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What Does AI Really Mean for the Future of Work?

Posted:
27 July 2022   |   by Explore Careers
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Whenever we talk about the future of work, there’s one question that inevitably comes up:

“But won’t robots and AI just be taking over all our jobs in the future?”

It’s not a stupid question to ask (we’ve all seen the movies, right?!).

But aside from Hollywood’s fascination with AI, many people have parents or grandparents whose jobs have been scaled back or lost altogether through technological developments in the workplace.

So, is AI taking over all our jobs?

This Day of AI, we wanted to explore the topic further and see if we could answer the question once and for all.

What is the Day of AI?

The Day of AI was developed by i2Learning and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to introduce students to the knowledge and skills needed to thrive in a world complimented and powered by AI.

It’s been running for a while in the US and recently launched in Australia, with the 27th of July dedicated to learning, awareness, and activities that support our understanding of AI.

As part of the day, there are activities available to help as many as possible get involved. Activities are free, designed to be easily delivered (you don’t need a tech background), and accessible for students of all abilities.

So, Will AI Be Taking Over the Workplace?

Film and television have long explored the idea of what will happen to humanity once AI is at the point of doing everything for us!

But how close are we to having robots take our jobs, and what’s currently happening in the world of work regarding AI and employment?

Research from Tidio – a communication service for businesses that actively incorporates AI into their processes – found some pretty interesting results. They surveyed 1200 people focusing on three core areas:

  1. What form should AI take to inspire our trust?
  2. What responsibilities are we willing to delegate to artificial intelligence?
  3. Which professions will be automated by machines and AI software?

3 Findings About AI & Work

Tidio’s survey revealed people are open to AI in their daily lives and don’t mind having AI help with everyday tasks and decision-making.

But there are still concerns about the risks of AI and what it will mean in the workplace:

1. University graduates are more concerned than most.

69% of college graduates believe AI will take their job or make them irrelevant in the coming years. This is compared with 55% of other respondents who were less concerned.

Graduates today face more concerns about work, their careers and getting started overall, so it is no surprise that AI would also factor into their worries.

2. AI will replace some jobs, and more jobs are expected to decrease.

Cashiers (63% of respondents), drivers (51%), and translators (42%) were named as the professions most likely to be taken over by AI technology.

Police officers, doctors, therapists and lawyers were four of the top voted professions most likely to be the least impacted by AI disruptions.

Survey respondents also felt that roles such as artists and musicians were the top two careers least likely to be impacted by AI.

Images via Tidio

3. People are more worried about the negative impact of AI on the job market than the fair treatment of robots.

32% of respondents don’t feel that robot rights are something we should be worried about and see it as one of the least important issues about AI, robots and the future of work.

Looking to the Future

There are definitely pros and cons to AI and robots integrating into our daily lives. Before you think it’s all cons, the World Economic Forum has some pretty encouraging data to think about here.

In a recent report, they advised:

  • Around 85 million jobs will be replaced by AI or other technology by 2025.
  • 97 million jobs will be created to help support, manage and work alongside AI and technology.
  • There will be an increased need for specific people-centred roles (think mental health practitioners, teachers, aged-care and early education).

The question is, no longer will AI take our jobs, but how can we meet the demand for new roles with new skills, and how will organisations support and enable workers to take up these positions?

A range of roles are already emerging around AI, including:

  • AI Trainers
  • AI Capabilities related roles such as computational intelligence and machine learning
  • Data Science Services & Support
  • Mathematics
  • Psychology, linguistics and neuroscience

What It All Means For You

We recently caught up with Dr Ben Hamer, Future of Work Lead at PwC, who gave us some fantastic advice and insights into this area:

“When we talk about automation, we’ve found that tasks get automated, not entire occupations. Looking ahead to the next ten years, we may see 5% of roles disappear, but more than 5% of jobs are created – so we’ll see more jobs, not less.”

Ben goes on to say:

“The kind of work we do in jobs today will shift over time to focus on what makes us uniquely human. Boring, process-driven and administration work – that’s the type of work that will be automated.”

So, what does all that mean for you right now? Well, it comes down to how you’re thinking about your skills and what this means in the long term. Here’s Ben again:

“We’ve seen that every five years, skills are changed by about 37% in terms of what’s needed for roles. It’s not something you just need to think about in high school to prepare for work; it’s something you need to focus on throughout your entire career to stay up to date.”

In the classroom, focusing on your innate skills and exploring how work can be fulfilling for them is a core way to uncover what work could mean and look like for you. When you think about your skills, also think about discovering ways to transition between jobs and match skills across different industries.

We can’t tell you that AI and technology aren’t going to create significant changes, but we can give you everything you need to feel empowered, capable, agile and creative to go after the career you want in the ways that work for you.

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