Why AI is likely to render people jobless in future

Wednesday, September 13th, 2023 04:10 | By
Robot, PHOTO/Simplilearn.
Robot, PHOTO/Simplilearn.

Imagine dedicating years to your education with the hope of improving your prospects in life; and just as you complete this arduous journey, unexpected disruptions occur.

This has been the story of countless individuals in our generation, a tale as old as time. Henry Makobi captured the essence of this struggle in his inspiring melody, Someni vijana…mwisho wa kusoma mtapata kazi nzuri sanaa.” These tunes served as a reminder that education is the key to unlocking a brighter future, assuring us that our efforts would be rewarded with fulfilling careers in life.

Recently, I engaged in a conversation with colleagues regarding the increasing diversity within the modern workplace; it is clear many employees are pursuing jobs unrelated to their field of study to meet their financial obligations.

As the future of work becomes more digital, Artificial Intelligence is revolutionising jobs by offering unprecedented efficiency, accuracy, and productivity. However, concerns arise about potential job displacements because of these disruptions. Going green and sustainability is the new mantra.

Will AI massively displace workers? How can we adapt to the skills of the fourth industrial revolution? At a time when Mass layoffs are a daily affair, a report by World Economic Forum the future of jobs report 2023, which explores how jobs and skills will evolve over the next five years paints a grim jobs outlook, in the next five years, employers around the world expect loss of jobs due to technology advancements.

How we position and prepare ourselves for the future matters now more than ever. Trends like the adoption of Big Data, Cloud compounding and AI are likely to see a positive growth in the future. The report indicated that in the next five years, some of the lucrative jobs in the market will be electric vehicle Specialists, AI and machine learning specialists and environment protection professionals, sustainability specialists fintech and data analysts.

Our institutions of learning and individuals can capitalise on the report projections to prepare for the future of jobs.

The report reveals an intriguing finding: it is not only the prominent tech and green sectors that will experience a surge in demand, but also occupations such as heavy truck and bus drivers, vocational education teachers, mechanics, and machinery repairers. Simultaneously, the global community is increasingly recognising the importance of sustainability and environmental consciousness.

This shift towards sustainability is not only driven by ethical considerations but also by the growing demand from consumers who prioritise eco-friendly products and services.

The future of work and employment in Kenya is undergoing significant changes too. The increasing use of automation and technology is reshaping the job landscape. The tea plantations are automating and other sectors are no exception.

The Future of Jobs Report by McKinsey emphasises the need for reskilling to thrive in the changing work environment, as machines take up more tasks. Future Job growth will favour high-skill occupations in healthcare and STEM fields, while middle and low-skill jobs may face a decline. It is essential for individuals to adapt to these changes by pursuing education and training in high-demand sectors to secure promising career opportunities.

HR Tech Africa highlights the evolving gender dynamics in the workforce, emphasising the need to address gender imbalances and attract and keep talent, especially in the face of automation potentially impacting up to 30 per cent of jobs by the mid-2030s.

The potential for AI and robotics to thrive is immense, but the concerns about mass layoffs and uncertainty about the future of work exacerbate these issues. Society must address these apprehensions and mitigate the negative consequences of technological disruption.

— The writer is an Innovations Evangelist and a PhD candidate—[email protected]

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