Automation and AI (artificial intelligence) will have tremendous impacts on the future workplace and future workers, as well as the future of work in general. McKinsey Global Institute’s “Jobs lost, jobs gained: Workforce transitions in a time of automation” report found that about half of all current work activities are automatable using technology that exists and has already been demonstrated. Meanwhile, six of 10 current occupations could automate more than 30% of activities, according to McKinsey’s research. Clearly, this transition will be an impactful one.

Some jobs will be displaced as automation grows. Workers will either need to upskill, reskill, or change occupational categories altogether. One skill set that will undoubtedly become more and more important as the workforce changes is RPA (robotic process automation). A program called AAU (Automation Anywhere University) from RPA provider Automation Anywhere aims to help workers prepare for a future in which AI and automation are prominent components in the workplace. Automation Anywhere’s enterprise-grade platform uses software bots that work side-by-side with people to automate repetitive work in industries like financial services, insurance, healthcare, manufacturing, and logistics, among others.

Technology research firm ISG says enterprises are going to need AI skills if they’re going to maximize value from automation tech. At its ISG U.S. Automation Summit, summit session attendees identified AI/cognitive technology skills and RPA technology skills as the top two automation skillsets that will be most in demand this year. Within the next five years, Automation Anywhere anticipates certifying more than 1 million individuals for the future of work, and it has partnered with many different organizations to provide RPA training for business and IT professionals looking to upskill or reskill.

Meanwhile, the AI ecosystem itself will change, forcing AI professionals to continue to evolve alongside it. Recurrent Dynamics is a Canada-based AI startup that aims to advance the capabilities of artificial intelligence. The company’s novel method of training AI could create some ripples in the industry. Recurrent Dynamics says it has achieved a computational breakthrough that makes it viable to train AI continuously and at the edge.

The current paradigm for AI training can be complex and costly, but perhaps this won’t always be the case. Rather than training on a centralized cloud infrastructure, Recurrent Dynamics says its new method of training AI can be done on small cheap devices like a smartphone or tablet or any other connected device, including an autonomous vehicle. The company hopes its offering will bring ubiquitous, humanlike AI closer to the present by a decade.

Traditionally, the benefits of AI training in the cloud have included scalability and accessible capabilities and options that don’t require specialized skills in AI and machine learning and/or a dedicated team of data scientists. However, as training methods evolve and advance, the ecosystem will evolve too. Similarly, as more industries adopt automation, the entire work dynamic will change. Those organizations—and the professionals within those organizations—that can find a way to keep up with this change will reap the rewards when the future of work is upon us.

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