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Digital 19 January 2022

Workplace Trends 2022 – Shift in Labour Between Humans & Machines

In Conversation with Standard Bank’s Michael Daniels

Artificial intelligence has come a long way from its science fiction roots as the power for machines to act as our servants. While the topic can still summon controversy, especially after previous comments on the danger of AI from certain tech juggernauts like Elon Musk, who is currently building AI-powered robots at his Tesla factories, it is important to understand that the AI that we thought of has matured into a more realistic entity.

There may be a future  where humanoid machines walk, talk and do our bidding, but in the very near future a different kind of artificial intelligence will probably be more ubiquitous than anyone could have predicted. This AI will be digital, and work mostly in virtual spaces to do the jobs that humans don’t really need to do - jobs that entail enormous amounts of repeated tasks and long hours of number crunching.  These mundane, monotonous tasks will be, as Michael Daniels, Head of Group Automation and Shared Capabilities at Standard Bank says, be taken over by AI in the near future.

Jobs like ‘call centre agent’, and even ‘accountant’ could be performed by AI as global labour trends shift into automation, and while many will begin fearing for their work safety heading into 2022, Daniels says there are numerous opportunities to be reaped from this shift as well. Namely, the creation of other, new types of jobs. Jobs within the field of AI as automated workers will need humans for programming and maintenance.

This brings to the fore the question: with South Africa’s much documented digital skills shortage and its vast amount – 3 million and counting – of unemployed youth, will the country be ready to embrace the great labour shift towards AI, or will it be left behind?

Join IT News Africa’s Luis Monzon in conversation with Standard Bank’s Michael Daniels as they unpack the above, as well as the future of AI in SA’s labour market, what that entails for human workers and for the businesses that hire them, the skills shortage and what big enterprises are doing to upskill South Africans the country over in preparation for the AI shift.

Listen to the  interview below to discover why Daniels believes the future of work in South Africa, even with the introduction of AI into the workforce, will be a positive one.

Listen to the interview

-Luis Monzon, Staff Writer, IT News Africa.