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How will AI change the world of work?

In partnership with The European Commission
How will AI change the world of work?
Copyright euronews
Copyright euronews
By Paul Hackett
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As the EU seeks to secure a firmer grip on the use of Artificial Intelligence within the bloc, we take a look at what the future holds for businesses and employees in terms of jobs, skills, management and recruitment.

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In the future, AI will perform many tasks currently done by humans. It’s already chipping away at certain types of work.

Already, certain tasks linked to admin and clerical jobs look very vulnerable. But while AI will certainly displace jobs, most experts believe it will create new ones.

In a groundbreaking attempt to regulate the use of Artificial Intelligence in Europe, member states and the European Parliament reached a preliminary deal on the so-called AI Act, the world’s first attempt to regulate Artificial Intelligence in a comprehensive and ethics-based manner.

So what might the future workplace look like?

AI: Boosting productivity by removing mundane tasks

Technology may not have a significant negative impact on the number of jobs available to humans, but it will certainly transform how jobs are performed.

It implies a redistribution of economic value from those with skills that can be substituted by technology to those with skills that can be complemented by technology.

The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted this trend. In the EU, more highly educated workers were able to resort to teleworking, while most job losses fell on low-wage, low-educated workers – thereby widening the income gap.

A recent survey by the World Economic Forum estimates that technological advancement, including AI, will create 69 million jobs globally in the next five years, but also eliminate 83 million jobs.

Yet, according to research by Goldman Sachs, AI could bring a near €6.47 trillion increase in annual global GDP over a ten-year period.

Rapid technological transformation and new digital technologies bring forth new work opportunities. They create new jobs for people, widen access to education, boost productivity, improve our efficiency and help us perform tasks more effectively.

According to a study conducted by the OECD, 63% of workers using AI in finance and manufacturing said AI had improved enjoyment in their jobs. 

Workers will have to adapt and upskill to this new reality

Artificial intelligence is reshaping workers’ skill sets. Employees are increasingly required to reskill or upskill to effectively use new technologies at work.

Furthermore, employers are increasingly seeking tech-savvy workers who can facilitate the adoption of AI in the workplace.

So while AI may replace jobs that can be substituted by technology, employers are keen to find workers with skills that can complement technology – and specifically those with human abilities that technology cannot replicate.

In December 2022, the EU institutions adopted a solemn declaration on Digital Rights and Principles for the Digital Decade.

The declaration highlights the need to put 'people at the centre', and contains explicit commitments to ensure fair and just working conditions and the right to acquire basic and advanced digital skills for everyone.

Issues around transparency, accountability and fairness

AI-powered algorithms already monitor employee performance and could be used in the future to hire and fire staff. 

Technology plays a primary role in reshaping the relationship between employers and employees. But it can often exacerbate power asymmetries. So-called “affective computing”, or the use of algorithmic management in the workplace is one such issue.

The AI Act will impose a set of rules that companies need to follow before offering their services to consumers anywhere across the EU's single market.

The law proposes a pyramid-like structure that splits AI-powered products into four main categories according to the potential risk they pose to the safety of citizens and their fundamental rights.

These four risk categories include: minimal, limited, high and unacceptable.

The systems considered high-risk encompass applications that have a direct and potentially life-changing impact on citizens.

This group will encompass applications that have a direct and potentially life-changing impact on citizens, such as CV-sorting software for job interviews and exam-scoring programmes in universities.

These will be subject to stringent rules that will apply before they enter the EU market and throughout their lifetime.

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