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AI

“Learn to learn”. This seems to be the motto of the digital era, making news headlines this past decade. Summoning precious and coveted skills through self-learning should be the priority of every individual to improve their employability. It is all the more important when we know that “85% of the jobs in 2030 do not even exist today”, according to a March 2017 study conducted by Dell and the Institute for the Future, a Californian think tank.

What are the new skills sought after by recruiters? What will they be in the upcoming years? Individuals’ drive and digital proficiency have clearly become indispensable in the eyes of recruiters.

According to Yuval Noah Harari, author of Sapiens: A Brief History of Human kind and Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow, AI will create “a mass of useless humans “that will be replaced by robots filled with AI. Many industries are concerned by the redefinition of some of their professions. It is a time for worry or optimism?

Furthermore, Laurent Alexandre, French Surgeon Urologist specialized in AI stresses our misunderstanding of the subject: “Our brain is completely inert; it does not progress at the rate at which artificial intelligence is progressing.” According to him, it is crucial to begin a training phase for young people in the professions of tomorrow.

 

The aim of this article is to, first of all, highlight the main technical and relational skills that recruiters value nowadays and, secondly, discuss the impact of AI on various professions.

 

1. What skills are sought after by recruiters today?

 

In order to successfully support their digital transformation and obtain a genuine competitive advantage, businesses are now looking for highly technical profiles with expertise in the following fields:

 

  • Statistical Analysis & Data Miningwith the objective of analyzing and enhancing databases by extracting relevant information for decision-making. 
  • Software QA (quality insurance) & User Testing with the aim of testing software and determining users’ needs.
  • Web Architecture & Development Framework with the goal of creating a user-friendly site and anticipating users’ needs.
  • Middleware & Integration Systems: experts able to set up ERP systems.
  • User Interface Design: experts able to make applications more intuitive and capture users’ attention.
  • SEO Marketing and SEM: SEO experts able to position websites on the front page of search engines.

On the other hand, it seems that companies are becoming more and more demanding when it comes to interpersonal skills. It is not enough to have solid technical knowledge; one must also possess qualities such as:

  • Empathy
  • Loyalty
  • Listening skills
  • Teaching skills
  • Adaptability
  • Creativity

These skills emphasize teamwork, listening, communication and organization, and will strengthen the corporate culture.

 

2. What skills will recruiters look for in 5 years?

 

  • Expertise in the field of Artificial Intelligence is extremely sought after by recruiters today and will be even more so in the coming years: the AI engineer’s mission is to design machines and computer programs capable of matching human intelligence (medicine, security, video games, self-driving cars, etc.).
  • Excellent AR (augmented reality) programming or application design skills are also in demand as more and more companies begin producing augmented reality devices. Thus, mastering development kits such as Google ARCore or Apple ARKit will be highly sought after.
  • Data Scientists have also become very sought-after profiles with the rise of big data. Confronted with marketing, HR and sales issues, their goal is to give meaning and value to data in order to develop the best strategy.
  • Demand for mobile application development experts for different platforms (e.g. smartphone, iPad, etc.) will continue to grow over time. A perfect mastery of several programming languages such as Java, Python, Objective-C, C# and C++ as well as UX and UI design is indispensable.

 

3. What impact does Artificial Intelligence have on certain professions?

 

AI at the recruiter’s service:

  • Artificial intelligence-based software makes it possible to conduct a behavioral analysis of the candidate through video: semantic, body language, facial expressions, etc. In addition, the candidate’s expertise, experience and skills can quickly be identified through the use of advanced algorithms.
  • A 2014 Harvard Business Review study showed that recruiters who follow an algorithm increased their chances of hiring the right person by 25%!

 

AI at the jurists’/lawyers’ service:

  • AI can already write and proofread contracts of dozens of pages in just a few seconds. The aim is to compare them to a database of existing contracts in order to detect anomalies.
  • For example, magistrates in certain cities in France are already experimenting with predictive software that allows them to take all existing case law into account in order to reach more fair decisions.

 

Accounting:

  • AI can speed up tedious tasks as well as reduce the risk of error. According to a University of Oxford study conducted in 2013, it is anticipated that 94% of accountants will be replaced by AI machines.

 

Healthcare:

  • “Pilot” projects are multiplying and enabling the detection of tumors on medical imagery, thanks to Deep Learning algorithms, and even allowing for the generation of perfectly adapted prescriptions through the analysis of patients’ medical information.
  • Driven by Silicon Valley giants and startups alike, the AI market in the healthcare industry is booming; it could “reach $6.6 billion by 2021”, according to U.S. research firm Frost & Sullivan.

 

Finance:

  • The “COIN” (Contract Intelligence) artificial intelligent machine designed by JP Morgan in June 2017, is capable of solving financial arbitrations that normally take a company’s lawyers and loan officers “360,000 hours of work” (per year) within a matter of seconds.

 

Sales:

  • Some analysts even believe that the sales role, which one may believe is perfectly AI-proof, would be a “perfect candidate” with 95% of the sales force being replaced by intelligent agents within the next 20 years.

 

While this is a non-exhaustive list, it goes to say that, generally speaking, all industries and professions are concerned by this transformation.

 

4. AI: between distrust and optimism?

 

According to a study conducted by McKinsey & Cie in 46 countries and 800 different professions, “800 million workers will lose their jobs by 2030, due to automation.” The countries that will be most affected by this robot invasion are Germany and the United States, the most technologically advanced.

AI will certainly destroy some jobs but will create others. According to a study unveiled by the American firm Cognizant Technology Solutions Corp., AI could potentially create 21 million jobs currently unknown to the general public (genetic diversity agents, personal memory guardians, etc.).

Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, is very reassuring and optimistic about the emergence of increasingly sophisticated algorithms. He encourages people to increase their awareness. Convinced that AI will “improve our lives”, he sites as examples, self-driving cars as being “safer than manual cars” and the possibility to come up with more efficient medical diagnoses.

Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, does not share the same optimism as Mark Zuckerberg. On the contrary, he is very alarmed and fears that AI will take control over man.  According to him, AI is a “fundamental risk to the existence of human civilization”, where he literally imagines a catastrophic scenario in which robots could start a war by doing fake news and spoofing email accounts and fake press releases, and just by manipulating information.”

Stephen Hawking, famous British physicist, shared Elon Musk’s pessimism, stating that “Success in creating AI would be the biggest event in human history. Unfortunately, it might also be the last…”

According to Yuval Harari, author of Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow, “If scientific discoveries and technological developments split humankind into a mass of useless humans and a small elite of upgraded superhumans, or if authority shifts altogether away from human beings into the hands of highly intelligent algorithms, then liberalism will collapse. What new religions or ideologies might fill the resulting vacuum and guide the subsequent evolution of our godlike descendants?”

 

In addition, Yuval Harari states, “Techno-humanism agrees that Homo sapiens as we know it has run its historical course and will no longer be relevant in the future, but concludes that we should therefore use technology in order to create Homo deus – a much superior human model. Homo deus will retain some essential human features, but will also enjoy upgraded physical and mental abilities that will enable it to hold its own even against the most sophisticated non-conscious algorithms. Since intelligence is decoupling from consciousness, and since non-conscious intelligence is developing at breakneck speed, humans must actively upgrade their minds if they want to stay in the game.”

 

The debate (and what a debate!) is on.

 

Haig Ilanjian

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