Artificial intelligence seen as friend of workers today, but maybe not tomorrow

Millennial workers at a table
Concerns about what artificial intelligence may do to jobs may be overblown today. (Getty/shironosov)

Contrary to recent scuttlebutt about artificial intelligence (AI) taking over jobs, very few workers fear that is the case, finds a study from Genpact, a professional services firm focused on delivering digital transformation.

The survey of more than 5,000 people shows only 10% think AI threatens their current job, but 90% expect future workers will need to learn new skills to thrive in a workplace where AI exists. 

"Artificial intelligence brings a seismic shift in the future of work—making some roles obsolete and enhancing others, while at the same time, creating new jobs, and even spawning new professions," said Sanjay Srivastava, chief digital officer at Genpact, in a press release. 

The onus will be on companies to pick the right AI tools to invest in and to help their workforce acquire the right skills to leverage AI technology in a way that will drive the business, said Srivastava.

Fast Company reports that a plethora of AI startups descended upon Lisbon last week for Web Summit, Europe's largest tech conference. Fast Company's Jared Lindzon is watching a few new AI tools that may modernize employee productivity: 

  • By tracking user habits, AI startup Smarter Time provides feedback on where they can find more time in their day.
  • French startup AiZimov handles information gathering to autonomously craft cold emails.
  • Canecto uses AI to help users improve their web performance and presence.
  • Zoom.AI helps with scheduling and concierge-type services automatically.

Once new AI technology enters the workplace, a third of workers in the Genpact survey worry that they will not have the money or time for necessary retraining to help them work with AI. And it looks like many employers won't pick up the slack. The study says nearly one in five businesses have no plans at all to reskill their employees for AI.