2022 saw an unprecedented upsurge in the use of generative artificial intelligence. ChatGPT and DALLE-2 provided a lightswitch moment for many; highlighting how AI is going to transform industries as we know them today. AutogenAI has been at the forefront of this development, building Language Engines that support organisations in commercial writing; expediting the process of producing bids, tenders, and other business prose. Generative AI is set to revolutionise the way we create and communicate. Organisations who move first will be at a huge advantage. However, somewhere along the line, AI is likely to consume whole industries, the same way the internet has devastated industries like video and rental services in the past. AI will make many jobs redundant by automating previously skilled work. However, long-term, AI will create more jobs than it destroys.

Responsible AI developers and users recognise that AI works best in tandem with humans. This is why at AutogenAI our ‘AI’ stands for ‘Augmented Intelligence’. “Augmented intelligence is a design pattern for a human-centred partnership model of people and artificial intelligence (AI) working together to enhance cognitive performance, including learning, decision making and new experiences.” Although advancements in generative language technology have enabled an expedited process for producing a first draft of a document, the technology still requires a user with an expert level of understanding to fully leverage its capabilities.

Developments in artificial intelligence pose the question: will those without the requisite knowledge and abilities be unable to take full advantage of this technology, creating a disparity in the workplace?

The Digital Skills Gap

AI is an increasingly advantageous tool, but only if we know how to use it. As per the National AI Strategy, the digital skills gap is estimated to cost the UK economy £63 billion per year in potential GDP. Employers (and indeed, the government) should thus view upskilling and reskilling as an investment, as opposed to a non-essential expense.

Psychologically, this ability to invest and retrain is no mean feat. Resistance to change in the form of algorithmic aversion – “the tendency for people to avoid using algorithms or automated decision-making systems when given the choice” – as discussed by AutogenAI’s Cam Browne, could pose difficulties in the uptake of new technologies and their adequate training. For employers to have trust in investment in upskilling, reskilling, and new technologies, and for employees to trust that their value as a worker won’t be displaced, takes a leap of faith. But it’s clear that reluctance to spend time and money now will only serve to disadvantage businesses in the long run.

Shifting Roles

AI is at the forefront of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, and in keeping, will cause many jobs to become outdated. According to the World Economic Forum, in the next five years, half of all workers will be in need of some degree of upskilling or reskilling to be equipped for a shifting or contemporary role. According to a McKinsey Global Institute report, up to 375 million workers may be required to move occupations as AI takes over the workplace. However, long-term, more wealth and more job opportunities will be created. Some of these jobs we are unable to imagine today. For example, AutogenAI last year employed the first Prompt Engineer in the UK (read our James Huckle’s article herefor an explanation of what Prompt Engineering is). The critical problem facing the advancement of AI will not be a lack of jobs, it will be structural unemployment, insufficient education, training, and opportunity access.

Diversity in AI

The skills gap is not solely problematic for economic reasons. The lack of diversity in AI and AI skills is similarly worrying. The Alan Turing Institute notes that just 22% of data and AI workers in the UK are women. As a multitude of jobs will be automated, and many individuals will require reskilling or upskilling, those adept with AI will be at a huge advantage. Furthermore, high-skill jobs are the least likely to be affected, furthering the idea that those currently in a lower socio-economic bracket will run the risk of unemployment. If AI and its development continue to exaggerate an already unequal playing ground, inequality for particular groups of people will only deepen, and companies will flounder commercially due to a lack of diversity in ideas, opinions, and innovation. Research has shown that top-scoring businesses for ethnic and cultural diversity have been 33% more likely to have above-average profitability, while gender diversity corresponds to a 21% increase. Thus, effective training of all employees should be a priority for employers. Governments and companies will need to take effective action through investing in the development and implementation of reskilling and upskilling programmes for workers, and effective education across schools and higher education.

The Future of Work

Though daunting, upskilling and reskilling for all groups of people has the potential to provide a better way to work. PwC’s Global Artificial Intelligence Study found a potential $15.7tr contribution to the global economy by 2030 from AI. The World Economic Forum predicted a displacement of roles like Data Entry Clerks and Administrative and Executive Secretaries, and a growing demand for jobs like Data Analysts and Scientists and AI and Machine Learning Specialists by 2025. More high-skilled labour, and less hands-on work is likely to further the ability of many to work from home, creating a more accessible work environment for those who are unable to regularly get into the office. The World Economic Forum also predicted new technology to create 12 million more jobs than it destroys by 2025. Overall, AI is likely to provide more global wealth, and with that higher-income, higher-skilled roles.

For this future of work to be a positive force for change requires a great deal of effort from governments, businesses, educational institutions, and nonprofits. Organisations must focus on closing skills gaps and improving opportunities for those in middle to lower-skilled roles and from lower socio-economic and educational backgrounds. The only way to equip society for the future of work is by a societal commitment to responsible technological development and training; including first-rate, comprehensive teaching and upskilling, and focused initiatives across sectors, policymakers and educators. Only a people-first strategy, centred on creating a technologically prepared and receptive public, will allow for meaningful development and a prospering economy.

At AutogenAI, we provide language model upskilling and training that works for your business. The phased implementation of our language engines and our bespoke training ensures your workers are confident and comfortable with the AI, and able to get the most out of it. Our ongoing support ensures the AI stays accessible and valuable across all aspects of your use-case. What is your business doing to embrace the shift to AI technologies? Get in touch at info@autogenai.com.