Jobs and the Future of Work

How can we empower tomorrow’s workforce in the age of AI?

Preparing the workforce for the age of AI

Preparing the workforce for the age of AI Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Christy Pambianchi
Executive Vice-President; Chief People Officer, Intel
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This article is part of: World Economic Forum Annual Meeting
  • Today, artificial intelligence (AI) has become nearly pervasive across industries.
  • Unleashing the full potential of AI will require rethinking how we equip the businesses and workforces of the future.
  • The sooner we can embrace the best of AI and build the right constraints to prevent harm, the more positive AI’s impact will be on the world, and this starts with preparing the workforce.

“The future of integrated electronics is the future of electronics itself,” wrote Intel co-founder Gordon Moore in Electronics magazine in 1965, predicting that the number of components on computer chips would double every 18 months to two years — a concept now famously dubbed Moore’s Law. He drew out his prediction further: “Integrated circuits will lead to such wonders as home computers… connected to a central computer, automatic controls for automobiles and personal portable communications equipment.”

Today, artificial intelligence (AI) has become nearly pervasive across industries largely because Moore’s Law has been realized repeatedly for five decades.

AI is now poised to be as transformational and revolutionary as the computer chip was in changing how we live and work forever. And, just as realizing the potential of Moore’s Law required making the right calculated bets on microprocessor technology and talent, unleashing the full potential of AI will require rethinking how we equip businesses and the workforces of the future to “adapt or die,” to quote former Intel CEO Andy Grove.

At Intel, we’ve been helping advance influential technological transformations for over half a century. We’ve learned a lot about preparing for the sweeping changes that key innovations bring, particularly to the workplace. In addition to helping increase access to AI instruction and create career pathways through our global Intel Digital Readiness Programmes, we’re thinking big picture about the workplace cultural changes our next generation of innovation will require.


How is the World Economic Forum creating guardrails for Artificial Intelligence?

Preparing future workforce in the age of AI

We believe preparing the future workforce in the age of AI requires technical upskilling, but that’s not all that will be needed. Training non-technical workers to collaborate with AI as their copilot and be critical thinkers and builders of its outputs will be just as vital.

There are four principles to consider as we all look to foster AI ingenuity at our organizations:

1. Test and learn

Uncovering the full potential of AI requires seeing what doesn’t work as much as what does.

With so much to learn about this new frontier, you’ll need your entire workforce to continuously experiment with how AI fits into their job functions. Leaders must create an environment where failure is permitted as long as the right lessons are gleaned from each experience, and guardrails are in place to ensure accuracy and ethical practices.

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    2. Collaborate across functions on AI use cases

    With many departments generating ideas on how to use AI to drive business goals, it will be crucial for various teams to work together on prioritizing strategies and resources. Imagine, for example, that your marketing team wants to leverage AI for personalized product recommendations and social media advertising while your sales team is excited about using AI in chatbots to serve customers better and qualify leads.

    Having these two teams work together on various powerful AI solutions that serve across departmental needs will be more effective and efficient than teams separately generating dozens of AI projects in siloes.


    3. Build critical thinking skills

    AI alone isn’t sufficient – it requires human beings who know what questions to ask and how to judge and evaluate AI’s answers. Building your people’s problem-solving and analytical skills will enable them to prompt, train and design AI solutions that save time and serve as trusted digital coworkers.

    4. Use AI responsibly

    Intel is part of a broad global movement to advance AI responsibly and to use the best of AI to solve the world’s most significant challenges inclusively and transparently.

    Every organization will need to do its part to think through the ethical considerations of every step taken with AI within each function. For example, I’m currently working with a group of my industry peers to develop a one-page manifesto of principles for the human resources community on using AI technology ethically.

    As with previous innovation revolutions, AI will impact all of us. The sooner we all can embrace the best parts of this new technology and thoughtfully build the right constraints to prevent harm, the greater and more positive AI’s impact will be on our world. That begins with training a workforce to continuously experiment, collaborate across teams, think critically and build responsibly.

    Organizations that follow these principles will use AI to augment human capabilities while empowering people to thrive.

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