AI and the 4th Industrial Revolution: 7 skills you should start learning now

Artificial Intelligence is the new (not so new) trend in computing science. You might have heard about it, and if you have not, do not worry, we will introduce it to you. AI has already started to change the way we live, but more than that, it’s changing the way we work. Regardless of the sector in which you will work, AI is definitely transforming it. We will give you some clues to understand this revolution and to deal with it.

What is Artificial Intelligence exactly?

Artificial Intelligence is not easy to define for many reasons, mainly because it is constantly evolving, but also because AI is an “interdisciplinary” subject: indeed, not only computer scientists contribute to AI, but also biologists, linguists, anthropologists, philosophers, neuroscientists, and psychologists. The Britannica Online Encyclopaedia defines AI as the “ability of a digital computer or computer-controlled robot to perform tasks commonly associated with intelligent beings”. So, basically, AI is inspired by intellectual characteristics of human beings such as the ability to discover meaning, to learn from past experiences or to reason.

What about figures?

  • 7 billion is the projected number of digital assistants by 2020 VS. 4 billion in 2017 (according to IHS Markit).
  • $35,870 million is the projected size of the AI market by 2025 VS. $641.9 million in 2016 (according to Grand View Research)
  • 65% is the percentage of children entering primary school today and ending up working in completely new job types that don’t yet exist (according to the World Economic Forum).
  • 84% is the percentage of enterprises that believe that investing in AI will lead to greater competitive advantages.

The figures are clear, AI and more generally the Fourth Industrial Revolution are changing the market, the way we work and the way we live. Over the centuries, we, as human beings, changed the world but also changed ourselves to move forward. Once more, we need to progress, to make ourselves better and to live with the world we are building. We need to adapt and to expand our set of skills to cope with the future of work.

7 skills you will need in the future of your work:

  1.    Adaptability and Agility

As mentioned above, 65% of children entering primary school today will work in new jobs that don’t exist. This means that we don’t know for the moment the hard skills that are needed. However, we can confirm that adaptability and agility will be required competences. We will have to learn new skills but also set aside ones that are no longer required. The habit of learning is an important skill we absolutely need, we spend a lot of time learning at school until we are 20 and then, we stop. In the future, we must all become lifelong learners.

  1.    Critical Thinking and Problem Solving

Before answering questions, we need to know how to ask good ones. Critical thinking is needed to question and to discover whilst problem solving leads to innovation and alternatives.

  1.    Assessing and Analysing Information

2.5 quintillion bytes of data are created every day, and 90% of it has been created in the last two years; this is 10 million Blu-ray discs, the height of which stacked, would measure the height of four Eiffel Towers on top of one another (according to Vcloudnews). Yes, access to information has increased, and so has our access to misinformation! We need to be able to evaluate the sources and the content. Fake news is in the spotlight as well and we have to use our “critical lenses” whilst looking for information.

  1.    Collaboration Across Networks

The predicted percentage of non-permanent and remote workers of an average company’s total workforce (according to HCM Works) is 40%. We already have many tools to collaborate over distance and to transcend geographical boundaries, but we will need to be prepared to use them more and to be more efficient.

  1.    Initiative and Entrepreneurship

According to studies, business leaders struggle to find employees that are looking for opportunities and ideas to improve company’s strategies. Don’t be afraid to share the ideas you are proud of and keep nourishing your entrepreneurship spirit thanks to… curiosity and imagination.

  1.    Curiosity and Imagination

Thinking outside the box needs to be considered as important a skill as maths or physics because innovation is driven by curiosity, by questions and imagination. To go forward, we need to challenge ourselves, to ask for and seek answers.

We have so many ways to enlarge our imagination particularly through all the data we have access to: books, films, essays, quotes, talks with people around us, nature…

  1.    Public speaking skills

These skills might surprise you because of their obviousness. Proper use of language and grammar should be common sense but there are other skills to consider such as communicating clearly, expressing your ideas and convincing others. The clearer you are through your words, the clearer it is through your brain. Moreover, we can’t forget the use of our body when we talk; according to Albert Mehrabian’s studies (a psychology professor in the US), more than 50% of our communication is nonverbal (body language) or paraverbal (tone of the voice). It’s not only about how we express ourselves through words, it’s also about our behaviour.

Is AI already in my life?

We might not see it, or even think about it, maybe because it’s not always obvious or just because it’s “normal” for us, but AI is already everywhere around us.

Let’s take your phone as an example: virtual personal assistants, you know, those small voices that call or text people for you, or give you the weather forecast. Basically, it’s AI collecting data to learn from it, recognising your voice and speaking to you, creating reasoning to suggest to you the closest Chinese restaurant you are looking for.

On a perhaps even greater scale, AI can be found within social networks. Have you ever noticed that Facebook can suggest which friends you should tag on a picture? Moreover, it can put the right name on the right face. Once more, Artificial Intelligence!

Smart cars: have you ever imagined driving to work reading a book? It’s in progress. Google and Tesla are working on it.

Fraud detection is also a stunning achievement of AI. Computers learn from data of fraudulent and non-fraudulent purchases how to classify them and once the training is good enough, programs are able to spot a fraudulent transaction on your bank account. Useful, isn’t it?

Dates that shaped Artificial Intelligence:

1935: Alan Turing introduced the store-program concept, which consists of a limitless memory, in which both data and instructions are stored, and a scanner moves back and forth through the memory, symbol by symbol, reading what it finds and writing further symbols.

1975: Joseph Weizenbaum creates at MIT, Eliza, the first chatbot.

1987: Ernst Dickmanns, an engineer, led an academic project in which a Mercedes van drives itself 20 kilometers along a German highway at more than 55mph.

1997: IBM’s computer, Deep Blue, defeats chess world champion Garry Kasparov.

2016: AlphaGo, from the Google unit DeepMind, defeats a world champion player of the board game Go.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution is global, and employment is a matter that goes beyond the frontiers/borders. We move forward together, as citizens of the world. It doesn’t make a difference where you come from as we all have the same goals: to have a successful future and to find a job which makes us happy and for which we are ready and prepared to give our best.

We can’t exactly predict the future, but we can share what we already know: jobs are changing, we are creating new technologies and we will need to learn more and adapt ourselves to the future of jobs.

Potential jobs for the future could be a Children’s R&D manager, a Corporate blogging-relationship manager, a Corporate Anthropologist, a Bioethicist or even Virtual reality Architect. If you have to invent your future job, what would it be?