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AI Is Coming For Your Jobs — Anyone Who Says Otherwise Is In Denial. Here's How You Can Embrace AI to Avoid Being Left Behind. With the right preparation and a forward-thinking approach, businesses can navigate this AI revolution, maximizing its benefits while paving the way for a future where humans and AI not only coexist but thrive together.

By Jessica Billingsley

Key Takeaways

  • AI is not spelling doom for our workforce; it's inspiring a fascinating job evolution.
  • Anyone resistant to using AI as a tool is stunting their company's growth.
  • Knowing how we can use AI to foster innovation and growth in our companies is key to getting ahead.
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Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

It was not long ago that my office was a hive of human activity. The soundtrack? The busy clicks and clatters of a dedicated executive assistant masterfully juggling my appointments, memos and ceaseless travel plans. Fast forward to today, and the buzz of the office is decidedly different. It's the steady hum of AI tools, seamlessly managing those same tasks with a level of efficiency that's hard to match.

Despite the countless articles out there insisting that executive assistants can never be replaced by machines, as the CEO of a public company, it's actually the very first place I looked to integrate AI. Today, I use three specialized AI tools to automate most of the tasks my executive assistant used to handle. One for scheduling, one for drafting standardized communications and one for travel planning. Pleasantly, it's been an incredible success.

This integration of AI hasn't just streamlined my own day-to-day – it's a powerful symbol of a larger change sweeping across our business landscape. AI is indeed coming for people's jobs, and anyone who insists otherwise is sticking their head in the sand.

Instead of wallowing in denial, the authors of these articles need to realize that although AI will take away some jobs, it will also create new jobs. The AI revolution will be an incredibly potent catalyst, triggering the development of a wave of new roles and opportunities. The landscape will shift from a large number of lower-level support roles to a smaller number of more advanced tech-forward support roles.

Some executive assistants might morph into AI tool gurus, masters of these digital resources. Others might decide to take a different path, leveraging their skills in entirely new ways. This dynamic, ever-changing scenario is what our AI-influenced world is really about — not job eradication, but evolution and adaptation.

Just think about the new roles that AI is already starting to create. Roles focused on AI ethics, keeping us grounded in our values as we navigate this technological frontier. Or the growing demand for pros who can steer these intricate AI systems, interpret the torrent of data they produce and guide businesses on how to weave AI into their operations most effectively.

  • Already, AI's influence is reshaping sectors like healthcare, manufacturing and customer service, birthing roles we couldn't have imagined a few years ago. It's not spelling doom for our workforce; it's inspiring a fascinating job evolution, blending human creativity and AI's analytical power. We're standing at the precipice of an exhilarating wave of professional growth and adaptation, with a horizon full of promise.

A couple of decades ago, AI and machine learning were the stuff of sci-fi movies. But today, they're right here, integral parts of our daily lives. The New York Times aptly called this an "A.I. explosion," but that doesn't mean it's cause for alarm. Change can be daunting, sure, but it's also an opportunity for growth, for evolution, and for pushing boundaries.

Instead of fretting over the changes that AI brings, let's flip the narrative. We're not being replaced; we're being given the chance to soar higher, fueled by AI's empowering boost. So let's embrace it, roll with the changes, and shape the future we want to see.

Transforming the way the world does business

There is no doubt that AI is changing work as we know it. Just a few years ago, automation and technology in work environments were mostly limited to repetitive, manual tasks. Generative AI technology like ChatGPT has placed these technologies firmly within the realm of white-collar work.

Whether you are using AI-powered applications to deliver social media content, accelerate your research of new subjects or help you draft an eye-catching cover letter, generative AI can support those tasks.

While that may not be enough to alleviate all fears surrounding AI and other emerging technologies, now is the time to realize that AI is here to stay. Rather than fighting its growing presence, forward-looking companies and their leaders need to embrace this technology and learn to leverage it to build their businesses.

Automating repetitive tasks was one of the first areas of business in which AI proved invaluable. AI technology simply outperforms humans when it comes to data analysis by crunching far larger amounts of data more accurately and in a shorter time. AI also recognizes patterns within the data and presents them to human decision-makers.

Plus, AI delivers the kind of data-driven insights that leadership teams have been dreaming of for decades. Integrating AI analysis into tasks like understanding customer behavior can give your business an unparalleled competitive advantage and enhance future decision-making today.

AI can also contribute to your customer experience. When customers need help, AI-powered chatbots, and virtual assistants are excellent first points of contact. Even if they cannot resolve the customer's issue, they can guide the query toward the best person and let the customer know their concern is being dealt with.

Even the earliest incarnations of AI had customer experience at their heart. Remember the first personalized product recommendations you received on online shopping platforms? Like the viewing suggestions on streaming services, they are AI-based ways of improving customer service.

How to foster innovation and growth in your organization

At its core, AI looks at problems differently from how humans would. The technology may be mimicking human behaviors, but it is not exactly copying them. This means it brings an entirely fresh perspective to the table, offering innovative solutions and pinpointing previously unseen market opportunities.

So, how can businesses encourage their teams to embrace rather than fear AI? The key lies in empowering individual team members to use these tools and leverage them for their work. Education and skills development is one of the foundations of empowerment. Modern workplaces have long encouraged lifelong learning, and AI is no exception. Making resources for AI training accessible online is one way of encouraging more of your employees to learn more about their capabilities.

The modern workplace must commit to this ethos of continuous learning, especially in the context of AI. By offering readily accessible AI training resources online, organizations can nurture an environment that encourages employees to continually expand their understanding of AI, thus demystifying the technology and promoting its adoption.

Undoubtedly, one of the most widespread anxieties related to AI is its potential to render certain jobs redundant. This concern is not unfounded. History bears witness to numerous technological transitions, where machines eventually took over tasks once performed by humans. However, this shift allows for evolution by creating a need for highly skilled professionals to supervise and orchestrate these advanced tools.

AI does not exist to replace human capabilities, but to augment them. It thrives when paired with human intellect and creativity, thus leading to an ecosystem where humans and AI coexist and collaborate. By encouraging this synthesis and providing avenues for learning and growth, organizations can mitigate the threat of job loss. Instead, they can catalyze a transformation that redefines jobs, creating a new breed of roles that leverage both human creativity and AI's computational prowess. The future is not about AI vs. humans, but rather AI and humans, working together to foster innovation and drive growth.

5 step framework for cultivating an AI-forward organizational culture

Navigating the evolving business landscape requires a dynamic approach, particularly when it comes to embracing AI. Instilling a culture that is AI-forward within your organization isn't a mere switch you flip overnight. It's an ongoing journey requiring commitment and collaboration from every part of your business. This journey may seem daunting, but with a strategic five-step plan, we can turn perceived challenges into tangible advantages, fostering a thriving ecosystem that leverages AI's potential to its fullest.

1. Educate yourself and your team

Most people fear what they do not understand. Learning more about AI helps break down barriers. Because technology is developing extremely fast, it is important to commit to staying informed about the latest advancements and opportunities. Ensure that your business allocates sufficient resources for continuous learning and development across the entire organization.

2. Evaluate and identify areas for AI integration

How would AI benefit your business the most? Assess the organization's workflows, customer interactions and decision-making processes to identify the areas where AI can truly add value. Look for spaces where AI could improve process efficiency or enhance the user experience of a website or an app. Once you have quantified the potential impact and the feasibility of potential initiatives, it becomes easier to choose the most promising options.

3. Foster a culture of innovation and collaboration

Big transformations like the transition toward emerging technologies are rarely made without some degree of experimentation or trial and error. Encourage this experimentation with AI among your team and make it clear that not every trial is going to be a success. Create a supportive environment for your employees to develop their ideas, share insights, and experiment with AI-based tools and systems.

4. Implement ethical AI practices and policies

The U.S. government recently called upon leading AI developers like Google CEO Sundar Pichai and OpenAI's Sam Altman to make ethical AI developments a priority. If your company is struggling to overcome concerns about this technology, putting ethics at the heart of your transition toward AI may help.

Develop clear guidelines and principles for the responsible use of within the business and review them regularly. Ensure that AI-driven decisions across all levels of the company are transparent, unbiased and respect individual privacy. The easiest way to do this is to involve relevant stakeholders in all aspects of the transition process.

5. Measure and celebrate success

Do not be afraid to evaluate the impact integrating AI has had on your organization. Mark milestones and celebrate successes, but be ready to make adjustments as well. The company's overall performance, customer satisfaction and employee engagement are all excellent indicators. Sharing success stories will generate trust as will being open about setbacks. Adapting your AI integration strategy should be part of your plan.

Conclusion

AI-based applications, tools and solutions are here to stay, and these technologies will change the way we think about and conduct work. Embracing these technologies at an organizational and individual level now will prepare companies and their employees for a successful future.

For anyone in a C-suite role, it is time to rethink how to make the best use of assistants. Most of us no longer need to follow the traditional one-to-one executive assistant model. What we will need, though, is someone skilled enough to handle AI tools and platforms on behalf of the entire C-Suite. Whether that role will become known as an AI manager or remain an executive assistant is not critical. What matters more is that we need to prepare our current assistants for the near future where there is a new need for fewer, more advanced support roles.

Overcoming fears of the unknown and an all-too-human resistance to change is instrumental to securing the future of the business. It will also help improve AI as we currently know it. Start by assessing the opportunities for your business now, and leverage AI proactively. Together, we can create a better future for individuals and businesses alike.

Jessica Billingsley

Chairman of the Board & Chief Executive Officer of Akerna

Jessica Billingsley serves as Akerna’s CEO. In June 2019. she became the first CEO of a cannabis-technology company to be listed on Nasdaq. She co-founded MJ Freeway in 2010, where she served as president until April 2018, and later as the CEO until MJ Freeway was acquired by MTech to form Akerna.

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