The challenges that artificial intelligence (AI) poses for organisations and the workplace are highly complex. The answers to many of them lie in sharing knowledge, information, opinions, ideas and experiences to keep the discussion and our thinking moving forward in this fascinating area.
While attending a recent parliamentary evidence meeting on the enterprise adoption of AI, Richard Chiumento, director at Rialto Consultancy, underlined the importance of leaders taking on a greater role in reskilling and upskilling the workforce. He also highlighted how AI is already creating new jobs but more immediately the stark predictions are that it will destroy jobs faster than technology has in previous eras.
According to research, almost one third (30 per cent) of jobs in the UK and two-fifths (38 per cent) of jobs in the US are at risk of disappearing while 30 per cent of tasks in three-fifths of all jobs are at risk of being automated.
This will require reskilling of workforces on a global scale and Richard warned that the current mechanisms intended to facilitate this may not be able to absorb and respond to the changes quickly enough. He urged business leaders to place reskilling of employees at the top of their corporate agendas, stressing that it goes hand in glove with a digital transformation strategy, which will be key to businesses seizing competitive edge in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Business leaders must place the reskilling of employees at the top of their corporate agendas
Also contributing to the discussion was Dr Chris Brauer, director of innovation at the Institute of Management Studies (IMS) at Goldsmiths, University of London, who pointed out that “we shouldn’t be carried away with what AI could do, what matters is what AI should do”. He added that one quarter of businesses (24 per cent) have an AI strategy, double the number from 12 months ago. He also pointed out that those using AI are outperforming their peers by 11 per cent compared with five per cent the previous year.
Meanwhile, Justin Anderson, associate, digital strategy, KPMG reckoned that top-down policy on enterprise adoption of AI is leaving those in the middle “rather scared” of the transformation AI imposes. One of his key messages was organisations have to “empower middle management and engage them more”.
And PwC’s AI programme driver, Maria Axente, responding to the chair Lord Holme’s question, how can we effectively manage “dormant data” that already exists, stressed this was an important aspect moving forward, suggesting that decision-makers who are “educated about the possibilities of AI can make a big difference”. Having a data strategy and knowing where this sits, is pivotal.
Each of these comments are great openers for fascinating discussions that will help to shape how everyone successfully integrates AI in workplaces. Rialto looks forward to contributing to further discussions and helping our clients address challenges in areas such as leadership development, reskilling, upskilling and the next generation of digital transformation to ensure they are fully fit and ready for an integrated AI future.
Richard Chiumento is part of the permanent advisory board of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on AI. He participates in monthly evidence sessions at the House of Lords on how AI and automation is radically changing both what we do and how we do it in the workplace, which he actively shares with leaders in business.