How AI can train workers for the jobs of the future

  • Artificial intelligence (AI) is transforming the world of work.

  • It's automating millions of jobs - but also creating millions more.

  • Here's how AI can contribute to a positive future of jobs: by reskilling and upskilling, embedding learning into everyday activities, matching employees with opportunities and training youth.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is transforming the world of work at a rapid pace, and its impact is poised to accelerate even more in the decades ahead. The rise of AI in the workplace has the potential to improve some aspects of work – such as repetitive and dangerous tasks – but much of the public discussion has focused on AI’s potential to displace workers and the grave impacts this could pose to their livelihoods and quality of life.

Less discussed – but equally important – is how AI can also be part of the solution to train, upskill, and reskill employees, future-proofing and preparing them for the future of work.

Disruption and automation

The World Economic Forum's Future of Jobs Report 2020 found as automation increases, the amount of time spent on tasks at work by humans and machines will be equal in just five years. According to the report, 85 million jobs will be displaced across 26 countries and 15 industries by 2025, and more than 80% of employers expect to make wider use of remote work and to digitize work processes.

In other words, even with no further advances of AI, today’s workers will face enormous disruptions as labour markets are transformed by automation tools already on the market.

The challenge ahead will be even greater for two reasons: First, COVID-19 has taken an enormous toll on the global economy, leading to an estimated loss of 14% of working hours or approximately 400 million full-time jobs in the second quarter of 2020.

Second, far from remaining static, automation technologies are being developed and commercialized at an accelerating pace during the pandemic, and their capacities are expanding as they harness growing quantities of data, computing power, and experience.

A positive future

Despite these significant headwinds, AI holds great potential for workers and the future of labour. The Future of Jobs Report found that 97 new million jobs that are adapted to the new division of labour between humans and machines could be created by 2025.

Instead of worrying about job displacement, we should get to work creating the new, high-quality jobs of tomorrow while massively expanding our upskilling and reskilling efforts to transition displaced workers into these new opportunities. This is where AI can help solve some of the very problems it helped create.