AI: Shaping The Way We Work

The A.I. Revolution

How will the future be shaped for the next generation?

We are on the cusp of another major industrial revolution. It will radically change the way people work, causing major disruption to labor markets and to society.

Our strategic partner, McKinsey & Company  has recently published their Future of Work in Switzerland report, that estimates that by 2030, automation and digitization will replace roughly 1.2 million jobs in Switzerland. Globally, that there is a $5 to $7 trillion opportunity for automating low level “knowledge work” tasks like taking customer support calls. More than half of all activities today are already automatable by adopting and adapting current technology.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is expected to lead to the new wave of automation and boost the performance of digital technologies. McKinsey’s definition of AI is based on the ability to learn from experience, supported by big data architecture and a new generation of self-learning algorithms. AI technologies include machine learning, smart robotics, natural language processing, computer vision, autonomous vehicles, and virtual agents.  As a result, there will be significant shifts in the demand for certain skills, some becoming more in demand, and some significantly less.


Which jobs and sectors will be most affected?

The activities that are most susceptible to automation include predictable physical tasks as well as the collection and processing of data. These three activity categories make up 50 percent of working hours in Switzerland and, in each case, their automation potential is greater than 60 percent.

The most extensive displacement of activities could be in retail and wholesale trade, manufacturing, the public sector, and finance that together account for about half of all salaried employees and around 60 percent of Swiss GDP.

Experts are of the impression that like all previous industrial revolutions, the automotion of these tasks will require those displaced employees to upskill and be re-employed in new industries that have been generated by the shifted technological landscape. Automation will disrupt labor markets and alter the characteristics of jobs, but could create as many new jobs as it displaces.

Activities equivalent to 400,000 new jobs could be created that are linked to technology itself (hardware/software), and companies implementing digital solutions. Other sectors with projected job creation include healthcare, and professional services.

As Switzerland prepares for these changes to its labor markets in the digital and automation ages, it faces two imperatives: (1) accelerating digital transformation and (2) reskilling.


Reskilling: What’s hot and what’s not…

McKinsey estimates that demand for tasks that require basic cognitive or physical and manual skills could decline by around 20 percent. Conversely, the need for social and emotional and technological skills is set to rise by around 20 percent and up to 50 percent, respectively.

With increasingly able machine intelligence, the fourth industrial revolution will call for a shift of skills towards being technical and creative; skills that machines will not be replicating anytime soon. Jobs that require a high quantity of black and white ruled decision making, anomaly identifying, and repeated physical processes are the one where the skills are most replicated by algorithms and smart robotics. It will become case of mastering the new technology to work for us, and not become servants to the machine.

McKinsey’s conclusion is that Switzerland needs to digitize its economy, and that there will be a significant corresponding shift in employment and skills. Failing to digitize fast enough could dampen competitiveness and lead to slow growth in well-paying jobs; failing to reskill fast enough could mean that new jobs cannot be filled. Given the relatively low cost of capital and high cost of labor, Switzerland is one of the places likely to profit first from digitization and automation.

Will we be masters of, or servants to AI?

How will your skills and drive determine the way you transform yourself and your businesses? This is a big question, which will be dissected many ways by experts in academia and industry at WORLDWEBFORUM 2019. The Future of Work is in our hands, and a dedicated  Track covering this topic goes into depth about how you can master the changes to come.

Buy your ticket now to reserve your spot at this usually sold-out event.