CHAPTER 8The AI Advantage: Near-Term Workforce Opportunities and Challenges

By Barbara C. Matthews1

1Founder and CEO, BCMstrategy, Inc.


Periods of profound technological transformation traditionally trigger at least as much angst as excitement. Recent efforts to make sense of how advanced technology will disrupt and reformulate our societies draw from the nineteenth century by referencing The Second Machine Age1 and the Fourth Industrial Revolution”.2 This is not just hype. Rapidly accelerating process automation from artificial intelligence (AI) systems will generate economic dislocations even as they improve materially how people think and work.

Policymakers are reacting strategically. At their June 2019 summit, the Group of Twenty (G20) embraced these changes in their Osaka Declaration3 and issued non-binding AI Principles4 to guide policy development. G20 leaders thus seek to accelerate the rate of AI adoption within economies while committing to “empower people with the skills for AI and support workers for a fair transition”.

Companies and policymakers must act now to help people benefit from the enhanced cognition delivered by AI systems.

Enhanced Cognition: The Good News

“Enhanced cognition” refers to the improvements in analytical functions from the machine–human interface. The premise is simple: computers perform repetitive tasks (information acquisition, organization and visualization), delivering outputs that provide a more advanced entry point for humans ...

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