With the latest technological advancements in artificial intelligence (AI), could it be argued that very soon we may experience a similar consequence to the industrial revolution of the 19th century? Must we retrain in a variety of areas that will remain unscathed by the touch of AI? 

This weekend for example, I met up with a friend of mine who is a trans model and music artist and we spoke about the decreased need for PR as publications like Paper Magazine and Buzzfeed lay off their entire editorial staff in place of AI. To make matters worse, according to the World Economic Forum’s 2023 Future of Jobs report, nearly 70 million new jobs will be created worldwide, and 83 million will be eliminated by 2027.

For these very reasons, we cannot fight AI. Instead, as creatives, we must upskill…

The skills gap is so big that it’s one of the main barriers preventing companies from modernising their business model, companies told WEF. There’s clearly a need for training and reskilling; to keep up with the fast-shifting landscape, WEF finds, nearly half (44%) of an individual worker’s skills need to be updated.

According to the report,  over the next five years A.I. and digitization will change nearly a quarter of all jobs. Therefore, the following, fairly irreplaceable, skills should be considered over the next decade;

  • Creative thinking
  • Analytical thinking
  • Technological literacy
  • Curiosity and lifelong learning
  • Resilience, flexibility, and agility
  • Systems thinking
  • A.I. and big data
  • Motivation and self-awareness
  • Talent management
  • Service orientation and customer service
  • Social Influence

 Even Apple CEO Tim Cook has long encouraged workers with strength in these soft skills to apply to the tech giant. He seeks out four particular traits in new hires, he told students at the University of Naples Federico II in Italy last year: the ability to collaborate, as well as creativity, curiosity, and expertise. 

“Those are the things that we look for in people, and it’s been a very good formula for us,” Cook remarked. “We look for people that think differently, that can look at a problem and not be caught up in the dogma of how that problem has always been viewed.”

What’s most interesting about the seismic shift in skills is that it could change the way we progress through education. These skills are practicality focused and require more practice than degrees. Does AI mean we might be moving away from degree requirements and toward a focus on upskilling across the board?

Non-degree-holding candidates can learn new skills at roughly the same pace as college grads, Jeff Maggioncalda, CEO of Coursera, wrote in the WEF report. But getting those two different kinds of workers on equal footing will require public and private sectors to work together on providing an affordable and flexible path that can help workers reskill and transition into “jobs of the future.” 

That should be great news for workers. But the problem is, unlike “knows how to code” or “has managerial experience,” portraying soft skills like “creative thinking” and “curiosity” can be difficult to put on a résumé. 

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