How AI Will Impact Work and Jobs

With the Labor Day holidays over, Ralph Haupter, President of Microsoft Asia and Corporate Vice President of Microsoft Corp says there’s no doubt that the advent of broadly-available Artificial Intelligence (AI) offers businesses the prospect of increased productivity and accelerated innovation, whilst also enabling society to help solve some of its toughest  and most persistent challenges.

Haupter says, “As we celebrate international Labor Day, it is also pertinent to examine the far-reaching implication that AI brings to the workforce, and ask ourselves if the social disruptions that AI can potentially create will ultimately overshadow its benefits.”

Microsoft recently partnered with the leading technology advisory firm IDC to assess the digital transformation landscape across the region. Titled Unlocking the Economic Impact of Digital Transformation in Asia Pacific, the study surveyed 1,560 business and IT leaders from 15 Asia Pacific economies. It showed that 85% of jobs in Asia Pacific will be transformed in the next three years.

The respondents said that over 50% of jobs will be redeployed to a new position and/or retrained and upskilled for digital transformation. What’s interesting is that the Study shows that 26% of jobs will be newly created roles from digital transformation, which will offset the 27% of jobs that will be outsourced or automated. In other words, the overall workforce effect will be broadly neutral.

Haupter believes these are clear indications that how businesses organize work, how people find employment and the skills people need to prepare for the workforce are changing dramatically. These changes are likely to accelerate in the decade ahead.

“As AI continues to transform the nature of work, we will need to rethink education, skills and training to ensure that people are prepared for the jobs of the future and businesses have access to the talent they need to succeed. And as traditional models of employment transform, we will also need to modernize legal frameworks to recognize new ways of working, provide adequate worker protections and maintain social safety nets,” says Hunter.

Haupter concludes, “The future of AI can burn brightly or dimly. My viewpoint is that disruption is a norm, and ability to adapt to disruptions is what defines all of us. And to adapt to the fast-approaching, rapidly evolving AI future, all parties, from workers to enterprises to governments, will need to spend more time listening to each other, collaborate and constantly learn new knowledge and skills.”  

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