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Artificial Intelligence and the future of work
December 14, 2018 News AI Artificial Intelligence IBM


Artificial intelligence is beginning to enhance not just our lives but over skills at work as well. More and more tasks we do at work these days are being taken over AI driven technology. While AI does enhance the working lifestyle, the fear of one losing their job to technology is always there. But as much as the industry needs to keep up its pace with the rest of the world, it may not just be the end for employees and their jobs.

According to IBM Malaysia’s Chief Technical Officer Freddy Lee, from an internal study conducted, in the next three years, close to 120 million workers from the world’s ten largest economies may need to train or be retrained as a result of AI and automation.

“It is no longer a question of fear but a question of how they are going to embrace the change. In our view, the biggest change in the HR executive level is to see how they can use the data that they have and use it as insights for their corporation.”

Freddy added that IBM itself has been implementing AI over the last 2 to 3 years in phases on its HR which has resulted in high cost savings.

By helping HR practitioners and businesses understand AI, it will help businesses safeguard against people. In other words, AI will eventually help companies gain more advantage. By reskilling staff to be more tech savvy and enabling them to work with technology, they will be able to be more competitive in the industry.

Indeed, Freddy agrees that low level jobs will be displaced. But at the same time, he added that this will also allow an employee to improve eventually. They will gain more experience and have a chance to move up the career ladder instead of just doing the same mundane task daily.

So how do we train employees to cope with AI at the workplace?

The IBM AI Skills Academy offers training for employees to improve their skills in these working environments. What started as a project targeted in the Middle East and Africa, the program has now made its way to Europe and around the globe. In the Southeast Asian region, IBM Singapore offers the program with Malaysia aiming to implement it in the near future as well.

The program is designed based on the market demand of each organisation and provides AI training to the staff to help them understand the technology better and also make full use of it. In the case of HR, the programs train staff how to use the AI to do some of their mundane tasks like monitoring and administration issues.

Today, AI can do a lot more than just solving simple administration issues. Companies are beginning to use AI to help them with their decision making especially when it comes to cost and staff management. AI technology is able to determine what is needed for an employee in a company.

Should the employee be given a raise? Has the employee been performing the tasks? IBM Watson Talent Suite and IBM Garage helps in the decision-making process by allowing AI to assist in the decision making, it will definitely save a lot more time.

Having said that, does this also mean that we become too dependent on AI to do all our tasks?

As Freddy puts it, “We cannot let a machine make the decision. The AI is designed to only give recommendations to the company. Ultimately it has to be a human being making the final judgement.”

He concluded that although AI can enhance our lives and improve working standards, it must never run our lives. Humans at the end of the day need to be conscious and in control.