Panic and possibility: What workers learned about AI in 2023

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We’re also going to work with AI

As AI becomes more ubiquitous, some experts believe the technology is actually more likely to augment – rather than replace – human talent. Joanne Song McLaughlin, associate professor of labour economics at the University of Buffalo, US, cites medical diagnoses as an example. While a robot may be able to detect cancer, for instance, most patients would prefer a qualified medical professional to break the news.

Workers are already utilising ChatGPT as a personal assistant, using it to draft emails, plan itineraries and project costs and timelines. More broadly, professionals are already using AI to help eliminate bias in decision making – some large corporations are already employing data-driven recruitment to test candidates’ qualities, with behavioural insights matching them with the right vacancy.

And while AI will eliminate some jobs, it will also create new ones; for example, data engineers, governance specialists and a host of “training” roles. 

Alongside much fear and uncertainty, there’s optimism

AI may be the technology of the day, but it’s far from the first to disrupt the workforce. Technology has advanced exponentially over the decades, from the rise of automation in mechanics, to office computers and wireless internet. 

“Technology advancements have shown us that, yes, it has the potential to automate or streamline work processes,” says Scott Likens, global AI and innovation technology leader at PwC, based in Austin, US. “However, with the right set of skills, individuals are often able to progress alongside these advancements.”

Experts recommend that rather than worry about the threat of AI, it’s more useful to think of it as a tool. The best tactic? Adapt, learn and lean into the technology, says Likens. “Education and training [are] key for employees to learn about AI and what it can do for their particular role, as well as help them develop new skills. Instead of shying away from AI, employees should plan to embrace and educate.”

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Panic and possibility: What workers learned about AI in 2023

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