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Should we be anxious about AI stealing our jobs?

In an era dominated by advancing technology, and the recent rise of Artificial Intelligence, particularly ChatGPT, many of us are feeling worried and overwhelmed. In fact a quarter of workers are worried AI will make their job obsolete. So it's crucial to shift our perspective and focus on empowering ourselves to develop the skills necessary to thrive in transformative futures. While it's true that AI will disrupt certain industries, the key lies in adapting and embracing new opportunities that emerge.

Artificial intelligence is rapidly reshaping various industries, automating tasks and augmenting human capabilities. This technological revolution is expected to have a significant impact on the job market. However, history has shown that advancements in technology often create new job opportunities that were unimaginable before.

But what is ChatGPT and why is everyone talking about it?

ChatGPT is a natural language processing tool driven by AI technology that allows you to have human-like conversations and much more with the chatbot. The language model can answer questions and assist you with tasks, such as composing emails, essays, and marketing tools like social media content. It's accessible to pretty much anyone with internet, and you can ask it anything.. even what to have for tea tonight! Or tell it your to do list, and it can provide a more productive way to get through it without getting bored.

But according to the latest SurveyMonkey Workforce Survey, a quarter of workers (24%) are worried AI will make their job obsolete, and fears about AI job displacement run much higher among workers of color, younger workers, and lower-salaried workers.

While it is natural to feel some anxiety (it's all a bit uncertain still), it's essential to remember that AI can also enhance our abilities and create new avenues for employment. We might be quite used to the idea that routine-based jobs, such as data entry or assembly line work, are most likely to be automated. But when we started to see what ChatGPT (and similar AI programmes) could do in terms of creative work, we started to fear that our content creator, social media manager or designer jobs could be replaced.

But how true is this?

“Humankind is facing unprecedented revolutions, all our old stories are crumbling and no new story has so far emerged to replace them. How can we prepare ourselves and our children for a world of such unprecedented transformations and radical uncertainties? [...] What should we teach that baby that will help him or her survive and flourish in the world of 2050 or of the 22nd century? What kind of skills will he or she need in order to get a job, understand what is happening around them and navigate the maze of life?”

Yuval Noah Harari

If you’ve had a play with the most recent AI softwares available, you are likely quite amazed by it’s great capabilities and potential that they offer to us, but with a deeper look we can also see the limits they have.

They are fed by human creativity, and they are unable to employ human empathy, and adaptability, which are vital in various fields. As AI takes over some tasks, the demand for uniquely human skills could only increase. While AI may disrupt certain industries, it is not a threat in itself. The real challenge lies in our ability to adapt and embrace change.

By fostering a spirit of curiosity, resilience, and a commitment to lifelong learning, we can navigate the uncertainties of the future job market with more confidence. Transformative futures offer endless possibilities, and it is our collective responsibility to ensure that individuals are prepared to seize those opportunities. To be ready for the uncertainties brought by AI and evolving technologies, we should focus on developing skills that remain valuable regardless of the changing job landscape.

In 2018, the Council of European Union defined 9 fundamental competencies to adapt in a changing world and ultimately learn how to learn and keep being employable. Today, these are more topical than ever. So let’s explore them:

Personal skills:

  • Self-regulation: the awareness and management of our emotions, thoughts and behaviour

  • Flexibility: our ability to manage transitions and uncertainty, and to face challenges

  • Wellbeing: the pursuit of life satisfaction, care of physical, mental and social health, and adoption of a sustainable lifestyle

Social skills

  • Empathy: the understanding of another person’s emotions, experiences and values, and the provision of appropriate responses

  • Communication: use of relevant communication strategies, domain-specific codes and tools depending on the context and the content

  • Collaboration: engagement in group activity and teamwork acknowledging and respecting others

Learning to learn skills

  • Growth mindset: the belief in one’s and others’ potential to continuously learn and progress

  • Critical thinking: the assessment of information and arguments to support reasoned conclusions and develop innovative solutions

  • Managing learning: the planning, organising, monitoring and reviewing of our own learning

As we can see, it’s hard to imagine an AI model could master those skills in the near future, as they are typically and uniquely human. Therefore we can look at AI not as an barrier but as a catalyst for change, enabling us to focus on nurturing those abilities and potential that make us so human.

By investing in skills that AI cannot replicate, we equip ourselves to thrive in a world of transformative futures. So foster an environment that encourages creativity, emotional intelligence, and adaptability. We can shape a future where we’re are not anxious about AI stealing our jobs, but rather excited about the possibilities that lie ahead and the new jobs that will arise, which we cannot even imagine right now.

Remember, the key to success lies in staying open, flexible, embracing uncertainty, and never stopping to learn. Cultivate an open mindset to help you get there.




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