‘Employability’ a major concern as age of automation, AI draws nearer

October 18, 2018 - 5:24 PM
The humanoid robot AILA (artificial intelligence lightweight android) operates a switchboard during a demonstration by the German research centre for artificial intelligence at the CeBit computer fair in Hanover March, 5, 2013. (REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch)

Those who received low-level education are at the greatest risk of losing their chances at employment as automation and artificial intelligence continue to shape the labor sector.

Tech consulting firm Accenture revealed during the launch of its “Skills for Success” learning module that it conducted research on the difficulties faced by workers as industries shifted to digitization and artificial intelligence.

Accenture, which partnered with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority and other educational non-profit organizations, found that those aged 16 to 24 were at risk of being displaced from their jobs, with industries’ reliance on ‘digital skills’ expected to grow by 12 percent by 2024.

Those with lower-level education, according to the company, will most likely be affected by companies that will make the shift to relying on artificial intelligence and digital skills in the coming years.

TESDA on the one hand said that it had an employment rate of 74 percent for the graduates of its programs.

According to TESDA director Maria Susan de la Rama, ‘soft skills’ or skills that helped new members of the workforce market themselves better to potential employers were necessary to keep unemployment rates from rising.

The rapid rise of artificial intelligence and robot technology has caused some worry among technology writers and analysts.

U.S-based robotics company Boston Dynamics’ recently-produced Spot mini-robot, which is based on the anatomy of a common dog, is feared to be a precursor to a new form of A.I-driven weapon.

Some have raised fears that the rise of artificial intelligence will gave way to robots and computers taking over jobs that were once reserved for highly-educated human beings.

Other technology experts have prepared guides for employees to survive the possibility of losing to robots. Among the tips that can be commonly heard are to steer clear of jobs that are more suited for robots and to improve one’s ‘soft skills’ by showing emotional and social maturity to attract employers’ favor.

The inevitable rise of artificial intelligence

Management think-tank McKinsey Global Institute in November 2017 published a two-year study that found that automation and artificial intelligence could reduce the entire world’s human workforce by 30 percent.

Between 400 to 800 million jobs could be displaced by the adoption of automation which will affect up to 375 million people worldwide, according to the study.

A separate study by the Brookings Institute that compiled different studies on the impact of the artificial intelligence on various economies concluded that the widespread poverty and unemployment foreseen could lead to entire populations resulting to civil disobedience.

The chaos, according to the study, would lead to the rise of authoritarian governments and extreme income inequality.