I have good news to share about the future. Despite what you may have heard elsewhere, the future of work in a world with artificial intelligence (AI) is not all doom and gloom. And thanks to a research-backed book from Malcolm Frank, What to Do When Machines Do Everything, we have data to prove it. Also, thanks to new educational approaches, we are better equipped to prepare students and misplaced workers for a future with AI.

All of these topics were covered at Cornell’s Digital Transformation Summit, where my colleague Radhika Kulkarni and I spoke alongside Frank and some of our country’s top educational leaders.

Frank, Executive VP of Strategy and Marketing at Cognizant, says we’re experiencing the fourth industrial revolution. He anticipates that the percentage of job loss from AI will correspond with job loss rates during other periods of automation throughout history, including automation through looms, steam engines and assembly lines. Fundamentally, workforce changes from AI will be like those during the industrial revolution and the introduction of the assembly line. About 12 percent of jobs will be lost. Around 75 percent of jobs will be augmented. And there will be new jobs created.

Read the article, “Why Artificial Intelligence will Create More Jobs Than it Destroys,” for more predictions on this topic, including a few from SAS Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Technology Officer Oliver Schabenberger.

At SAS, we take an interest in the entire impact AI will make on society. In areas where AI can augment work, we’re developing new technology offerings. In areas where AI will displace work, we’re committed to providing education and training programs that can help retrain workers. Consider these two recent examples:

And we’re not alone. Today’s educators are creating programs to train workers for the new economy. And I don’t mean two- and four-year degree curricula only. Instead, educators are embracing new, innovative programs to train workers around the world with new skill sets, including:

  • Micro degrees, certificates or other credentials that can be obtained with a few courses in less than a year. These types of courses can teach programming skills, robotics, electronics and other trade skills that are in demand.
  • Digital learning opportunities, including open online courses and new virtual classrooms where students can select learning paths and engage with professors despite distance and schedule conflicts.

One fascinating example was showcased at the transformation summit by Nitin Nohria, Senior Associate Dean of Faculty development at the Harvard business school. HBX LIVE is a virtual classroom designed to reproduce the interaction and intimacy in a live class. Take a few minutes to experience this virtual classroom in the video below.

Ten years ago, Nohria shunned the idea of virtual learning and denied it would ever truly be embraced by colleges and universities. Today, he is one of its biggest proponents. He sees it working and knows that students expect this type of learning environment.

Now it’s your turn. What are you doing to prepare for a future with AI? Are you thinking about how AI can augment your job or what skills you can learn for the digital economy? I’d love to learn what’s working for you and your organization to fill the skills gap and prepare for the future.

Learn more about AI and IoT in the SAS annual report
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Randy Guard

Executive Vice President, Chief Marketing Officer

Randy Guard is responsible for the SAS brand, providing global, strategic direction and marketing vision for SAS products and solutions. He oversees several operational business units, including product management, global marketing, sales enablement, communications and creative services.

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