How to harness the power of generative AI for better jobs? Experts share their views

Generative AI is poised to impact jobs significantly.
Generative AI is poised to impact jobs significantly.
Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto.
  • A new report from the World Economic Forum, Jobs of Tomorrow, highlights the potential impact of large language models on job tasks.
  • Generative AI has the capacity to enhance job quality and foster job growth if managed responsibly.
  • These experts explain how generative AI’s potential can be harnessed.

Generative Artificial Intelligence (AI) is significantly impacting the global labour market. It's not just changing how we work but also reshaping the nature of work itself. Traditional roles are evolving, some jobs face disruption, while new roles emerge in their place.

The World Economic Forum's Future of Jobs Report 2023 highlights this dichotomy. While AI is being increasingly adopted by organizations worldwide, 49% of those surveyed, across industries, anticipate AI to be a catalyst for job creation, while 23% also expect it to drive job displacement. This doesn't necessarily imply job elimination, but rather a shift in roles and the skills required to perform them.

The white paper, Jobs of Tomorrow: Large Language Models and Jobs, takes a structured approach to analysis the potential impact of large language models (LLMs) on tasks and jobs. Roles centred around critical thinking, problem-solving, and creativity, especially those in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), stand to benefit the most from augmentation. Conversely, roles emphasizing routine linguistic tasks—such as bank tellers and data entry clerks—could face automation.

The integration of generative AI into the workforce evokes mixed reactions. While many see the potential for significant productivity boosts and the emergence of new roles, there is also fear that it could displace existing roles, exacerbate socioeconomic disparities and create a sense of job insecurity among the global workforce. Yet, a recent LinkedIn US Executive Confidence Index Survey from June 2023 reflects a more optimistic outlook: 47% of executives believe generative AI will boost productivity; 44% plan to augment their AI utilization in the coming year; and 40% view AI as a key to unlocking growth and revenue. Microsoft's 2023 Work Trend Index has similar findings, revealing that 70% of individuals would gladly delegate tasks to AI to ease their workloads.

The challenge, therefore, lies in harmonizing generative AI's potential with its disruptions. Organizations need to implement new talent management strategies to transition workers into new roles and new ways of working. This includes investing in reskilling and upskilling workers towards growing roles and recruiting new talent into growing jobs. Those that can seamlessly integrate generative AI will undeniably hold a competitive edge.

As the discourse around AI and its implications on the workforce amplifies, industry leaders are contemplating how best to harness AI's potential to advance both business and people goals while ensuring a smooth workforce transition.

AI and people skills, the new workplace currency

Karin Kimbrough, Chief Economist, LinkedIn

“Imagine a future of work where people and machines collaborate seamlessly, where productivity is boosted, and creativity is enhanced by artificial intelligence (AI). This future is not a distant dream; it is already happening. And it is reshaping the skills that are essential for success in the workplace.

“For the past 20 years, our mission at LinkedIn has centred on connecting professionals and nurturing their growth. As a result, we have a unique view of the labour market and the impact of AI on it. We analyzed data from over 950 million professionals on LinkedIn to explore this evolving landscape. Our research reveals an AI-driven paradigm shift that is underway, where both technical and people skills are interdependent and are the currency of the future of work. Some of our key findings include:

  • The skills required for many global jobs are evolving and have already changed by 25% since 2015, and with AI accelerating these shifts, they can expect their jobs to change even more quickly, reaching at least 65% by 2030.
  • AI-related skills, like machine learning, are witnessing a surge in demand. For instance, English-language job postings on LinkedIn referencing AI technologies such as GPT or ChatGPT have increased 21 times since November 2022. It’s not only job postings on the upswing. Our members are adding AI skills at an accelerated pace. In June 2023, the number of AI-skilled members was 9 times larger than in January 2016, globally.
  • AI skills are spreading from tech to other industries. And with skills spreading, we expect this to speed the adoption of AI technology across the economy.
  • At the same time, there is a significant upswing in the demand for people skills. Our data show a resurgence of soft skills like communication and flexibility in the job market. Notably, 72% of US executives agree that these skills are more valuable for their organizations than AI skills.

"Finally, consider the synergy between AI and people skills. AI enables professionals to focus on the distinctly human facets of work—creative thinking, empathetic communication, and collaborative problem-solving, while AI acts as resource to remove the drudgery from work and serve as a catalyst, elevating the importance of people skills in the workplace.

"The symbiotic relationship between AI and people-skills has profound implications on the future of work and the skills professionals will need to stay ahead. As job roles will no longer remain static, professionals will need to adapt, leaning into AI while embracing a skills-first mindset as they continuously assess and improve both the technical and people skills needed to stay competitive in today’s ever-evolving job market.

"For organizations, success in the future of work depends on recognizing that a balanced workforce, equipped with both AI skills and people skills, is key. Cultivating a culture that values emotional intelligence, creativity, and adaptability alongside technical proficiency unleashes the workforce's full potential in the AI era. This approach ensures employees are agile, resilient, and capable of driving innovation.

"The age of AI in the workplace is undeniable and holds the promise of better jobs. The surge in demand for AI-related skills along with a resurgence of people-skills found in our data points to a future where a blend of technical proficiency and human-centric qualities will define success.

"At this pivotal moment, we have the opportunity to shape a future of work that is not only efficient but also more human, fulfilling, and inclusive."

Centre: Fourth Industrial Revolution

How is the World Economic Forum ensuring the responsible use of technology?

The Top 10 Emerging Technologies of 2023 report outlined the technologies poised to positively impact society in the next few years, from health technology to AI to sustainable computing.

The World Economic Forum’s Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution is driving responsible technology governance, enabling industry transformation, addressing planetary health, and promoting equity and inclusion.

Learn more about our impact:

  • Digital inclusion: Our EDISON Alliance is mobilizing leaders from across sectors to accelerate digital inclusion, having positively impacted the lives of 454 million people through the activation of 250 initiatives across 90 countries.
  • AI in developing economies: Our Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution Rwanda is promoting the adoption of new technologies in the country, enabling over 4,000 daily health consultations using AI.
  • Innovative healthcare: Our Medicine from the Sky initiative is using drones to deliver medicine to remote areas in India, completing over 950 successful drone flights.
  • AI for agriculture: We are working with the Government of India to scale up agricultural technology in the country, helping more than 7,000 farmers monitor the health of their crops and soil using AI.

Want to know more about our centre’s impact or get involved? Contact us.

Inclusivity and reskilling are essential for AI driven jobs of the future

Neeti Mehta Shukla, Co-Founder, Automation Anywhere

“The realm of possibilities with AI-driven technologies is vast, yet we bear a profound responsibility to deploy them responsibly while ensuring a smooth workforce transition. The imperative of inclusivity and reskilling is pivotal for preparing individuals for the AI-driven jobs of the future. This is especially crucial in empowering disadvantaged or marginalized communities, an opportunity we simply cannot afford to overlook.

“The significance of inclusivity cannot be overstated. Studies have consistently demonstrated that organizations benefit when they harness diverse perspectives, backgrounds, skill sets, creative insights, methodologies, and experiences to develop their products or services. The outcomes are exponentially more likely to be successful.

“In this ‘age of AI’, where Gartner predicts that the AI software market will reach nearly $134.8 billion by 2025, it becomes increasingly critical to ensure that AI development teams mirror the diversity of our world. Lack of diversity among AI developers can result in technologies that inadvertently amplify the biases of a narrow group, to exclude other vital demographic segments. These groups often lack access to the resources needed to engage with rapidly evolving technologies. Minorities, women, working mothers, individuals with lower incomes, and people with disabilities are among those eager to try their hand at tech jobs but frequently lack the opportunity to do so. The consequence may be flawed, unjust, or even perilous AI systems.

“However, we must not let the potential risks of AI obscure its greatest promise—digital inclusion. Digital inclusion empowers us to bridge historical wealth disparities rooted in race, ethnicity, gender, and more, with contributions to new products and services designed by a larger set of people. And digital inclusion becomes possible with appropriate reskilling initiatives. This then leads to AI that can help us transcend ingrained societal biases, unconscious prejudices, and customs that favour specific groups. Inclusive AI models, designed to serve all, hold the potential to narrow wealth gaps, making our world more equitable. Bite-sized learning, low-code/no-code platforms, and an abundance of tech education tools will facilitate the transformation of communities that have traditionally lacked opportunities, ultimately leading to greater diversity at the decision-making level.

"The Future of Jobs Report 2023 anticipates that over the next five years, at least a quarter of all jobs are expected to change, largely due to increased adoption of advanced technologies such as AI. Moreover 44% of workers will need to be upskilled/reskilled over the next five years.

“At Automation Anywhere, a leading AI-driven Robotic Process Automation (RPA) platform utilized extensively by the Fortune 1000, we have upskilled over 800,000 people. As a part of this cohort we collaborate with regional social organizations to reskill communities with limited access to opportunities. Our overarching goal is to foster inclusivity and improve accessibility to tech education and job opportunities. Our tireless impact partners’ inspiring stories underscore the results of our reskilling efforts:

  • Spencer George, who transitioned from his job as a cook at a fast-food franchise in the US Mississippi Delta to become an automation student, then a developer, and recently a trainer for local community college students, now earns nearly 10 times the income of a short-order cook.
  • Mohamad, who fled Syria to Turkey, embarked on an AI-automation reskilling journey through a refugee-led cooperative for digital inclusion. He now "pays it forward" by training other refugees from various parts of the world, including Ukraine.
  • Gloria Jackson, an entrepreneur from Botswana, Africa, chose to participate in the '1 Million Women in Intelligent Automation' programme to stay relevant in her field.
  • 'Karya.in' in India engages rural women to train language AI models, making them more inclusive for accents and regional dialects, while simultaneously improving living conditions and wages in that region. Similarly, the B-Corp 'Sama.com' leverages rural populations in Africa to enhance AI deep learning through image tagging.

“These real-world examples not only demonstrate the feasibility of this approach but also exemplify the promise of a brighter tomorrow for everyone. As a plethora of new AI jobs are created, organizations and communities must come together to make an effort to advance skilling across all segments of society. Only then will the benefits of AI manifest in an equitable, safe and progressive way.”

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