Artificial Intelligence: the bane or brilliance of your future career?

One thing is for sure: Artificial Intelligence is going to affect everybody in the working world one way or another. People are forming two camps of preparation: one which holds that jobs will be lost and devastation will result; and those who believe that jobs will merely be redesigned to meet the needs that re-engineering business processes will bring about.

The value of AI should not be overlooked in the changing structures of jobs. Productivity stands to be majorly improved through the automation of some tasks to increase benefits of other human-focused tasks within the same job. After all, the ultimate purpose of the introduction of AI is to deliver faster and better service to customers. However the value of employees as the custodians of these processes is still vital; systems need to deliver business value in an efficient and ethical way. Jobs can actually be elevated by AI, driving more leadership roles and highlighting the importance of the interface between product/service and the client.

Changing perspectives

Many existing jobs may be disrupted but not lost. And simultaneously AI is going to present vast opportunities for new types of jobs to be generated. It’s nothing new. Different levels of work have changed throughout history – businesses, endeavours, jobs have come and gone over time like the thousands of species that have lived on the planet. Humans will do what they’ve always done to survive – they will adapt. When television arrived, we thought it was the end of radio, but it certainly wasn’t. The number of thriving radio stations worldwide are a testament to that.

  • While some things have diminished through the arrival of the Internet, like newspapers for example, many more new jobs and businesses have arisen from the surge of engagement the net has produced.
  • Since inception, thousands of companies worth billions of dollars have spilled into the market, spawning dozens of new careers. And it will be no different with Artificial Intelligence. The trick would be timeous preparation. And whether you would be ready in time, or even willing to change.
  • An important point which those who believe in the doom of AI seem to forget, is that a burgeoning population is going to make room for both AI and the blossoming of offshoot jobs. More and more services are going to be required by a growing tech-hungry public wanting speed, security and effective delivery. Even with this perspective in mind, the jobs that AI will create in the future are not even in our imagination at present.
  • But whichever way we turn the dial on predictions, one thing is sure: the balanced nuance of communication, extra mile service, a smile, language, warmth, genuine emotion, and the agility of ideas to get to grips with problems and find innovative solutions – in short everything about the human mind that evinces empathy and connection – are still going to be of prime value. Dull, routine, repetitive jobs may be lost, but thinking jobs and emotional input is vital currency that will never be lost.

How will you prepare?

Pessimistic statements have proclaimed that nearly 50% of jobs will be lost to technology. That reality may be well on the way. Jobs may be gone but the people are still there, and they’re still working – just at something else. There will always be opportunities for those who have the perspicacity to learn, adapt and refocus. Prepare now, and AI may not be the disaster people predict. Tasks will change, but results will still need to be effected.

People may be freed up to work in different ways to be of greater service, and may better enjoy the greater complexities of a job. And in fact, new services will come to the fore.

  • Will you have to be innovative? Yes.
  • Must you be prepared to study new stuff no matter how long you’ve been in your job? Yes.
  • Should you look ahead and evaluate your job against possible submergence in new technological advancement? Yes.

Advanced tech may bring with it greater complications, meaning only those with the right talents and training may succeed. This has some truth to it – those who have not been blessed with a good education may certainly struggle to find their feet in this new world. But that is not the whole story. Initially this may be the impact, but the opportunities to learn and engage outweigh the darker side of AI.

The skills gap should drive new impetus to train and learn tasks that may require more intellect than the jobs people currently have. AI can only be of benefit if people are persuaded to investigate, evaluate and adapt through learning new digital skills. In this way, AI stands to better lives, create jobs and raise wages. AI will create more need, and wherever there is need, there will be work.

So where do you fit in with the changing dynamics? Are you the ‘wait and see’ kind of person? Or would you prefer to dive right in and avail yourself of the knowledge already out there?

Take your lead from current innovators

Companies are already integrating new AI-related strategies:

  • creating teams to drive the digital transformation in their enterprises
  • defining strategies for AI transformation
  • evaluating the readiness of their workforces for robotic disruption
  • setting measurable objectives for transformation
  • redefining production processes
  • investing in the communication need to effectively initiate and manage the new approaches.

Fears are gradually dissipating under new excitement. The possibilities are becoming visible. No matter the level of automation that the future may bring, humans will always be required in both established fields and new innovations. Humans and technology are perfectly developed to work together. If you are aware of the changes and the repercussions, you are both forewarned and forearmed. So, there’s nothing to stop you from making yourself ready for a brilliant career.


Nov 14, 2019 | Vuk’uzenzele

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