The year is 2025.
It is heartening to see people from different nationalities, genders, and skin colors in a face-to-face meeting, under the same roof. They are achievers in their respective fields who have redefined art, tech, humanities, creativity, and repetitive tasks with the help of artificial intelligence.
The CEO starts his welcome speech with the words,
“Am I seeing fear on the faces of my best performers? Is it a fear of being tracked, watched, copied, and finally being eliminated from jobs by a faceless monster?
Isn’t it the real reason why we wanted to meet in person, rather than in virtual mode?”
A few heads nod in agreement and others look unsure.
“Well, my reason for calling you all here is entirely different. We have been through wars and pandemics, and each catastrophe provided us with unique perspectives. I see the world coming together like never before, to fight against different problems on different platforms with unique perspectives.
Have you ever felt isolated and then looked around for opportunities within that space? Suddenly you see the space expanding. You are not a victim, but a pioneer. Can you picture a human on a trip to another planet or island? She roams around, clicks pictures, and sends messages to the world she comes from, about the treasures that lie buried there. She finds herself trending on social media platforms. All eyes and ears are focused on what she has to say.
Let’s come back to the objective of today’s meeting. We are rolling out new courses, job profiles and training needs assessment tools. I would like to gauge the future potential of this high-performing group.
I invite you to a world at the intersection of culture and technology, a world where you will see artificial intelligence and human expertise in seamless integration.
Are you ready to join me on this transformative journey?”
Silence. But everyone hears the sound of potential.
“Yes”, continues the CEO, “there are plenty of things you have not heard of before and many that you will discover on the way. And it’s going to be an exciting ride, not unnerving”.
Michelle, who hails from Trinidad & Tobago looks at the anxious faces in the room and thinks “It is not a male or a white male trying to undermine me. They are all with me in this fight against the monsters we created and who are now threatening to take away our jobs.”
George is an American and wants to know how Asian countries are coming up in various fields, “We have a lot of talent there which can be hired for our new initiatives.”
Do you see yourself somewhere in this global scenario a couple of years from now?
But what’s happening today, and how do we know if we are prepared to face the future?
LAWS REGULATING AI
Currently, there are no laws regulating AI in India. The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeITY) has set up four committees to promote AI initiatives and develop a policy framework.
Internationally, the Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence is a multi-stakeholder initiative with 15 countries as members. The aim is to support research and mitigate potential challenges.
The AI Act proposed by the European Union defines three categories based on perceived risk.
· Unacceptable Risk
· High Risk which needs to be monitored
· Limited Risk instruments for compliance with transparency requirements.
By and large, a disclosure that content is generated by AI would be needed.
HOW WILL THE FUTURE OF WORK UNFOLD?
Let’s take baby steps and equip ourselves for what will happen in the next 2, 3, or 5 years. The future will unfold in slow motion.
Natasha Stanley, Head Coach, Writer, and Experience Designer advised the ‘duck approach’.
At some point in your shift, there will come a moment when you’re face to face with someone who has real decision-making power.
It might be in an informational interview, a formal job interview, a social event, a conference… there you are, in dialogue with someone who could if they wanted, help to change your life.
Whatever the context, the last thing you want is to find yourself stumbling over your words, apologizing for your lack of knowledge or experience, and feeling like a fraud.
One of the best ways to tackle this challenge early on in your shift is to start acting like a duck as soon as you can.
Counter-intuitive though it may feel, the more you immerse yourself in the world of your new industry and behave as though you’re already a part of it, the more knowledge you’ll acquire, the more confidence you’ll feel, and the more credibility you’ll have.
She has summed up a strategy for future careers in five sentences.
We need to remember that any CEO worth his CTC will ask for returns on investment. These companies know that they need to level up internationally, and isolation is not an option. Huge amounts are being invested in AI initiatives to cut costs.
And cost-cutting measures adopted by companies may cost you your job unless you upskill and reskill yourself. Human effort will be needed to develop targeted applications, apply checks and balances, and ensure that the system runs smoothly in line with national and international laws.
Employees need to carve out a niche for themselves, amidst all this chaos and imbalance. The good news is that there are many upcoming ideas, concepts, processes, and technologies. It is not difficult to develop unique expertise in a chosen niche.
Sunita Nair is furiously jotting down notes from the CEO's speech on one document, and setting goals for herself on her phone app. She is truly inspired by glimpses of the future being painted on the giant screen.
Six years ago, she was on a career break and identified herself as a stay-at-home mom. She wandered around several platforms that promised to help women get jobs for women on a break but found nothing to suit her capability and interest.
The hotshot careers in AI need a STEM degree which she does not possess.
Then, she focused on careers for non-technical people and found a few to generate interest.
· AI Ethicist
· Linguist and Writer
· Domain expert
· UX designer and visual storyteller
· Analytics translator
Lily however chose a different path. Her motto was to focus on the things that will not change. Agriculture, education, logistics, and supply chains are some of the areas that will face a very limited impact of AI on jobs. Art and craft will find new avatars with new applications but will always need human imagination and creativity.
This is where the thought process for alternatives begins.
You can refine it further with
· SWOT Analysis
· Application of the Ikigai concept
· Career Counselling
· Gaining some experience with internship or pro-bono work
The future does not look as scary as before. Isn’t it?