Artificial intelligence is on everyone’s lips – and with good reason. According to the Future of Workforce Development report, 62% of hiring managers expect AI to substantially change the nature of work. But this change – depending on who you’re talking to – is charged with mixed emotions from anxiety to excitement.
While AI will certainly change how we work, experts don’t foresee huge unemployment or a jobless future; rather they see a shift in skills and questions around talent redeployment. Many hiring managers already know the importance of offering employees opportunities to skill up and retrain. Tech advancements place rising importance on both hard and soft skills. While employees must be able to speak the language of data and other hard skills, soft skills are increasingly essential. Judgment calls, creative thinking, and emotional intelligence are in high demand – and not easily replicated by AI. While change can be slow within an organization, experts say that adapting sooner rather than later is key to future success.
Here are 7 interesting and sometimes surprising quotes on AI in relation to the future of the workforce.
“Humans need and want more time to interact with each other. I think AI coming about and replacing routine jobs is pushing us to do what we should be doing anyway: the creation of more humanistic service jobs.”
Kai-Fu Lee, Chairman and CEO, Sinovation Ventures
“We’re going to see tremendous occupational shifts. Some jobs will climb while others decline. So how do we enable and support workers as they transition from occupation to occupation? We don’t do that very well. I worry about the skill shifts. Skill requirements are going to be substantial and how do we get there quickly enough?”
James Manyika, Chairman and Director, McKinsey Global Institute (MGI)
“Our research says that 50% of the activities that we pay people to do can be automated by adapting currently demonstrated technologies. We think it’ll take decades, but it will happen. So there is a role for business leaders to try to understand how to redeploy talent. It’s important to think about mass redeployment instead of mass unemployment. That’s the right problem to solve.”
Michael Chiu, Partner, McKinsey Global Institute (MGI)
“I think what makes AI different from other technologies is that it’s going to bring humans and machines closer together. AI is sometimes incorrectly framed as machines replacing humans. It’s not about machines replacing humans, but machines augmenting humans. Humans and machines have different relative strengths and weaknesses, and it’s about the combination of these two that will allow human intents and business process to scale 10x, 100x, and beyond that in the coming years.”
Robin Bordoli, ex-CEO, Figure Eight
“My team has a saying: what looks like magic to your competitors in five years is just your good planning. And it really is. It takes a lot of money, work, and effort to get where you’re going with advancements in AI.”
John Frémont, ex-Chief Strategy Officer, Hypergiant
“I think the future of global competition is, unambiguously, about creative talent, and I’m far from the only person who sees this as the main competition point going forward. Everyone will have access to amazing AI. Your vendor on that will not be a huge differentiator. Your creative talent though – that will be who you are. Instead of chasing that race to the bottom on labor costs, invest in turning your talent into a team of explorers who can solve amazing problems using AI as the tool that takes the busy work out. That is the company that wins in the end.”
Vivienne Ming, executive chair and co-founder, Socos Labs
“The countries with the highest robot density have among the lowest unemployment rates. Technology and humans combined in the right way will drive prosperity.”
Ulrich Spiesshofer, ex-CEO, ABB Ltd.