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Generative AI tools and productivity: WEF report says up-skilling is the need of the hour

Generative AI tools and productivity: WEF report says up-skilling is the need of the hour
  • A World Economic Forum report says that AI-based language models such as the now popular ChatGPT, have the potential to enhance productivity and output in the workplace.
  • Low-skilled workers can benefit from generative AI technologies, leading to increased job satisfaction.
  • Imperative that workers acquire new skills to adapt to the changing landscape, says the report.
With the launch of ChatGPT in November 2022, generative artificial intelligence (AI) has been the topic of discussion in corporate boardrooms, and living rooms alike. The World Economic Forum’s report, ‘Top 10 Emerging Technologies of 2023’, released on June 26, has also listed generative AI as one of the top emerging technologies and also explores the question about job displacement due to the new technology.

The report defines generative AI as a technology that ‘can synthesise what it has learnt from gigantic data sets to create, and intuit new information in novel ways.’ In other words, generative AI has the ability to produce fresh, and unique content by analysing data patterns. This is achieved through the utilisation of intricate algorithms, and techniques that draw inspiration from the functioning of the human brain.

Can generative AI complement human workers?

AI-based language models such as the widely adopted ChatGPT, and its future iterations have the potential to enhance productivity, and elevate the quality of outputs in the workplace, the report says.

By taking on tasks like generating ideas, and providing editing assistance, these models can redefine human roles, shifting the focus from initial drafting to more refined stages. Particularly, low-skilled workers can benefit from generative AI technologies, leading to increased job satisfaction, and a boost in self-confidence.

Yeshab Giri, Chief Commercial Officer, Staffing, and Randstad Technologies, Randstad India, an HR services company, says that automated coding can make the job of coders more efficient and allow them to focus on tasks that are highly complex and subjective in nature.

Similarly, AI tools can automate repetitive data entry tasks, and assist with research, enabling humans to focus on more complex, and creative aspects of their jobs. In the financial industry, AI tools can help with data analysis, providing analysts with faster and more accurate insights.

Will generative AI replace humans?

The big question is whether generative AI will also replace workers, especially those doing simple repetitive tasks. The WEF report mentions that it is crucial to acknowledge the likelihood of job displacement due to generative AI.

“The worry that AI, and automation would result in job losses in certain areas is justified. Automation, and AI are changing the job market, and some jobs may eventually become obsolete as a result. These are likely to be those at the lower end of the creativity spectrum repetitive tasks,” says S. Pasupathi, Chief Operating Officer, HirePro, a technology platform for enterprise recruitment.

He says that in their current state, AI models are unable to fully replace a broad spectrum of occupations due to the distinct skills, and capabilities that human intelligence offers. Occupations that necessitate creativity, empathy, physical agility, critical thinking, problem-solving skills, interpersonal interaction, emotional intelligence, as well as roles prioritising safety and security, cannot be effectively substituted by AI.

“Jobs that rely on human emotions, intuition, and decision-making processes are less likely to be replaced by AI models in general,” says Pasupathi.

Importance of up-skilling and reskilling

The report says that to ensure widespread sharing of the advantages brought by technological innovation and to enable workers to thrive in the evolving job market, it is crucial to implement policies, and programs that aid them in upskilling and reskilling. By supporting workers in their endeavours to acquire new skills, they can adapt to the changing landscape, and effectively leverage the benefits of technological advancements.

“It is important to view AI technology as a tool, and understand its capabilities to enhance your own skills. It is essential to focus on enhancing soft skills, like strategic planning, and subjective problem-solving to be able to feed AI-tools with the most relevant inputs for them to perform efficiently,” says Giri.


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