Thursday, November 29, 2018

Forbes Magazine: "The Artificial Intelligence Paradox" and the importance of human soft skills

Questions surrounding how much AI is going to replace work traditionally done by lawyers is a hot issue these days. A new Forbes article makes an argument I've seen elsewhere that, paradoxically, as AI replaces human capital in some respects, the importance of uniquely human workplace skills like creative thinking, "people skills" and similar "soft skills" will actually become more important and be more highly prized by employers. Author George Anders makes the same pitch in his recent book You Can Do Anything: The Surprising Power of a "Useless" Liberal Arts EducationHere an excerpt from the new Forbes article:

Artificial Intelligence Paradox: As Robots Take Over, People Skills Become More Critical


Artificial intelligence and machine learning aren't going to wipe out jobs on a wholesale basis anytime soon. But the technologies are going to dramatically transform the tasks associated with many jobs, for both white-collar professional and firstline workers.  In many ways, AI will reduce mundane or repetitive tasks, while also helping to elevate and increase the scope of many jobs.


For top-level decision makers and entrepreneurs, success will be defined by their ability to marshal the forces of AI and digital  technologies to realign and build faster and cheaper ways to deliver products and services to customers. For technology professionals, opportunities will abound in building and maintaining these systems.


For support-style functions, the future is muddier. There will be a realignment of skills and priorities, and many jobs -- ranging from accountants to HR managers to administrative assistants -- will be recast in ways that are not quite foreseeable today.


Some envision a somewhat bleak picture for the people in the corporate middle. Igor Perisic, chief data officer at LinkedIn,  Corporation, foresees a bright future for tech jobs -- positions such as "software engineers and data analysts, along with technical skills such as cloud computing, mobile application development, software testing and AI, are on the rise in most industries and across all regions." However, many corporate support jobs fall into the highly “automatable” category, such as administrative assistants, customer service representatives, accountants and electrical/mechanical technicians.


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Continue reading here.


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