Tobias Hann is the CEO of MOSTLY AI. He is a serial entrepreneur and former management consultant. He holds an M.B.A. and Ph.D. in business.
Phrases like “be your best self” and “live your best life” have fast become commonplace as professionals attempt to conquer the unconquerable, achieve their highest ambitions, reinvent themselves and strike the perfect balance between their personal and professional lives. Quite simply, they’re looking to have it all while avoiding burnout and facing other challenges like rapidly advancing technology that sometimes makes them question the very nature of their work. AI and the future of work are now simply inseparable terms.
Tools and technology like generative AI are in top gear among a growing list of others to disrupt life and work as we know it. What if the emergence of such tools will come to serve us in meeting the high expectations we set for ourselves? This new era being ushered in at a record pace could very well represent the birth of our best selves and a means to live our best lives—should we choose the path of least resistance.
AI is freeing us up for the things that matter—freeing us up for mastery.
Bernard Marr wrote for Forbes that AI is “far from simply being the latest ‘viral sensation'” and “has truly become a technology that any business or individual can leverage to revolutionize the way they work or go about any number of day-to-day activities.” If you’re not doing this yet, you’re at risk of falling behind.
A prime example of this is the use of ChatGPT. The generative AI tool has more than 100 million active users and responds to virtually any prompt you give it with startling speed and clarity. In response to a prompt, the tool will output comprehensive text in any form, including prose, poetry and even computer code.
According to Business Insider, numerous Amazon employees have been using ChatGPT for several job functions, and one team said it does a “‘very good job’ of answering AWS support questions.” The team noted that it “was also ‘great’ at creating training documents and ‘very strong’ in corporate strategy questions.”
While AI will continue to render some jobs obsolete, it will also create new jobs to support the development and maintenance of AI systems. Many jobs will shift in how we apply our specializations. We’ll be forced to focus on skills in high demand that are difficult for AI to replicate such as critical thinking, complex problem-solving, creativity and emotional intelligence. For example, although jobs in advertising, content creation, technical writing and journalism can be expected to change drastically, there’s still a ton of human judgment that goes into these occupations.
Women in Data founder Sadie St. Lawrence equates the adoption and mastery of relevant AI tools in the future of work as shifting from the position of a musician who masters one instrument to a conductor whose role is to lead and direct a musical ensemble.
“As a conductor, it’s not that you lack knowledge in each subject but rather that you stop doing and start leading,” she wrote.
Does AI have the potential to save the day?
To consider how AI and machine learning tools and tech are impacting the future of work, we must first ask ourselves what we’re so desperate to hold onto about the way we work today.
The average person spends two-and-a-half hours a day reading and replying to emails. Inc. cited research showing that office workers are, on average, only productive for two hours and 53 minutes during an eight-hour workday. Our days are filled with distractions, and our ability to focus is on the decline.
Additionally, burnout rates continue to climb. In a February 2023 survey of over 10,000 global workers by U.S. think tank Future Forum, 42% reported burnout, the highest since the survey began in May 2021. The same survey showed that those experiencing burnout at work are “nearly 3.4 times more likely to say they ‘definitely’ plan to look for a new job in the next year.”
Much of what we need to do is not stimulating yet still necessary. By the time we get to the important things like strategy and planning, creative tasks, or solving complex problems, we’re often overwhelmed and running out of steam. All of this paints a less-than-ideal picture of what it’s like to operate in today’s working world.
There will always be resistance when AI and machine learning tools go mainstream. As humans, we are creatures of habit who tend to cling to our belief systems, and the rapid advancement of AI tools tends to trigger our fear of the unknown.
Maybe it’s less about us trying to keep up with AI and more about AI helping us keep up with life in general. It’s time to switch our reactive fear of the unknown to a proactive fascination for the unknown and to embed ourselves in the design process of what our future jobs might look and feel like.
The time is now, and the opportunity to help shape the trajectory of this trend is yours. Take it.
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