In the conversation with Keerthana, correspondent, Higher Education Review Magazine, Shaleen Manik, CHRO at Transsion India, shared his views and thoughts on the potential challenges foreseen with the increasing use of AI in the workforce, as well as what ethical considerations should be taken into account when implementing AI in the workforce.
According to you, what are some potential advantages of integrating AI into the workplace?
As AI technology advances, its integration into numerous facets of the workplace also gaining popularity. AI's effect is apparent, from automating tedious & repetitive tasks to assisting professionals in making informed decisions. Diverse opinions characterise AI's influence on the future of employment. Some experts believe AI cutting jobs; others see a landscape of new opportunities, increased productivity and economic growth. Regardless of the outcome, it is evident that AI will have a significant impact workforce and skillset. Here are some of the major advantages of AI in the workplace.
High Efficiency - AI fosters high efficiency by automating routine tasks, allowing humans to focus on complex activities, thereby amplifying overall productivity.
24/7 Availability -Unlike humans, machines don't need to rest or take a break. It can perform lengthy tasks effectively.
Proactive Decision Making - AI enables proactive decision-making by revealing insights, hence improving decision quality.
Cost Savings -AI optimising workflows, resulting in significant cost reduction & enhanced organisational profitability.
With enormous advantages and rapid adoption, it is highly recommended that organisations start exploring AI's expertise and leveraging its potential to remain relevant& competitive in the future of workspace.
What are the potential challenges or risks foreseen with the increasing use of AI in the workforce?
Although artificial intelligence has ushered in a new era of innovation and efficiency, it is imperative to recognise the obstacles and potential risks associated with the rising usage of AI in the workplace.
Many developed markets are already recognizing the potential and the risks of generative AI and their governments actively exploring how AI tech works for individuals, businesses and society. It's time for emerging markets to prepare & follow suit. Some of the major drawbacks that require attention are-
Job Displacement: AI's automation could lead to job cuts, making certain roles obsolete and causing unemployment in some sectors.
Loss of Human Interaction: AI might replace parts of human interaction, decreasing collaboration and social bonds among employees.
Unveiling Bias and Discrimination: AI systems are just as neutral as the data it has been presented, potentially leading to biased workplace policies and practices.
Ethical Concerns: As AI becomes more widespread, addressing ethical challenges like privacy, equity, transparency and safety must be addressed.
Unequal Access: Not everyone has the same access to AI and automation tech possibly widening the gap between those with and without access.
In embracing the AI revolution, acknowledging these challenges is pivotal. Balancing the benefits with limiting any potential pitfalls is the way to ensure that AI remains a tool for collective progress, rather than unintended drawbacks.
What skills and competencies will be most valuable in a future where AI is more prevalent?
Much like any other sector the AI industry demands professionals need a blend of technical and soft skills. Professionals must have a strong sense of ethics and awareness given the enormous potential of AI that needs responsible use. The ability to transcend short-term implications and assess decisions with a view to their long-term impacts is equally vital. Thus, four fundamental skills emerge for AI excellence.
Technical & Digital Competence: Skills like data literacy understanding of programming languages (Java, R & Python) and Cybersecurity grow vital. Not everyone becomes an AI engineer, so getting proficient in using AI technology is crucial.
Soft Skills Proficiency: Beyond technical proficiency, it is imperative to possess soft skills like communication, collaboration, and critical thinking. Given the collaborative nature of AI projects effective teamwork and problem-solving abilities are essential.
Specialised Domain Knowledge- AI is being applied in various fields viz Telco Healthcare, Automobile etc. Professionals in the field should quickly gain domain knowledge and the implications of AI in the industry.
Adaptability and Continuous Learning: With AI evolving rapidly individuals who can quickly learn and adapt to new technologies, tools, and methodologies will remain competitive.
Hence, thriving in the AI arena requires a skill mix. Fusion of technical expertise, soft skills, ethics, domain knowledge and learning drive AI professional's success in the workplace.
What ethical considerations should be taken into account when implementing AI in the workforce?
The ethical consideration of artificial intelligence necessitates balancing its potential advantages and disadvantages for individuals, society and the environment. Elements like Transparency, equity, privacy, safety and the effect on employment are some of the significant concerns raised by the advent of AI.
Transparency is very important in guaranteeing that decisions taken by AI systems are clear and understandable, fostering confidence, impartiality and fairness. It also helps people know how their information is used by AI systems.
Equity Equity is paramount in AI ethics. AI systems must avoid discrimination based on attributes like ethnicity, gender and age. Diverse data, unbiased techniques and fairness tests can achieve this.
Privacy is an ethical cornerstone. Companies must ensure that collected data respects individual privacy, obtain consent before using their information, make sure it's secure and limit access to it.
Safety is a key consideration associated with AI. Organizations must develop secure & reliable AI systems, monitoring them closely to prevent any risk to individuals and society.
Lastly, the ethical implications of AI on employment are essential. While AI enhances productivity, it may cause job losses. Organisations must consider how AI might impact their workforce and take necessary steps to mitigate any negative effects.
How can AI be used to enhance productivity and efficiency in the workplace without negatively impacting job security?
Artificial intelligence (AI) has the potential to enhance workplace effectiveness and productivity while ensuring job security. Firstly, AI can take over repetitive tasks, enabling employees to focus on more critical and creative work.
Secondly, AI helps in making smarter decisions by quickly analysing data and generating valuable insights that humans might overlook. This data-driven decision-making can streamline processes, optimize resource allocation and enhance overall efficiency. Additionally, AI can forecast industry trends, and support businesses amid rapid change.
However, ensuring job security involves a thoughtful & careful strategy. Companies can provide reskilling and upskilling opportunities to help employees adapt to new roles that complement AI technology. Additionally, AI also creates new roles, especially in development, maintenance and management.
The key to success is to strike a balance between human knowledge and AI support. Fostering a culture of learning where employees are equipped with new skills and AI knowledge can enhance their job prospects in an AI-augmented workplace.
In a nutshell, the thoughtful application of AI Technology can boost workplace productivity without endangering employment opportunities. Organisations may foster a healthy synergy between technology and the workforce, cultivating efficiency and creativity, by proactively preparing the workforce for the AI revolution and leveraging AI's strengths.