Three FAQs about Preparing For AI in the Workplace
Artificial intelligence (AI) is making inroads in just about every job that involves data processing, repetition or predictive thinking. Instead of worrying about being replaced by AI, it’s time to get ready for when AI will arrive in your workplace.
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about AI in the workplace — and the answers you need to know.
Q: Will I be replaced by AI?
A: Probably not. According to the report titled “A Future That Works: Automation, Employment, and Productivity” by McKinsey Global Institute, less than five percent of all occupations consist of activities that can be completely automated. However, 60 percent of all occupations have at least 30 percent of tasks that can be automated. This means that while you’re not likely to be replaced, your job is likely to change in the coming years as AI will take over some of your tasks. However, this will free you up to concentrate on other areas of your job.
Q: What kind of tasks does AI do better than humans?
A: AI is extremely good at data processing, repetitive tasks, and, with the right algorithms, predictive thinking. Because of this, it impacts a wide range of jobs, from insurance agents and financial advisors to translators and customer service agents to radiologists and lawyers. However, AI is not as good as humans at jobs that require creativity and empathy, such as designers and psychologists. In addition, it can’t yet replace people in skilled trades, such as plumbers, electricians, and hair stylists.
Q: What can I do to prepare to work with AI?
A: The best advice is to learn all you can about AI in general and especially about how it’s being used in your field. For example, if you’re a customer service agent, find out how chatbots are being used to help direct customers to the right department. If you work as an office manager, learn how an intelligent assistant can help prioritize your emails and plan appointments. If you work as a project manager, find out how AI translators enable global teams to communicate with each other instantaneously. Additionally, when your employer starts implementing any AI technologies, get in on the ground floor. Participate in any training provided, and make sure to ask questions so you have a good understanding of the new technology.
While the prospect of AI in the workplace might seem intimidating, it’s best to embrace it, not resist it. Because thanks to the incredible capabilities it offers, employers will start adopting it sooner rather than later. And when you understand that AI can actually help you do your job better, you’ll feel more confident about riding this surging wave of technology — and ultimately, use your knowledge of it to advance your career.
A Future That Works: Automation, Employment, and Productivity — McKinsey Global Institute