The disruptions that AI brings in the workplace also create job opportunities in the same manner that many industries and jobs today did not exist at all several decades ago
I am as clueless as the next digitally ignorant person and I do not claim to intimately know the exotic world of artificial intelligence or AI.
But the whole world is agitated by the explosive growth of AI and its impact on the life and survival of humankind.
As an employer, I will try to limit my narrative to the AI application in the world of work.
There are prophets of doom warning that AI will soon take over all human functions and will mark the end of mankind.
But an equally great number of scientists, sociologists, and job experts welcome AI as a boon for God’s creation as humanoids will free up workers from many types of jobs that are described by Japanese labor experts as 3K (kitanai, kiken, kitsui) or dirty, dangerous and demeaning.
In the early 80s, Japan robotized its shipbuilding industry by deploying mechanical arms to replace human welders to speed up ship construction and delivery with a safer and consistent quality of workmanship. A factory was said to be established at that time which was designed to produce and replicate the success of the welder robots for other industries.
There were speculations then that Japan was planning to make robot soldiers that are combat-ready for frontline duties to save on training costs and avoid casualties and loss of lives of Japanese soldiers.
It was perhaps providential that the plan did not materialize as the consequence could be menacing to world peace. Although today, unlike robot soldiers, sophisticated drones with full military applications are successfully being deployed for combat and assassination missions.
There are enterprises unjustly rumored to have economic and labor problems who are eagerly expecting the application of AI in the workplace to replace militant labor groups who are pressing for unreasonable demands for endless increases in wages and benefits.
Introducing AI to rid the workplace of misguided radical workers is morally wrong and unacceptable. Yet, AI brings several challenges and opportunities in the workplace that will disrupt the existing status quo and unavoidably result in job displacements. But there are jobs that AI can rightfully and urgently address to help workers increase productivity, promote efficiency, hasten rise in rank and pay, reduce costs, and improve the overall viability of enterprises. Automating routine tasks and the 3K jobs will enable workers to spend more time doing higher-level activities.
The disruptions that AI brings in the workplace also create job opportunities in the same manner that many industries and jobs today did not exist at all several decades ago. Going back even further, since the first industrial revolution, similar disruptions created new opportunities in the workplace.
AI is here to stay and its varied applications are expanding exponentially at an accelerated pace. It will become as ubiquitous as the internet and the cell phone and workers need to prepare themselves for this eventuality by adapting to and being familiar with this technology if they want to remain relevant, employed, and productive. This means learning new skill sets, re-training, re-skilling, and adjusting to the changing requirements of the job market from the transformation that AI brings.
To this end, our government needs to make a careful and swift assessment of the impact of AI on our economy and identify the various sectors that are vulnerable to the inroads of AI in the workplace. As a start, our BPO sector which annually contributes more than US$32 Billion or about 8 percent to our Gross Domestic Product and employs more than a million workers comes to mind. It involves massive data entry, processing, and analysis and the potential for disruption through displacement of workers cannot be underestimated. While productivity and efficiency are enhanced, investment in training and re-skilling programs and the identification of new services in an AI-driven environment become indispensable.
Finally, the potential for criminal activity, one example of which is deepfake technology, is available as well through AI. The advantage that AI offers can be used for enhanced cyberattacks on various fronts which requires critical review, reassessment, and restructuring of existing protocols and systems for data protection and security.
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