As artificial intelligence (AI) becomes increasingly prevalent in modern society, the technology’s implications are becoming easier to understand.
One of the areas that will be most affected by AI is employment. There are clear signs that business is becoming aware of this opportunity.
In a survey of 3,000 business leaders conducted by Boston Consulting Group and MIT Sloan Management Review, 75% of executives believed that AI would enable their organisations to move into new areas of business, while 85% felt that AI offered them a competitive advantage.
However, the impact on the workforce is a mixed picture. According to PwC, AI could displace around 7 million existing jobs by 2037, although the accountancy firm predicts this could be offset by the creation of 7.2 million new jobs.
Existing jobs will also see radical change. The OECD has stated that 32% of workers in the world’s richest countries face significant upheaval and would see their tasks changing considerably due to AI.
What is clear is that AI will result in seismic changes to the employment landscape. In the new working reality, fostering a culture of continuous learning to adapt to the changed, displaced or newly created jobs will be critical. This new world will be one in which a career is an education in itself.
At the same time, continuous learning is also vital for companies to keep abreast of innovation, stay ahead of their competitors and retain top talent.
The secret to delivering the new continuous learning workplace? AI.
AI is key to preparing workers for the automation transformation
In order to seize this opportunity and embed a culture of continuous and adaptable learning to respond to the automation transformation, companies will need to encourage much greater collaboration and knowledge sharing within and without their organisation, drawing on the latest and best content and tools from across business and society.
Key to this will be AI-driven technology platforms to support personalised, automated continuous learning. There is now a wide acceptance of learning technology and a renewed focus on learning outcomes as a means of driving organisational performance and, ultimately, revenue.
However, in a study carried out by Brandon Hall Group, 58% of companies surveyed described their current learning system as outdated and not fit to meet their business needs today, let alone in five or 10 years when automation takes hold across the economy.
Another problem organisations will have to address is the nature of learning content itself. Spherion Staffing’s 2016 Emerging Workforce Study revealed that 45% of workers felt that their company’s existing training offerings weren’t relevant to their daily responsibilities.
To provide learners with appropriate knowledge that will help them advance their career in an AI-led world of work, firms will need to identify learners’ requirements and close any skills gaps.
Managing this transformation and delivering value from the opportunity presented by AI will require new skills across the workforce. Workplace learning and development will be critical to delivering the skills business needs from the workforce in a fast, efficient and cost-effective way.
There simply isn’t going to be time to wait for new skills to arrive from new employees, or the existing human and financial capital to procure skills from the market.
Personalised training to reskill workers
Making AI the engine that powers the whole employee learning and development process will allow companies to develop more immersive and personalised learning experiences while allowing automation for menial tasks. AI will become the trainer!
As with all AI-driven processes, the effectiveness of AI-enabled learning depends on how people actually use the system: the more data the system processes, the more the machine learns about individual learner needs, turning the learning platform into a continuous improvement engine that grows alongside learners.
As each employee is different and will need different skills to adapt to different challenges, they need personalised content, accommodating personal preferences and learning styles. Delivering such personalisation “at scale” is impossible without AI.
Personalised learning involves handing a degree of control over to learners themselves, giving them input into how they progress and develop. For example, learners identifying a particular personal skills gap can receive targeted recommendations and training.
The AI learning systems can also automatically recognise an individual employee’s skill set, enabling it to provide a more comprehensive and less linear learning journey compared to previously human-coordinated training programmes.
AI will make learning personal. It will make learning relevant, with insights based on data, on user behaviour and on preference.
Changing enterprise learning’s status quo with an incredible ability to deliver automated and personalised learning.
In a world driven by automation, making sure the human workforce keeps pace will increasingly rely on the same underlying technology that is transforming the employment landscape.