Monday, July 22, 2024

BALANCING AI AND WORKFORCE: 9 PRONGED STRATEGY TO REDUCE JOB LOSS

In October 2014, Elon Musk said, “I think we should be very careful about artificial intelligence. If I had to guess at what our biggest existential threat is, it’s probably that.”

10 years later, January 2024 – The IMF’s recent analysis discloses that almost 40% of jobs worldwide are exposed to the influence of AI. Advanced economies are more susceptible to disruptions compared to emerging markets and developing economies. Around 60% of jobs in advanced economies may face challenges due to AI impact. Nevertheless, the analysis recognizes the potential for AI to complement human work, enhancing productivity in approximately half of the affected jobs.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is progressively shaping the global economy, presenting both opportunities and threats. In straightforward terms, AI’s impact is significant, touching a considerable portion of the global job market. Advanced economies, in particular, confront a higher risk of job implications, underscoring the imperative need for strategic policies to navigate these transformative changes.

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The latest Stephen Hawking, Theoretical Physicist once said, “The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race.”

So how must India and the world prepare to counter this biggest challenge to the work force and its masses?

Dr Harsha Vardhana Singh, for DDG, World Trade Organization writes to me, “Major markets face challenges in finding qualified individuals for essential tasks, prompting a critical investigation into this workforce gap. The OECD notes that labor shortages were evident in developed economies even pre-COVID-19. Manpower Group’s 2020 report highlights areas with shortages, including skilled trades, sales, IT, engineering, and healthcare. The “Future of Jobs Report 2023″ emphasizes the need for government intervention, with 45% of businesses seeing skills training funding as an effective means to connect talent with employment. Addressing these shortages is vital for sustained economic growth and industry resilience.”

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So how are we going to go about this?

For that we have AI expert and economist Dr. S N Reddy writing to us in elaborate steps as below from London. He shares his Eight-Pronged Strategy to balance AI at work places. for our deeper understanding he has divided each step into five factors:

–What needs to be done? 

–Who should be involved?

–When should this happen? 

–Where should the focus be? 

–Why is this important? 

–How can this be achieved? 

Workforce Transformation 1

NINE PRONGED STRATEGY TO BALANCE AI AND WORKFORCE

1. Investing in Reskilling and Upskilling

According to a World Economic Forum report, by 2025, around 40% of workers will require reskilling due to the adoption of AI and automation in the workplace.

To tackle the challenges brought about by AI, a crucial step is investing in reskilling and upskilling initiatives. Who should be involved? Employers and educational institutions need to collaborate to design and implement robust programs. What needs to be done? These programs should equip individuals with the skills necessary to adapt to evolving job requirements influenced by AI. When should this happen? Continuous investment in these initiatives is needed to keep the workforce abreast of technological advancements. Where should the focus be? The focus should be on providing relevant skills aligned with the demands of AI-driven industries. Why is this important? It’s vital to empower individuals to navigate the changing job landscape and thrive in the age of AI. How can this be achieved? By creating an environment that encourages a culture of continuous learning and development.

2. Promoting Lifelong Learning Initiatives

A survey by PwC found that 77% of CEOs are concerned about the availability of key skills in their workforce, emphasizing the need for continuous learning initiatives.

To address the challenges posed by AI, promoting lifelong learning initiatives is essential. Who should be involved? Both employers and individuals should actively participate in these initiatives. What needs to be done? There is a need to foster a culture that encourages ongoing education and skills development throughout an individual’s career. When should this happen? Continuous learning should be encouraged throughout one’s professional journey to stay abreast of technological advancements. Where should the focus be? The focus should be on creating an environment that supports and values continuous learning. Why is this important? It’s crucial to adapt to the evolving demands of the workforce influenced by AI. How can this be achieved? By establishing programs and resources that facilitate ongoing education and skills enhancement.

3. Collaboration Between Industry and Education

In a study by McKinsey, 64% of executives indicated that they believe there is a skills gap in their company, highlighting the importance of collaboration between industries and educational institutions.

Addressing the impact of AI requires enhanced collaboration between industry and education. Who should be involved? Industries and educational institutions need to collaborate closely. What needs to be done? Curricula should be designed collaboratively to ensure alignment with the skills demanded by the job market influenced by AI. When should this happen? This collaboration needs to be ongoing to adapt to changing industry needs. Where should the focus be? The focus should be on bridging the gap between academic knowledge and practical industry requirements. Why is this important? It’s crucial to prepare individuals for the evolving job landscape influenced by AI. How can this be achieved? By fostering partnerships that facilitate dialogue and collaboration between academia and industry.

Workforce Transformation 2

4. Creating Supportive Work Environments

Research by Accenture suggests that AI could increase employment by 10% by 2025, emphasizing the potential for AI to create new job roles and opportunities within supportive work environments.

In the face of AI advancements, developing supportive work environments is imperative. Who should be involved? Employers and organizations are responsible for creating such environments. What needs to be done? Job roles should be redesigned to emphasize the unique strengths of both humans and AI, fostering a harmonious coexistence. When should this happen? This redesign should be an ongoing process to adapt to the evolving role of AI in the workforce. Where should the focus be? The focus should be on ensuring that the integration of AI enhances, rather than replaces, human capabilities. Why is this important? It’s essential to create workplaces that leverage the strengths of both humans and AI. How can this be achieved? By adopting flexible work structures and promoting a collaborative approach to tasks that involve both humans and AI.

5. Implementing Responsible AI Practices

A survey by Deloitte found that 73% of executives believe that ethical considerations will become more important as AI and automation become more widespread.

Mitigating concerns related to AI requires the implementation of responsible practices. Who should be involved? Organizations and developers involved in creating and deploying AI technologies need to take responsibility. What needs to be done? Practices should prioritize ethical considerations, transparency, and fairness in AI deployment. When should this happen? Responsible practices should be integrated into AI development and deployment processes from the outset. Where should the focus be? The focus should be on ensuring that AI is deployed ethically across industries. Why is this important? It’s crucial to build trust in AI technologies and avoid potential biases. How can this be achieved? By establishing guidelines and standards that promote ethical AI practices.

6. Establishing Social Safety Nets

The International Labour Organization (ILO) estimates that by 2023, 50 million jobs may be lost due to automation, necessitating the implementation of effective social safety nets.

To support workers facing job displacement due to AI, establishing social safety nets is crucial. Who should be involved? Governments, in collaboration with businesses, need to design and implement these safety nets. What needs to be done? Programs should include unemployment benefits, retraining initiatives, and financial assistance to ease the transition into new employment opportunities. When should this happen? Safety nets should be in place to address immediate concerns and facilitate a smooth transition. Where should the focus be? The focus should be on providing support for individuals affected by job displacement due to AI. Why is this important? It’s essential to ensure a fair and supportive environment for those undergoing career changes due to AI. How can this be achieved? Through collaborative efforts between government bodies, businesses, and educational institutions.

Workforce Transformation 3

7. Encouraging Entrepreneurship and Innovation

According to a report by GlobalData, the AI market is expected to reach $190 billion by 2025, indicating substantial opportunities for entrepreneurship and innovation in AI-related ventures.

In the age of AI, fostering entrepreneurship and innovation is key. Who should be involved? Governments, business leaders, and educational institutions play critical roles. What needs to be done? An environment that encourages entrepreneurial endeavors and innovation should be cultivated. When should this happen? Ongoing efforts are required to stimulate a culture of entrepreneurship and innovation. Where should the focus be? The focus should be on creating opportunities for the emergence of new businesses and job roles. Why is this important? It’s crucial for adapting to the changing economic landscape influenced by AI. How can this be achieved? By providing support, resources, and incentives for entrepreneurial ventures and innovative initiatives.

8. Government Policies and Regulations

A Gartner survey indicates that by 2023, 75% of organizations will have a Chief Trust Officer responsible for building and maintaining trust in the AI systems deployed, emphasizing the growing role of regulatory frameworks.

Adapting to AI challenges necessitates adaptive government policies and regulations. Who should be involved? Governments and regulatory bodies are central to this process. What needs to be done? Policies and regulations should be formulated to guide responsible AI use, ensure fair labor practices, and incentivize workforce development. When should this happen? Continuous adjustments are needed to align policies with the evolving challenges posed by AI. Where should the focus be? The focus should be on creating an environment that supports ethical AI deployment and addresses workforce implications. Why is this important? It’s essential to provide a regulatory framework that balances technological advancements with ethical considerations. How can this be achieved? By fostering ongoing dialogue and collaboration between government bodies, industries, and AI experts.

9. Public-Private Partnerships

The European Commission has invested €20 billion in AI research and innovation, fostering public-private partnerships to address challenges and promote responsible AI development.

Collaborative efforts through public-private partnerships are essential in addressing the impact of AI on the workforce. Who should be involved? Governments, businesses, and civil society should collaborate through partnerships. What needs to be done? Joint initiatives should be developed to address challenges and create comprehensive solutions. When should this happen? Continuous collaboration is necessary to adapt strategies to evolving workforce dynamics. Where should the focus be? The focus should be on pooling diverse perspectives and expertise to create effective

Summing up, it all boils down to Malcolm X (a prominent civil rights activist) once saying, “Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.” 

And we of course cannot beat AI, but as per an African proverb, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together!”

IMAGE COURTESY: FREEPIK.COM

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Mahima Sharma
Mahima Sharma
Mahima Sharma is an Independent Senior Journalist based in Delhi NCR known for her multi-niche news reach. She has been in the field of TV, Print & Online Journalism since 2005 (earlier additional three years in the allied media). With a rich professional history at CNN-News18, ANI - Asian News International (in collaboration with Reuters), Voice of India, and Hindustan Times, Mahima is also the Founder & Editor of The Think Pot. Recipient of various awards for different works beyond journalism as well, Mahima Sharma was conferred with the REX Karmaveer Chakra (Silver) 2023, presented by iCONGO in partnership with the United Nations. Known for her Digital Media Strategy skills, in 2022 she was assigned the pivotal role of Entrepreneurship Education Mentor at Women Will, a Google-backed program in collaboration with SHEROES.

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