What AI can and cannot do

What AI can and cannot do

A labour market-view of the AI disruption

Since its inception in 1951, AI has achieved remarkable milestones, from winning chess games to assisting in vaccine development and human speech modelling. The business world, in turn, is undergoing a transformation, with AI revolutionising industries like big data, robotics, and content generation. Companies are increasingly investing in AI integration, and patents in this field are multiplying rapidly. In fact, of the overall 9000+ patents received by IBM inventors in 2021, almost one-fourth were AI-related.

The insights shared by AI expert Kai-Fu Lee a few years ago now seem prophetic, as he warned about job displacement for the bottom 90% of the world in terms of income or education. As we prepare the next generation of business leaders, we must proactively understand the evolving job market and equip students with the necessary skills to thrive in a world where AI is playing an increasingly crucial role.

Cans and Can’ts

The World Economic Forum predicts that AI will replace approximately 85 million jobs by 2025. While this may sound concerning, it presents an opportunity for students to explore new roles emphasising creativity, adaptability, problem-solving, emotional intelligence, and human interaction.

The likelihood of job displacement by AI depends on the tasks’ routine nature and quantifiability. Jobs like data entry, customer service, and assembly lines face a higher risk of AI replacement. However, roles that demand complex decision-making, creativity, and emotional intelligence remain secure from AI disruption.

AI is revolutionising various industries, affecting jobs in coding, law, medicine, finance, and marketing. Advanced technologies like ChatGPT could produce code faster than humans, which means that work can be completed with fewer employees. Jobs in the legal industry, such as paralegals and legal assistants, responsible for consuming large amounts of information, synthesising what they learned and making it digestible through a legal brief or opinion – will become highly stretched.

In medicine,AI systems can analyse medical images, such as X-rays and MRI scans, to detect abnormalities. While they’re not yet perfect, their ability to process large volumes of data quickly has already made them a valuable tool for routine diagnostics.

In finance or marketing, designations such as market research analysts, responsible for collecting data and identifying trends to design an effective marketing campaign or decide where to place advertising. AI can identify trends in the market, highlight what investments in a portfolio are doing better and worse, communicate all that, and then use various other forms of data by, say, a financial company to forecast a better investment mix. At an investment bank, people are hired out of college, and spend two, three years working like robots and do Excel modelling – you can get AI to do that.

However, within realms of creativity, AI falls short. While AI excels in generating music, writing articles, and producing art, it falls short in genuine creation. It can mimic and merge existing content but lacks the ability to draw from personal experiences, emotions, or a unique worldview.

In management, and jobs demanding complex decision-making, like executives, entrepreneurs, and strategists. These roles necessitate a deep understanding of intricate factors, long-term planning, and adeptness in handling uncertainty – areas where AI’s proficiency is still lacking.

Contemplate emotionally-active jobs: AI may improve in replicating human emotions, but it cannot truly comprehend or empathise with individuals. Hence, professions like therapists, social workers, and nurses, relying on high emotional intelligence, are safe from AI replacement.

In education, while technology can effectively convey subject matter, it is prudent to realise teaching goes beyond mere knowledge transfer. It involves inspiring, motivating, and understanding students on a personal level. This crucial role requires emotional intelligence, adaptability, and a human touch – qualities presently beyond AI’s replication.

Embracing Change: Skills for Success in the AI-Driven Era

Schools must prioritise the development of essential skills to equip students for the challenges and opportunities brought by an ever-evolving world. Analytical judgment is crucial in guiding informed decisions, while flexibility empowers future leaders to navigate uncertainties with adaptability. Emphasising emotional intelligence fosters empathy and understanding, vital for meaningful connections with teams and stakeholders.

Intellectual curiosity drives exploration of innovative ideas fearlessly, while bias detection and handling ensure fairness and inclusivity. Embracing AI’s potential, students must learn to effectively leverage technology to their advantage, preparing them for a future where AI and human collaboration are paramount.

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