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What is AI and how will it revolutionise the future of work

“Nobody phrases it this way, but I think that artificial intelligence is almost a humanities discipline. It’s really an attempt to understand human intelligence and human cognition.”—Sebastian Thrun


Have you been hearing a lot about Artificial Intelligence or Chat GPT on social media of late and wondered what does it all mean and what does it mean to the future of work.

In this weeks blog post the FutureSkills4U Regional and Rural Digital Skills Program shines the spotlight on what is artificial intelligence, how does it work and what does it actually mean to the future of work and education. Can we put our heads in the sand, has the horse bolted and all the other metaphors that are typically used to make sense of an ever changing world.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a defining technological advancement of our time, reshaping every facet of life and work. A standout AI innovation is the generative language model, exemplified by ChatGPT from OpenAI. These models, with their capacity to comprehend and generate human-like text, are revolutionising industries, transforming careers, and opening new career opportunities.

Understanding ChatGPT and Generative Language Models

Generative language models like ChatGPT employ machine learning to understand, create, and improve human-like text. They're called 'generative' because they generate new content from learned data. Here's how it works:

  • Training: Generative models are educated using vast datasets, like a chunk of the Internet. The models identify patterns, structures, and nuances from this data - for instance, that 'dog' is often linked with 'bark' or a sentence starting with 'Despite' usually contains a contradiction.
  • Understanding: Once trained, these models can interpret context and intent. For example, if you ask, "What's the weather?", the model knows you're likely seeking a weather update.
  • Creating: The models then generate new content, predicting the continuation of a sentence or the best response to an input, based on learned patterns. When asked, "What is the capital of France?", ChatGPT would respond, "Paris", drawing on patterns from its training data, not programmed knowledge.

AI's Impact on Employment, Careers, and Industries

Rather than eliminating jobs AI and generative models like ChatGPT are evolving industries such as health care, manufacturing and education  as well as core business functions such as business planning, financial control,  content creation, marketing, cyber security, workplace health and safety  and human resources.

  • Healthcare: AI holds great promise in diagnostics, treatment planning, patient monitoring, and drug discovery. It can analyse vast amounts of data to detect patterns invisible to human eyes, aiding in early disease detection or personalised treatment approaches.
  • Manufacturing: In manufacturing, AI streamlines production, enhances quality control, and boosts supply chain efficiency. AI-driven predictive maintenance can prevent costly equipment failures, and autonomous robots can perform tasks too dangerous for humans.
  • Education: AI in education personalises learning experiences, tailors resources to individual student needs, and automates administrative tasks. Virtual AI tutors can provide additional support to students, and predictive algorithms can identify learning gaps to guide educational interventions.
  • Sustainability: AI can help predict environmental changes, optimize resource use, and manage waste. It can also enable smarter energy grids and more efficient renewable energy sources, playing a critical role in the fight against climate change.
  • Customer Service: AI chatbots have become an invaluable tool in handling routine inquiries, freeing up human agents to tackle complex issues. They provide 24/7 customer service, instant responses, and consistent answers, greatly enhancing customer satisfaction.
  • Content Creation: Generative language models aid in drafting articles, generating creative ideas, or even writing code. For instance, GPT models can produce draft texts, help brainstorm ideas, and even check for grammar or stylistic errors, enabling writers to focus on strategic and creative aspects of content.
  • Cybersecurity: AI can proactively detect and respond to cyber threats, identifying suspicious patterns and anomalies faster than human analysts. It can automate routine security tasks and provide real-time threat intelligence, enabling human teams to focus on strategic security planning.
  • Human Resources: AI refines hiring processes, automates administrative tasks, and enhances employee engagement. It can sift through vast numbers of resumes to identify top candidates, provide unbiased screening, and predict future job performance, promoting a more inclusive and effective workplace.

Emerging Roles and Skills in the AI-Dominant Job Market

The integration of AI into various sectors demands an array of new roles, skills, and natural abilities: Apart from the previously mentioned, the evolution of AI also brings forth roles like

  • Data Scientists and AI Specialists: With AI deployment growing across sectors, the need for professionals who can create, manage, and interpret AI models is skyrocketing. This includes data scientists who can make sense of massive data sets, and AI specialists who can design and implement AI models.
  • Ethical AI Monitors and Policy Makers: As AI becomes integral in decision-making, there will be a growing need for professionals who can ensure the ethical use of AI, addressing bias, privacy, transparency, and the social implications of AI implementations.
  • AI Interaction Designers and Engineers: The increasing use of AI in customer service and user interaction calls for roles that focus on improving the human-AI interaction. This includes AI interaction designers who can ensure AI communication is user-friendly and effective, AI psychologists who understand how AI influences human behaviour and prompt engineers who are specialists in optimising the prompts that control and refine AI behaviour according to expectations, policy and ethics.
  • AI-Trained Legal Professionals: With AI transforming sectors like finance, healthcare, and entertainment, there will be a greater need for legal professionals with a deep understanding of AI and its implications.
  • AI in Education Experts: With AI set to revolutionise education, roles centred around the application of AI in learning environments will rise. This includes creating personalised learning algorithms, virtual learning environments, and monitoring student progress through AI.

As AI takes over routine tasks, there's a greater emphasis on uniquely human skills. Critical Thinking, Creativity, Emotional Intelligence, and Adaptability will be invaluable in the future job market that AI just cannot mimic.

  • Critical Thinking: Humans' ability to question, analyse, and make judgements will become increasingly valuable.
  • Creativity: The ability to create, innovate, and think outside the box will be at a premium. While AI can generate content based on patterns, true innovation – thinking of things that don't yet exist – is a uniquely human skill.
  • Emotional Intelligence: The ability to understand and respond to human emotions will be essential. AI can mimic human conversation, but it doesn't truly understand or experience emotions. Professionals with high emotional intelligence will be in high demand in roles that involve complex human interaction.
  • Adaptability: The pace of AI advancement means the ability to learn new skills and adapt to new situations will be key. This includes learning to work alongside AI and leveraging it to improve productivity and results.

As we march forward, the potential applications of AI are almost limitless. AI isn't here to replace us; instead, it's set to augment our abilities and open up new frontiers of innovation and productivity.

By fostering an environment of augmentation rather than replacement, these technologies are unlocking the door to a future of innovative job roles, new skills, and a harmonious blend of human and AI capabilities. In essence, the future with AI holds the promise of our ability to realise our full potential.

For educators and for those wanting to embrace the power of AI in their current or future job prospects, you can find a playlist on Artificial Intelligence on the FutureSkills4U Rural and Regional Digital Skills Program.

To learn more about how you can both make use of and learn more about AI check out the Introduction to Artificial Intelligence Play List exclusive on the FutureSkills4U Regional and Rural Digital Skills Program

Sign Up to the FutureSkills4U Regional and Rural Digital Skills Program. 

he FutureSKills4U Rural and Regional Digital Skills program provides FREE access to rural and regional Queenslanders over the age of 12 to the Go 1 Learning Platform.

Here you can choose from thousands of online courses to study at your own pace. You can do as many or as few as you choose, it will be free.

This Queensland Government initiative is part of the Digital Professional Workforce Action Plan, which is working with industry and academia to give Queenslander’s access to digital skills training and the potential for a pathway to a digital career.

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