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Let’s apply some common sense…

Let’s apply some common sense…

In the second of his series focusing on AI, Morgan Philips Founder & CEO, Charles-Henri Dumon looks at the impact of AI on tech and the new world of work.

We seem to keep reading about how AI and robots will take over all our jobs. Now while of course there will be some automation – you cannot halt the progress of technology – if you take the bigger picture, I don’t think it’s quite as negative as the doom merchants would lead us to believe. 

If you rewind the clock back to the 1980s, who would have thought about the advent of the world wide web, and the opportunities for say web designers and developers, ecommerce specialists or data scientists? The same applies to AI. Without wishing to speculate on numbers there will probably be more jobs created than lost, although we don’t even know what those jobs will be in 20 years from now!

Complementary skills

The types of task that are more likely to be automated are the more menial mundane clerical admin duties such as data inputting or data entry. This in many ways makes sense too, as we humans by nature want to be able to do more creative work, where you can come up with ideas and focus our time on more ‘high level’ jobs. If machines can help us and are more efficient than us in doing the ‘donkey work’ then surely it’s a no brainer.

But what about that very human quality that is common sense, something that we develop and take for granted from the day we are born? As the American professor of economics at MIT David Autor pointed out, the more a task requires ‘flexibility, judgement and common sense’, the less the likelihood of it being successfully automated. Machines don’t have that reasoning ability that we do, at least not yet. Even though it’s knowledge we all have, no one seems to be able to build machines to apply common sense.  

As well as intuition and making judgement calls, there is a plethora of other soft skills that machines can’t replace. Think of key leadership skills such as communication, adaptability, inspiring teams or self-awareness, the ability to learn from mistakes. These are the very skills that will become even more important and will make your organisation competitive as automation takes root. And they cannot be ‘botsourced’.

Cleary, the two must complement each other and be integrated. We need to also make sure that our economies and organisations have the skills and are prepared for the increased use of AI. So that we reach a state where technology can actually bring out the best in people.

Read part 1 – the three waves of AI  

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