From autonomous cars to virtual coaches and combatting the impact of COVID-19, artificial intelligence (AI) is rewriting the way we live, work, travel and conduct business. In fact, PwC estimates that AI could add as much as $15.7 trillion to the global economy by 2030. However, due to rapid technological advancements in AI and machine learning as a whole, there remains a significant gap in the workforce that will only continue to widen, especially now that our “normal” is creating a rapidly adapting job market.
According to the World Economic Forum, in order for businesses to create a stronger, more collaborative workplace, it is likely that at least 54 percent of employees will need to reskill or upskill for the future of work. Part of the workforce will include jobs that directly create and advance technology and the other will substantially change as a result of employees working alongside AI more frequently each day.
For employees to adapt to the new reality of AI in the workplace, there are three key areas that require special attention for frictionless advancement and successful outcomes:
Employees must be equipped with the right skills to train, develop and advance AI.
To be successful tomorrow, we must prepare today – and it starts by empowering your employees. Challenge your workforce to develop their technical skills to keep pace with an ever-changing and highly scientific environment. Oftentimes, the unique set of technical skills required is the main reason why finding talent can be challenging. Individuals must possess a strong foundation in programming and knowledge of machine learning, as well as data-centric skills across engineering, modeling and analysis subsets. Beyond this, many individuals seeking a career in the AI field need systems and services skills that allow them to not only develop the underlying algorithms but also to apply the technology within real-world settings. Those most successful in this innovative space will also have strong scientific and interpersonal skills to round it all out.
But it’s not all up to employees. Companies are responsible as well and need to create robust training and development programs, especially when introducing new technology into the workplace – e.g. on an individual level, outlining personal development tracks to be evaluated and updated quarterly. Consider hosting internal learning sessions with the goal of cultivating rich dialog on technology trends, demonstrating to employees the company is committed to advancing their skills.
People skills have never been more important and must also be a focus on employee enhancement and development.
Like any complex challenge, it takes collaboration to drive innovation. Soft skills have become more important than ever across both technical and non-technical fields, but especially in developing and deploying AI. Some of the most vital people skills include:
- Emotional Intelligence – The future of work is rooted in a strong understanding of how to improve communication. Employees need to find more ways to collaborate and leverage diversity as a way to find new solutions to challenges.
- Empathy – A building block to garnering strong human connections and finding a balance between the human-machine relationship. With strong empathetic skills, comes a more collaborative and transparent workplace able to advance technology like AI.
- Critical Thinking – Challenge why and how things are done to create a better process, product or technology. Apply curiosity to problem-solving.
- Creativity – With AI providing access to more information and more support, individuals must rethink existing challenges, find unique solutions and bring new ideas to life.
With AI and machine learning helping to automate many simple tasks, soft skills and emotional intelligence can fuel the ideation and creation of new algorithms and the advancement of existing algorithms to promote new ways of working. By building on our existing knowledge set in a way that is both creative and human-aware, AI will be able to achieve its true potential and discover new innovative ways to assist and augment humans.
Transparency about the inclusion of AI is imperative to build trust.
As we look toward the future, jobs are heavily entwined with AI and the need to demystify the elusive technology is a must. AI will impact everyone’s job in some way, shape or form and the more open communication there is from leadership and innovators around their intentions with the technologies they deploy – how it was created, how an individual’s data is being leveraged and how it will lead to long term benefits – will keep everyone on the same page moving forward. Even in its most advanced forms, AI still works best to augment individuals’ natural abilities, benefiting greatly from a human’s judgment and contextual awareness, rather than in place of it. So a balanced human-machine relationship will empower a stronger workforce for tomorrow.
AI will continue to transform the workforce, leading to an evolution of the skill sets necessary to develop and effectively work alongside these promising technological advancements. Employers and employees alike must consider how they sharpen the skills that will make them thrive in the future.