Future-proofing your career in the age of AI


As the world witnesses rapid advancements in artificial intelligence (AI), concerns about job security have surfaced once again. The success of AI models like ChatGPT has left many people pondering the fate of their careers. A recent survey showed that more than half of young adults aged 18-24 worry about AI’s impact on their professional lives, fearing job displacement due to automation.

Researchers predict that a significant portion of tasks performed by humans in the US and Europe could be automated in the near future. This has led to a growing debate about the future of work, spawning numerous books on the subject. Analyzing 10 such books published between 2017 and 2020, two prevailing perspectives emerge: “automation anxiety” and “augmentation aspiration”.

Automation anxiety revolves around concerns that AI will automate knowledge-based jobs, previously deemed the domain of well-educated professionals, leaving many without employment opportunities. For instance, AI advancements in legal tasks could potentially replace junior lawyers, undermining the belief that investing in higher education guarantees a secure middle-class job.

On the other hand, augmentation aspiration offers a more optimistic viewpoint, emphasizing the potential for humans and AI to collaborate, thereby enhancing productivity. This entails working alongside robots in factories or leveraging AI chatbots to complement legal practices, augmenting human capabilities rather than replacing them.

In reality, both automation and augmentation will coexist, making it essential for individuals to future-proof their careers. Learning becomes a crucial aspect of this process, but investing in specific skills might not guarantee long-term relevance due to technological advancements. Instead, focus on developing the ability to learn continually throughout your career. Being adaptable and receptive to new skills is highly valuable in the modern workplace.

Learning can take place in various settings, such as returning to university or participating in executive education programs. Additionally, on-the-job training and continuous professional development should be encouraged and discussed with your manager.

Critical thinking and analytical skills will play a central role in augmenting human-AI collaborations. When working with AI, individuals must question and interpret the output produced. Despite automation, humans will remain pivotal in making sense of AI-generated results.

It is important to remember that past fears of job loss to machines did not always materialize. For example, the introduction of automated teller machines (ATMs) did not eliminate bank teller positions but rather transformed their tasks.

Above all, choose a career that you enjoy and keep learning. Being proactive in skill development and embracing change will empower you to navigate potential shifts in the job market successfully. By staying adaptable and embracing continuous learning, you can confidently face the challenges and opportunities presented by AI in the workforce.


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