The Future of Work: Can You Adapt Fast Enough Before Becoming Unemployed?

Your intelligent assistant was just notified of a new job posting that you have been waiting for, so it gently wakes you up at 6:45 AM. You slide out of bed and struggle to find the bathroom. The shower automatically turns on to your preferred temperature.

Twenty minutes later, you vocalized to the robotic kitchen, “Make Tuesday’s breakfast, then prep Tuesday’s dinner.” The kitchen AI responds, “Tuesday’s breakfast will be ready in 15 minutes, and your coffee is ready. We will need potatoes and cream for Tuesday’s dinner. I will place the order.”

You review the new job posting. You bid, get the job, and sign the smart contract. The rate is lower than expected, but you need the extra work this month. Your portfolio of work will be lighter for the next few months. You need the downtime to reskill.

Your intelligent assistant notifies you that your 10:00 AM meeting has been rescheduled to 8:30 AM. You tell your intelligent assistant, “Setup home office for remote collaboration.” Your notified, “Setup for remote collaboration is complete.”

You walk into your home office, slip on your virtual reality headset and controllers, “Good morning team. I understand that we are having product engineering issues?”

Will AI make increase skill inequality?

The above story is fiction but not far off from being a reality. Artificial intelligence has the potential for making your life better through — intelligent assistants, robotic kitchens, smart contracts, and virtual workplaces.

AI will also impact the future of your employment. A future where AI might give rise to market segregation of low-skill, low pay, and high-skill, high pay. The author Martin Ford predicts a growing inequality based on the hollowing out of job skills.

If AI will hollow out job skills, is your only option a portfolio of work — Uber driver, an Instacart shopper, an Airbnb host, and a TaskRabbit laborer?

The author Martin Ford writes, “Also, inequality can greatly increase as essentially what’s happening with artificial intelligence is that capital is displacing labor and of course capital is owned by very few people; wealthy people tend to own lots of capital, and most other people do not own much. Over time it makes our whole society more unequal. I think this is going to be a real challenge for us in the coming decades.

What jobs will AI replace?

The World Economic Forum launched its Reskilling Revolution with an impressive roster of partners:

  • LinkedIn
  • Coursera
  • SalesForce
  • Manpower Group
  • The Adecco Group
  • Infosys

It is an opportunity for the WEF and its partners to provide better education and new skills to one billion people by 2030. The platform will support the workforce with the “skills needed to future-proof their careers against the expected displacement of millions of jobs and skills instability as a result of technological change.“

AI will displace jobs and skills that are routine, repetitive, and predictable, such as:

  • Accountants
  • Delivery People
  • Data Entry Clerks
  • Bookkeeping Clerks
  • Doctors

What jobs are safe from AI?

What jobs and skills will the Reskilling Revolution focus on? According to the 2020 Jobs of Tomorrow — Mapping Opportunity in the New Economy report, there are seven emerging clusters of professions:

  1. Care Economy
  2. Data and AI
  3. Engineering and Cloud Computing
  4. Green Economy
  5. People and Culture
  6. Product Development
  7. Sales, Marketing, and Content

Each of the seven clusters of professions has multiple jobs and skills. Let us take a look inside Data and AI:

10 Emerging Jobs

  1. Artificial Intelligence Specialist
  2. Data Scientist
  3. Data Engineer
  4. Big Data Developer
  5. Data Analyst
  6. Analytics Specialist
  7. Data Consultant
  8. Insights Analyst
  9. Business Intelligence Developer
  10. Analytics Consultant

Top 10 Skills

  1. Data Science
  2. Data Storage Technologies
  3. Development Tools
  4. Artificial Intelligence
  5. Software Development Lifecycle (SDLC)
  6. Management Consulting
  7. Digital Literacy
  8. Scientific Computing
  9. Computer Networking

After reading the list of jobs and skills, there is no surprise, but reskilling will depend on one essential skill — keep learning. You must adopt the philosophy that you are always in beta. You are always asking yourself, “How could I do better?”

Martin Ford writes, “I do think it’s absolutely true that the most important skill anyone can learn for this future that we’re facing is how to keep learning, how to adapt, and how to do that very effectively and with great enjoyment.”

Will, you be a winner or loser?

Yes, AI will lead to the creation of new products and services, which will lead to the creation of new jobs, businesses, and even industries. If you wish to be a beneficiary of innovation, you must keep your skills on the bleeding edge.

Saadia Zahidi, Managing Director of the World Economic Forum, writes, “In the next two years 42% of core skills required to perform existing jobs are expected to change.”

Artificial intelligence will impact every aspect of your life. The winners will be those who embrace adaptation and are actively reskilling. Those that refuse to embrace the new ecosystem will become irrelevant.

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Author: Ramon Nuez

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