How AI is affecting graduate roles in the workplace

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Wondering how the advances of artificial intelligence might impact your future career? Murdoch alumnus Dr Jeremy Nunn, Founder and Director of Workmetrics shares his views and predictions about the impact of AI on future graduate roles in the workplace.

The promise of AI in the workplace is an intimidating one. Slowly, a new workforce that doesn’t rest or demand a raise is being eased into the work environment, begging the fierce debate if this technology is an advantage or a threat. What we know for certain is the transformative impact it will have on how the role of humans in the workplace could change.

The impact of AI on workplaces

Right now, there is an increasing amount of jobs the current crop of graduates are doing that didn’t exist a decade ago, not to mention the more traditional graduate roles of their parents. I think we can all agree artificial intelligence will change the workplace forever; the question is how.

There is plenty of pessimistic outlook on AI in the workplace. Kai-Fu Lee, former President of Google China, says up to half of our jobs will be “technically and economically doable by AI and automation over the next 15 years”. Regarding graduate jobs specifically, a third of jobs across the globe will be eventually replaced by machines and/or software, according to a report by the International Bar Association (IBA).

How industries could be affected

The legal profession is a glaring example of AI’s impact on the work environment. Its ability to innovatively produce more work with fewer production costs means law graduates and paralegals – as the brunt of the legal processing – will be replaced by technology that can perform repetitive and mundane tasks vastly quicker.

Areas like investing and brokering are witnessing an influx of sophisticated and low-cost AI-powered advisers. Due to their superior skills of selecting investments and stocks and lessening their risk, they are slowly replacing human brokers. Basically, any graduate role that includes a certain degree of routine and monotony (skills like information retrieval, planning, pattern recognition) is at the highest risk of being automated through AI.

The good news is this doesn’t mean those jobs are lost forever for the people holding them, but rather there’s a significant change in their day-to-day tasks.

Legal professionals will be liberated to do other things. There will still be demand for lawyers and advisers to handle complex litigation and legal requirements, and there’ll still be a need for doctors and medical professionals to discuss various treatment options even if AI will be quicker and more accurate in diagnosing a disease.

Preparing for the careers of the future

Instead of worrying about job cuts, graduates should focus on ensuring they have an attractive skillset which complements the abilities of AI. The ability to learn, adjust, and evolve a specific competence will increasingly be in demand as AI advances and becomes more integrated in the workplace. This means soft skills like leadership, creative thinking and problem-solving, as well as non-technical skills like communication and project management will still be necessary skills to have.

There will also be jobs created in the AI landscape which relate directly to the technology, some which will be fairly unique. As machines cannot learn anything human by themselves, AI trainers will have to make sure their performance is as close as possible to human-like. Various machine learning researchers and developers will be at the forefront of efforts in adding a touch of human reasoning and intuition to machines.

Then, AI support analysts will act as AI-focused advisors to organisations looking to harness the power of this technology. These people will be in charge of explaining how AI contributes to the workplace and making sure it is placed in the right role. As technology continues to push forward at a breathtaking pace, there will be a whole new host of careers and branches that haven’t been invented yet.

A permanent change to the way we work

It’s business’ need to process an exponentially growing quantity of data which ensures AI an enduring presence in workplaces. This increase in volume and number of ways we use data is unlikely to ever slow or phase out, so the sooner graduates begin to adapt, the greater the advantage they will have when this technology inevitably becomes mainstream.  Perhaps that is the greatest effect AI is having on graduate roles – instilling a broader perspective for a more valuable and meaningful workplace.

Interested in creating tech to make a difference to our society? See how a degree in Technology could kickstart your career.

About the author

Dr. Jeremy Nunn

Dr Jeremy Nunn is Founder and Director of technology company Workmetrics. Dr. Nunn is a Murdoch alumnus, having completed his Doctorate of IT, Master of Science and Bachelor of Science at Murdoch University.

Posted on:

3 Jul 2019



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