Charlice Hurst | July 22, 2019
For years, I’ve asked my undergraduate business students whether they track developments in their intended occupations. Few do. I now also ask how many have examined how artificial intelligence (AI) will affect their careers. Even fewer do.
head of an Aristotle statue pixelated on the right sideI don’t want to discourage students aspiring to stable, well-paid careers, which are reasons I often hear them give for pursuing business degrees. But the likelihood of their employment ever being “stable” is slim. They — in fact, any of us not near retirement — are in for a ride. We’re the ones who will feel the first waves of impact from the “Fourth Industrial Revolution,” so termed because of the extensive disruption already being wrought by a raft of emerging technologies, including AI, that promise to change our lives to a degree that stretches the imagination.
There is no easy answer to the question of how business schools should adapt. Even experts are confounded by the range of possible outcomes of the proliferation of AI. Predictions abound and vary wildly, largely because of uncertainty around a range of influential factors such as the pace of AI adoption and the regulatory environment. A 2017 McKinsey Global Institute report, “Jobs Lost, Jobs Gained: Workforce Transitions in a Time of Automation,” projects that, depending on several scenarios, anywhere from 75 million to 375 million people globally will need to switch occupations by 2030, an estimate that is neither reassuring nor precise.
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