Artificial Intelligence (AI) is neither a question of the future nor the past, but rather a question of the now. AI is creating needs and solving problems consumers and businesses didn’t know they had. Further, AI is changing the way jobs need to be done and the workforce that will take on those jobs. These rapid technological innovations and advancements are transforming the global business ecosystem, raising concerns as to whether jobs are being put at risk. The 2019 labor pool is competitive- consisting of humans, robots and machines. A 2013 future of employment study by the University of Oxford analyzed the percentage of jobs at risk as a result of digitization, automation, and computerization, and it revealed that, “47% of total US jobs are at risk.” The question becomes,

How does one survive in the ever-changing and ever-evolving era of artificial intelligence?

  1. Recognize AI, Don’t Run from it

Artificial Intelligence is inevitable; the concept was born in the 1950’s, and it has evolved in the decades following. Through its development, AI has posed threats to our society, but has also created opportunities. AI is being explored and exploited to cure and prevent diseases, to improve infrastructure and to solve complex social problems. Recognizing the potential of AI in your industry and developing a business relationship with it allows a business the potential to learn, evolve, gain exposure, and grow. A business that resists digitization and transformation risks weakening their competitive edge. According to an MITSloan Management Review research report on Reshaping Business with Artificial Intelligence, “Almost 85% [of executives] believe AI will allow their companies to obtain or sustain a competitive advantage.” This doesn’t imply haphazardly embracing AI, but rather taking the time to develop, execute and adapt an innovation strategy that blends with your business model and company culture.

 

  1. Evaluate your Skill Set

This can be done both at the individual level or at the managerial level. A skilled employee is a desirable employee, but how does an employer find the meeting point between a strong human skilled employee and a technically skilled employee? The World Economic Forum released the 20 Skills Necessary to succeed in 2020, and five are listed below:

  1. Complex problem solving

  2. Critical Thinking

  3. Creativity

  4. People Management

  5. Coordinating with others

These top five skills indicate a transformation in comparison to 2015, as the skills are clearly human-oriented. This implies that the often characterized and undermined “soft skills,” are imperative. Technical and repetitive skills can be managed and carried out by machines, where as human skills, in most circumstances, cannot. With creative skills comes ideas, and ideas initiate plans, optimize machines, and create robots. Machines cannot change a culture, but people management skills can, which is why the fourth recommendation is to cultivate a creative culture in the workplace.

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  1. Cultivate a Creative Culture

As demonstrated, creativity is a viable and difficult skill to teach. Change leaders can cultivate a creative culture to boost creativity in the workplace through workshops like design thinking sessions or by welcoming weekly, monthly, or even bi-monthly guest speakers. Fresh voices from experts and thought leaders may inspire creativity, while providing enriching experiences. Cultivating a creative culture means encouraging employees to communicate their ideas and collaborate to make ideas come to fruition. Creativity equates to ingenuity, and it is a necessary skill for success in the ever-changing and ever-evolving global business ecosystem.

 

  1. Avoid Disillusionment

James Luke’s TED Talk on “How to Survive an AI Winter” emphasizes that, “We have the volume of data, the processing power, and the desire to actually exploit [artificial intelligence].” We as businesses and entrepreneurs need to come to peace with the great challenge we face, and that is to recognize the investment required and to hire the right engineers to build these complex systems. In order to avoid what Luke references as the AI winter, we need to evaluate whether our expectations are level headed and achievable. Once we understand that algorithms are the solutions, rather than the technology itself, we can design these valuable complex systems.