The Fourth Industrial Revolution Is Here Thanks To AI

It has become a ubiquitous – if largely unnoticed – presence in our everyday lives, but is artificial intelligence (AI) now ushering in a fourth industrial revolution?

According to Nicola Morini Bianzino, Global Chief Client Technology Officer at Ernst and Young (E&Y), a global leader in advisory services, AI has opened up “an era in which machines will become smart, self-optimising themselves and the systems in which they operate”.

However, as impactful as AI will be on our working lives, few people are aware of its potential to both disrupt current workflows or empower us with new skills.

A recent survey by Aimpoint Digital, an AI and data analytics services firm, has revealed that more than a quarter (28 per cent) of UK adults have never heard of the technology.

The study also revealed that only two in every 10 Britons have ever used AI at work, with half of those admitting to using an AI tool to aid their work without their boss’s knowledge or approval.

The findings come after recent reports indicating that UK businesses are preparing to eliminate tens of thousands of jobs within the next decade as a result of AI implementation.

More widely, Goldman Sachs recently released a report which suggested 300 million jobs could be lost worldwide because of AI adoption.

The figures highlight the urgency for organisations to embrace the AI revolution and empower their workforce with the essential skills to leverage its advantages.

A lack of awareness on how to critically assess and navigate AI-powered technologies may also make individuals who are uninformed or unaware more vulnerable to the associated risks and biases.

Speaking at this year’s Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity, John Rudaizky, global brand, marketing and experiences leader at E&Y, predicts that, as with all revolutions, “[AI will bring] a degree of displacement, but there’s also new and unexpected roles that will come out”.

The UK study highlights the need for increased awareness and training around AI, he adds. However, he also expects the technology will bring a positive shift in the way people learn, operate, and create.

“There’s no doubt AI’s the biggest conversation out here, and it’s the biggest conversation pretty much in every boardroom around the world because it’s going to completely transform the world,” Rudaizky told Euronews Next.

AI “frees them [employees] up in some ways from the mundane and creates an opportunity to do the real magic in the world,” he said.

“Overall, it’s going to change the way we recruit from a talent point of view. It’s going to change the way some of the new roles will be formed”.

Rudaizky expects that to some extent, creativity will be both boosted and undermined by AI. Nonetheless, he is optimistic that ultimately “humans will be augmented by the technology, not the other way around”.

To prevent leaving the existing workforce behind, upskilling programs become essential, he says.

Organisations must prioritise the upskilling of their employees, empowering them with the knowledge and skills necessary to adapt to the changing landscape.

“I think upskilling the workforce around for most organisations is going to be critical because you can hire a number of talent, but you need to upskill everyone,” said Rudaizky.

Upskilling for AI may simply imply training programmes and initiatives to improve the overall awareness of AI, but also identify areas where the technology may impact the roles of workers to then provide relevant training.

Rudaizky thinks the metaverse offers promising features to fulfil this need.

Upskilling initiatives using virtual spaces can enhance learning experiences and break down boundaries, providing individuals with unique opportunities for growth and development, he said.

“[The metaverse] is a very powerful way in which you can communicate and engage people,” he said, adding that he expects the virtual universe will “probably supercharge” the upskilling initiatives, “personalise them or make them more engaging”.

“Sometimes when you have an alter ego, an avatar experience, you can remove some of your boundaries,” he noted.

Besides freeing us from mundane work, the combination of artificial and human intelligence could drive breakthrough discoveries.

Human creativity and judgment augmented by the computational power of AI have already led to breakthroughs in areas spanning from vaccine development and storage, to fully automated driving and space exploration.

Next, it could yield solutions to some of humanity’s most intractable problems, including ways to mitigate climate change, Rudaizky adds.

There is a pressing need to empower individuals with the knowledge and understanding to navigate the AI landscape effectively.

Kernel Reporter

The Kernel Media exists to present responsibly sourced information about the nature of existence. Responsibly sourced, verified information about our world is the backbone of humanity’s progress, and we aim to contribute to this progress with such info.

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