One of the main concerns about the emergence of new and powerful technologies is that they will take our jobs away.
This is a topic that was explored extensively at last week’s WEF in Davos. It’s one that we are thinking about a lot at JLL too. While many of the jobs we will be doing in five, 10 or 20 years from now are still to be imagined, I came away from the meeting with a feeling of optimism and excitement about the opportunities in store.
In our increasingly digitally-enabled world of work, the brightest minds will be needed to strategise, craft and execute how we use these technologies. That means jobs for people with skills in STEM (science, technology, engineering, maths), but there will also be opportunities for people with softer strategic and relationship-building skills, things that will be in demand more than ever.
Immersed in the topic of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, I had the opportunity to hear from Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s CEO, who talked about “Digital Trust and Transformation” and explained that data is the new production currency.
In an interesting analogy, Nadella likened data to electricity: “Whether you’re in retail, healthcare or insurance, any sector, economy or walk of our lives is going to be driven by digital and data. Just like electricity, which was democratised, available, and fuelled economic growth and productivity and growth in the previous industrial revolution, the same thing needs to happen with data.”
The phrase “AI or die” was something that emerged at the forum. It sounds somewhat harsh that we need to embrace artificial intelligence or be eliminated. Yet Oracle predicts that 90 per cent of all enterprise apps would have integrated AI by 2020.
Technology can be a boon, not a bane, and it is something that the real estate industry – known to be traditional and analogue – is starting to embrace. Artificial intelligence is already being used in real estate, with AI platforms that have learnt how to process large volumes of real estate transactions over time to calculate property prices, and create future projections. This is just one of the few examples that AI can be put to good use.
Technology still needs a human touch. As the usage of AI takes off, we will need more people to figure out what types of data to obtain, write the right algorithms to analyse this data, and even more people to investigate the problems we encounter along the way.
As Satya Nadella said, AI is as important, or even more important than the discovery of electricity. So we have to embrace it and conquer it.