AI in the workplace: what you need to know today
5 min read | Jason Barr | Article | Career development Industry insights Recruiting Workforce planning Information Technology Sector
Artificial intelligence (AI) is not a new invention, yet recent innovations are set to change the way many of us work – understanding AI’s potential will be vital when making informed business decisions.
In our recent What Workers Want: Working With AI 2023 report launch webinar, Maureen Lynch, director at Hays, Mark Standen, intelligent automation practice director at Hays, Martin Meikle Small, managing director at Mobile Cloud, and John Frizelle, CTO & venture partner at Sure Valley Ventures, discuss AI’s growing influence on the workplace. Here’s a recap of some of their key talking points:
We’re experiencing an AI revolution
Open AI’s ChatGPT blew the doors wide open, crossing the threshold of academia. We’ve now hit an inflection point where the tech is good enough to capture the imagination of the masses and provide practical business solutions. And with hundreds of AI products being released this year alone, it’s clear that the tech will only have a growing influence over our daily lives.
According to our What Workers Want 2023 report survey, almost three-quarters (73%) of employers think AI should be embraced, with more organisations starting to realise the growth opportunities on offer. Generative AI models are allowing organisations to be better, cheaper, and quicker – the tech is disrupting the status quo, and those who choose to ignore it could get left behind. And while a more conservative proportion of employees (57%) are ready to welcome AI tools, this positive outlook reflects professionals’ desire to become more productive as work routines quickly evolve.
Redundancies are inevitable – but new opportunities await
There’s no disguising the threat AI poses to certain professions. Jobs operating within the customer service/contact centre space would appear to be particularly vulnerable, as identified by 39% of our survey’s respondents. While some functions – such as the face-to-face – can’t be replaced, the automation of mundane tasks is well underway.
However, AI is also carving out a range of new skills and employment opportunities. The World Economic Forum forecasts that AI and other tech innovations could create 97 million new jobs, potentially countering workforce displacement concerns. From prompt engineers to AI ethicists, new titles are being created on an almost daily basis.
Employers shouldn’t delay investing in their people and instilling confidence through close communication.
It’s not just about replacing jobs though; we’re already seeing roles across various industries evolve with AI’s sudden rise. Many marketing specialists are becoming something closer to prompt engineers, while generative AI is powering the productivity of software developers to new levels. However, with almost four-fifths (78%) of the employees we surveyed stating they don’t have all the right skills to leverage AI, employers shouldn’t delay investing in their people and instilling confidence through close communication.
Baked-in bias and impending regulations
Generative AI tools, including ChatGPT, dredge an enormous amount of data from the internet to construct their responses. While the technology is pre-trained by developers, personal opinions and views – which may be inherently biased – are propagated on an unprecedented scale. However, a ‘symbolic AI component’ may provide a part solution. In very basic terms, symbolic AI leverages logic to help track and justify AI-led decision-making, moving away from the harder-to-read ‘black box’ of deep learning systems.
As we see government react to AI’s advance, future EU legislation may very well ask for transparent ‘glass box’ type components and explanations. Regulatory frameworks will certainly be arriving, and discussing AI policy within your company now may provide a crucial head start.
Interested in learning more? Discover what workers want when working with AI and get your access to the report today.
You can also catch up on the webinar.
About this author
Jason Barr - Business Director at Hays