Artificial Intelligence: an essential skill in the jobs of the future
We are living in times of change, a turning point in our history that seems to touch upon all aspects of life, stepping into the new normal. Nobody can deny that the advances in matters of science and technology have had a lot to do with the great changes we are witnessing, making the need to adapt increasingly clear.
In this vein, one of the topics that has become a recurring theme around the world is artificial intelligence (AI) and its huge potential to transform modern society. In fact, we could state that right now the foundations are being laid for AI to become an essential job skill in the immediate future.
AI: A threat to the future of employment or a reason for hope?
In the coming years it is hoped that we will have a role to play in a variety of changes in nearly all aspects of human life. Many of these changes will be brought about by advances in artificial intelligence, up to the point where it is possible to predict some of the main applications that this technology will be used for in the near future.
That said, isn’t artificial intelligence the cause behind the worst futuristic scenarios? Cinema and science fiction have taken it upon themselves to present AI as the worst threat to human beings. Who hasn’t bitten their nails on seeing the threat of HAL, the murderous computer in the film 2001: A Space Odyssey? Not to mention movies such as I, Robot and Surrogates. In those films, a common man fights against computer software and armies of robots attempting to enslave or exterminate humanity.
But beyond the science fiction, in reality the use of machine learning is key to achieving substantial improvements in various aspects of our society over the next five years. AI can revolutionize areas such as medicine, learning methods, computer security systems and the manufacture of new materials for clean technologies, according to a report by the Spanish Association of Manufacturers and Distributors (Asociación Española de Fabricantes y Distribuidores).
In this article from 2010 Garry Kasparov shares his experience of competing with a machine
Introducing AI into everyday life and its implications
All of this means that within five years, the advances in artificial intelligence will clearly and necessarily be introduced into a growing number of people’s daily lives For example, its applications in medicine will enable more accurate diagnoses to be made faster; so much so that not even the medical staff or patients will run the risk of coming to a wrong conclusion due to human error.
Even so, all of this also means that we have under five years to provide an entire generation with the professional training necessary to work shoulder to shoulder with the advances in artificial intelligence. Indeed, it is not about AI doing all the work for us; rather, it is about acquiring the knowledge and skills to work together with it.
Human beings working with AI: the centaur
We are not exaggerating when we say that AI is going to be an essential skill in future employment. This is where the concept known as a centaur (in other words, collaboration between human and artificial intelligence) becomes important. Instead of competing with each other, the human and the algorithm will join forces for a common purpose.
According to the website Xataka in its article The best thing about artificial intelligence will be AI working with man, and not the machine alone’ the key to making the best possible use of AI involves recognising its huge potential to carry out specific tasks and activities of a routine nature like data processing, and to do so much more effectively than the human mind.
On the other hand, we human beings are very good at processes that involve creativity and which require different ideas to be connected up to each other. By collaborating together, man and machine will open up the door to what we might call “augmented intelligence”, in which the combination of the human mind and AI will lead to a better strategy than if they were to compete with each other or work separately.
“Half-Human, Half-Computer? Meet the Modern Centaur” Article published by Parc
What is needed to develop a centaur profile?
Technological innovation and advances in artificial intelligence can be used to free up all human potential. This means that, on the one hand, AI will take care of dealing with routine activities related to productivity, such as a company’s accounting, which are tasks it carries out very efficiently.
As a result, there will be an enormous margin of freedom for human beings to exploit all their potential on tasks more in keeping with their innate capacity such as planning, creativity, critical thinking and complex problem-solving, as explained well in the third Future of Jobs Report by the World Economic Forum.
According to this source, analytical thinking and problem-solving are two of the top 10 job skills that will be essential in 2025. This is due to a greater use of technology being taken up in jobs. They also affirm that 50% of all employees will need to re-train to be “more adapted to the new division of labour between humans, machines and algorithms”.
Evidently, many jobs may be replaced due to the introduction of AI in society’s employment activities. Even so, it is also true that more jobs adapted to this new situation may arise, in which skills such as analytical thinking and creativity will be highly valued, even more so than today.
How can we avoid becoming obsolete faced with AI?
One of the main issues arising with the introduction of AI in the workplace is how to avoid becoming obsolete.
Once again, it will be essential to adapt to the changes in order to keep up the pace throughout this era of transformation, which in turn will open up a huge door of opportunities for anyone who knows how to see them and make the most of them.
Firstly, it is necessary to adopt an objective, realistic point of view as regards AI’s applications in our modern life. We should clearly understand that it is not a threat to employment, but rather it enables us to be free from routine tasks that take up so much of our time and hold back our skills.
Furthermore, we should acknowledge that not only people involved in the world of development should have a solid knowledge of AI. In reality, everybody in all spheres of work, from directors to technicians, needs to understand how machine learning applications work in their sector.
At Sciling we emphasise the need for our clients to understand the enormous potential of these technologies to solve their business challenges. That’s why our procedures include the possibility of holding training workshops.
Vocational Specialised Courses in Artificial Intelligence and Big Data
Moreover, such training is not only necessary for people with further studies. Now it is possible for people who have studied vocational education to gain specialist skills in artificial intelligence. Last summer, the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training issued an Official Gazette setting up a specialist vocational training course in artificial intelligence and big data.
This is a promising qualification aimed at fostering specialist skills to work as a developer, programmer or expert in artificial intelligence and big data, with applications in a variety of industrial and business spheres. Since it is a vocational training specialisation, those people with no further university studies in development can also take it.
As more people get trained in specialist skills in AI, it will be much easier and faster for companies to modernise and adapt to the new situation. Moreover, during the course they will acquire the necessary knowledge to work in tomorrow’s multiple emerging professions and jobs.
Widely applicable skills to address AI’s involvement in the dynamics of the workplace
Although AI’s involvement in modern society means a challenging, exciting shift, it can be especially difficult to accept for some who run the risk of being left behind as machine learning gets introduced into their work environment. What could make the transition easier?
For some years, the business world has been especially appreciative of employees who have learnt to develop and demonstrate key competences. This term refers to general or broad-based skills that can be applied to diverse tasks and contexts and which are not dependent on a particular profession or organisational environment.
As their name implies, these kinds of skills can be transferred to any sphere of life, work or industry, and such employees become an essential part of any company. The most highly valued key competences especially include the ability to work in a team, proactivity, problem-solving and more specifically, flexibility and resilience to change.
Without a doubt, developing broad-based key competences is and will be a decisive factor so as not to become obsolete in the wake of AI, since it helps to tackle the changes successfully and motivates employees to take on the challenge of acquiring new training and adapting to the new workplace dynamics, where creativity and analytical thinking are going to be essential.
Change is inevitable, and with it there are always challenges that test the human capacity for adaptation and development. Since artificial intelligence is an essential skill for the jobs of the future, it is vital to be ready to change in order to make the most of all its potential