again, it’s estimated that half of your current skills will need to be updated to remain employable. More than a fifth of all UK jobs (21%) will change.
To cope, you may need to enhance your education, re-skill further, and even access social support to help you manage the change.
While it’s true that AI will mean new opportunities, with the creation of millions of new roles, they may not be enough to replace those that get the chop.
As AI systems become more advanced, they will require skilled workers to develop, maintain, and manage them. This means there will be an increasing demand for individuals with expertise in AI-related fields such as data analysis, machine learning, and software engineering.
This may involve taking courses or pursuing a degree in an AI-related field. For example, universities worldwide now offer degrees in AI and related areas. Additionally, many online courses and certifications can help individuals develop the skills to work with AI.
It could be a mistake to select a new job opportunity solely on the criterion of how much you can earn. Money alone seldom proves a satisfactory basis for job selection.
A way to cope with the impact of AI is to focus on developing skills that are difficult for AI to replicate.
However, the rate of development of AI makes it hard to predict the ones that AI won’t handle well.
Hone the people skills AI imitates. While AI can display empathy, self-awareness, and creativity, it’s important to remember that this is an illusion.
People skills still belong to people. Creativity, critical thinking, and emotional intelligence seem more AI-proof and will likely continue to be in demand. Therefore, consider developing these skills through writing, art, or public speaking activities.
AI can’t disrupt our analogue work or our physical, in-person connections with each other. Carve out time to safeguard that work and those relationships.
Networking and building relationships with others in the industry can help you cope with the impact of AI. Stay updated on new developments and job opportunities by connecting with others in AI-related fields. For example, attending industry events and conferences can also provide opportunities to learn about new technologies and connect with potential employers.
Invest in your personal brand. Especially in creative fields, strong human brands will continue to be more valuable than generic AI work. Strengthen your brand by developing recognised expertise in your industry. Even if AI performs “first draft” functions, its output must be double-checked by a trusted, reliable source. If that’s you, you’ll continue to be sought out because you can vet and refine AI’s responses.
Avoid being predictable
Remember that AI isn’t generating new insights, though it may look that way. So far AI is essentially a prediction engine--though who knows how it will grow.
To stand out, it may be better if you do the opposite of what AI suggests. That way, you'll be bucking conventional wisdom, which has many personal and employer benefits.
Finally, stay open to the idea of working alongside AI. AI is not a replacement for human workers but rather a tool that can help you be more efficient and effective. Therefore, if you are willing to learn to work with AI and integrate it into your workflow, you will likely be more successful in the future job market.
While the impact of AI on the job market can be daunting, there are steps that you can take to cope with this impact and prepare for a future where AI is an integral part of the workforce.
These steps include upskilling or reskilling in AI-related fields, developing complex skills that AI cannot easily replicate, networking, and working alongside AI.
By taking these steps, you can position yourself for success in the future job market.
Will robots really steal our jobs? An international analysis of the potential long-term impact of automation, PWC, 2018,