What skills will workers need in the age of AI?
Work is changing rapidly, technology makes us change the traditional way of working but is it real that one day robots are going to replace us at work or are we just going to have to adapt and benefit from them?
A report from the World Economic Forum suggests that while 75 million jobs may be displaced globally by a shift in the division of labor between humans and machines in the next five years, 133 million new roles may emerge that can be better suited to this division. This means that we could see 58 million new jobs created in just half a decade.
But then we have another question to ask ourselves, what will these new roles look like and what skills will workers need in the age of AI?
Simply put, the power of AI lies in its ability to automate tasks. Today, companies are already implementing AI to take on mundane, repetitive, or simply time-consuming responsibilities.
AI algorithms can find, process and produce valuable information from data at lightning speed. This is an advantage since it generally does it with much greater precision than humans; in fact, human error can often be a great cost to companies.
Chatbots are a simple example of how AI can overcome basic functions. From retailers to banks to real estate agents, companies spanning different industries are employing these digital assistants to perform important customer service tasks. Based on the vast amount of data they have access to, they are now often the first port of call for customers seeking answers to standard questions.
But it is not so easy to substitute human labor. AI can't function without human supervision either, which means we need people who can interpret the results, maintain its performance, and intervene if something goes wrong.
STEM skills will be vital in enabling people to take on the jobs that will emerge from AI and automation. AI cannot exist without good data. Consequently, those working with this technology must be adept at interpreting data, finding patterns within it, and identifying which data sets would be useful for AI training. Data literacy skills will also allow workers to spot problems with AI and find solutions to ensure it works as efficiently as possible.
Data analysts and scientists, software and application developers, and e-commerce and social media specialists are just a few of the many roles that will grow in importance in the coming times.
However, we cannot expect all of us to become data scientists. Paradoxically, automation will also increase the need for "soft" skills. Humans will be left with responsibilities that require problem solving, social and emotional response, and creative thinking.
In fact, the same report suggests that we will begin to see doors open for roles that require more distinctive "human" skills. These include positions such as customer service workers, human resource specialists, and innovation managers.
Qualities such as empathy, adaptability, and leadership remain clearly important assets that people bring to business.