Having one career for life no longer possible due to AI, says futurist Diana Wu David at the FCC
“Every job that we have is going to be affected.”
In her FCC Club Lunch titled “The Future of Work in an AI-Powered World”, Diana Wu David gave an overview of how generative AI has inevitably changed the workforce across nearly all sectors and what the future of employment may look like. Moderating the discussion was FCC First Vice President Jennifer Jett.
David, a future-of-work strategist and best-selling author, finds that there are two responses that working adults have taken in response to AI’s boom over the past year — one, to deny its rise and refuse to use it, or two, to “play” with AI and see what’s possible.
David’s suggestion: response number two.
“It [AI] helps a lot! If you can think about it, if you’re not really sure what to say, or you’re not really sure what to write, being able to use ChatGPT or some kind of machine learning to prompt you or write it for you is really amazing. You all-of-a-sudden can learn faster and produce faster,” she said.
While she admitted that AI has certainly changed hiring strategies and job openings (citing her own company’s use of AI for marketing materials and presentations), the bigger impact she mentioned was the transformation in how organizations think of value at work. David then cited an MIT study that showed a 14% improvement in low-level performers, as well as faster onboarding periods and a higher focus on the “fun parts” of work over completing mundane, time-consuming tasks.
“What it [AI] is doing is upgrading the ‘normals,’” she said.
In the case of journalism, David elaborated that AI can allow journalists to spend more time diving deep into their reporting and having AI write for them, which could then lead to a shift in media organizations valuing a journalist’s access and ideas over how well they may be able to write in English (or any other language).
“If that [writing well] doesn’t matter because ChatGPT can write in the style of the Financial Times or the Lex column, then who we’re hiring might change. Maybe it doesn’t matter to find the best writer,” she said.
Truly demonstrating her profession as a futurist expert, David also gave her thoughts on what students who aren’t currently working can do now in order to set themselves up for success in a future career alongside AI. She mentioned two qualities, adaptability and lifelong learning, as more important than the overall focus of a student’s degree program.
“The reality is that whatever major you choose is probably not that important. It’s more about how you can continue to learn over time and be adaptable,” she said.
Watch the full talk on our YouTube channel below: