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Skilling up for the future in the context of disruptions

Technological disruptions pose both challenges and opportunities in all industries across the world. Since these disruptions increase the efficiency and profitability of businesses, it is unlikely that they will slow down,says Subhashini Sriram,Head - HR,Unisys India.

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The rise of automation has brought about significant changes in the global economy. The swift advancement of technologies such as machine learning, deep learning and robotics is transforming the way business is conducted on a global scale.

Recent technological advances have shown that algorithms can outperform humans in a variety of job roles. Moreover, there is growing consensus that the march of technology will soon make the jobs of millions of people who drive cars and trucks, analyze medical tests and data, perform middle management chores, dispense medicine, trade stocks and evaluate markets and fight on battlefields - to name a few - redundant.

Various studies have been conducted which indicate that, by 2030, as many as 800 million jobs available now can be replaced with automated systems.1 It comes as no surprise then that people harbor apprehensions about automation making human workers redundant in the workplace.

The question people are asking today is will machines replace humans in the workforce in years to come? However, we must avoid a binary stance where we picture the workforce of tomorrow as consisting exclusively of either humans or machines. The question we then need to ask is what must we do to nurture talent that is relevant in the face of these disruptions?

Technological disruptions pose both challenges and opportunities in all industries across the world. Since these disruptions increase the efficiency and profitability of businesses, it is unlikely that they will slow down. What then do humans do to prepare themselves? The answer may lie in reskilling the workforce. Flexibility and adaptability are the need of the hour.

For instance, let us consider the job of the bank teller to understand how reskilling can help ensure a steady stream of gainfully employed talent. Since the arrival of automated ATMs, the bank teller could outsource counting and dispensing cash to an ATM, and focus instead on helping customers understand their finances. Alternatively, picture a librarian who can outsource finding mis-shelved books to a smart robot, and can instead spend his or her time helping students conduct research.


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Subhashini Sriram

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