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Artificial intelligence is often associated with job loss, but the reality is that it won’t steal your job, it will transform it. This is the message from a new report by PwC South Africa entitled “AI catalysing a workforce revolution, now”, which explores how it has evolved in recent years and its potential to create new job opportunities.
According to the report, emerging technologies should be seen as a way to create new job opportunities that didn’t exist before. However, it is important for business leaders to stay up to date with the latest tools and features in order to reap its full benefits.
Marthle du Plessis, PwC Africa Workforce of the Future platform lead, explains that the impact of automation through AI depends entirely on how effectively adoption is managed. “While there are valid concerns about the impact of AI on the job market, there are exponential benefits that could positively impact the workforce and the economy,” she says.
The report elaborates on three main bands of job transformations that are enabled through the adoption of AI, namely: jobs that AI might replace in the medium to long term, jobs that AI might create in the short to medium term, and jobs that AI could augment in the short to long term.
Riaan Singh, PwC South Africa’s digital transformation lead, explains that successful organisations require the alignment of people-centric initiatives with a well-understood story of change, where AI, which has the potential to be a collaborative tool that enhances human capabilities, has the power to change behaviour and lead people along the envisaged transformational journey.
Furthermore, Singh emphasises that AI tools should be embraced, and that business leaders should focus on enabling and upskilling their workforce.
“CEOs are upskilling employees to preserve and reinvent their business,” Du Plessis says. “This involves understanding the potential of automation, how organisations are utilising human skills, and the changing business landscape.”
In essence, the report suggests that for organisations to succeed in the digital age, they must find, nurture, and incentivise adaptable, innovative, and skilled employees. By doing so, businesses can harness the potential of AI as a collaborative tool that enhances human capabilities rather than replacing them.
While concerns about the impact of AI on the job market are valid, the PwC report provides a positive outlook on the potential of AI to transform jobs and create new opportunities. The key is to manage its adoption effectively, focus on upskilling the workforce, and align people-centric initiatives with a well-understood story of change.