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“The Future If,” is a global community of business leaders, authors and futurists who explore what our future can look like IF certain technologies, ideas, approaches and trends actually happen. The community looks at everything from AI and automation to leadership and management practices to augmented reality and virtual reality, the 4th industrial revolution and everything in between. Each we explore a new topic and this week we looked at whether we should Fear or Embrace AI, this was the discussion starter we used! Visit TheFutureIf.com to learn more or to request to join the community.
AI is everywhere, and there are many things to consider with how it will affect the future of work. This week our community looked at things in a different light by considering how AI and automation will impact creative and human skill building and what skills humans need to develop now to avoid getting swept up by AI.
Principal Consultant Kathi Enderes kicked off the discussion by having people consider where they are on the AI spectrum of perspectives, ranging from doomsday pessimism to incredible optimism. From the feedback of community members, most people are towards the optimism end of things that AI and automation will free up humans to do interesting work and grow their skills in different areas. The question then is what work humans will be doing and what we need to learn and develop to be good at our future jobs.
Much of the talk around the world and across industries is about the impact of AI and automation on jobs. However, most everyone agreed that instead of putting humans out of work, AI will create new jobs in different areas. As Inside Sales Renewal Associate Kate Sotomayor said, AI is still technology and often has hardware problems, software issues, and other glitches that require human interaction to check and fix. Beyond the technology, AI will never be able to replicate human emotion, so there should always be a need for people to reach out and truly connect with customers and other humans in a way that robots just can’t do.
AI will definitely change the landscape of work, which means human need to build different skills. In the not-so-distant future, people will be doing things they don’t do today, and machines will be doing things that humans typically do. We need to prepare now for that shift by expanding our human skills. The community listed a wide range of skills and capabilities that should be developed, including concentration, effective communication, and problem definitions from Inside Sales Representative Carlos Diaz, plus things like kindness, empathy, collaborative problem solving, and a growth mindset. As Regional Director Anshul Sonak said, technology is revolutionary, but people are evolutionary. We can always change and adapt to find the best skills to develop.
These skills will be built a number of ways. Organizations need to realize the importance of them and work to develop those skills in their employees, especially in ways that help them work better with AI, but the ultimate responsibility of skill building comes down to the individual. If you want to be prepared for a future with more automation, you have to take control of your own skills and develop things that will set you apart and allow you to work better and above new technology.
Head of Consulting Amanda Allisey touched on skills that the next generation of workers will need in order to be successful. She suggested an approach that involves viewing jobs as “clusters” rather than specific careers and then training workers or encouraging them to learn new skills according to a cluster, which will allow them to be more agile in their work. The approaches to learning new skills and adapting will change based on the type of worker and the type of career. HR Engagement Business Partner Deana Stevens shared her belief that AI will be more dominant in certain industries and less dominant in others, so a once-size-fits-all approach won’t work. Employees need to be aware of technology in their specific areas to know which human skills are the most important for them to develop.
Perhaps the conclusion of the discussion can best be summed up by Principal & Founder Ariana Smetana, who said that she doesn’t know for sure how new technology will displace jobs, but learning new skills can only enhance our work. If we prepare now and continue to build human skills and creativity, we will be prepared for the future no matter what happens to technology.
My new book, The Employee Experience Advantage (Wiley) analyzes over 250 global organizations to understand how to create a place where people genuinely want to show up to work. Get my free training series to create powerful Employee Experiences, or become a member of the new Facebook Community The Future If… and join the discussion.