How to work alongside AI

Artificial intelligence could become your new favorite coworker.

Published: Sep 19, 2023

Kai went into a career in legal contracts because he wanted work that would always be in demand. But with the proliferation of AI tools that can now handle contracts with better-than-human accuracy, he’s getting nervous about job security. 

This year, the AI conversation changed from “it’s coming” to “it’s definitely here” and people feel a lot of ways about it. Pew Research surveyed Americans on many angles of AI and its potential use cases. It found that, at a high level, respondents were more concerned (37%) than excited (18%), with another 45% being equally concerned and excited. 

Even if they’re dubious, many people are cautiously testing out tools like ChatGPT. But companies see the economic potential and are quickly developing new AI features with the goal to add value and improve the customer experience, such as Spotify's new AI 'DJ.' 

Whether you like it or not, AI is here to stay as part of your life as both an employee and a consumer. Here’s how to embrace it in your career.  

Even if they’re dubious, many people are cautiously testing out tools like ChatGPT. But companies see the economic potential and are quickly developing new AI features.

Look fear in the face.

Everyone has their own personal concerns about how AI could change their work. Some people aren’t comfortable with technology and worry that they’ll be left behind, while some worry that their role lends itself well to automation and is therefore at risk. “A lot of automation has been possible for a long time, so get realistic about which aspects of your role might be automated in this new landscape and which need to stay human,” says Frances Weir, a career coach at Korn Ferry Advance. “People will still be needed to prompt, shape, and edit what gets churned out by the AI.”

Learn the landscape.

“Welcoming change versus resisting it will take you further in your career,” says Val Olson, a career coach at Korn Ferry Advance. “The future of work is unknown, which can be scary. But it can also be exciting, as new frontiers open up.” 

If you’re uncertain about the ways AI could impact your world, knowledge is power. While so-called AI experts are popping up all over the place, many reputable sources have been honing their knowledge in the field for a long time. You could take an online course, watch YouTube videos, and read blogs and books by trustworthy content creators—or even query ChatGPT

Proactively start upskilling.

Another way to ease your fears is to take charge of your career before decisions get made for you. Get to know which tools are being adopted by competitors, and how your organization is approaching AI. Remember that while technology moves fast, organizational change is slow, particularly for large organizations, so there’s still time to make decisions and gain skills.

Career experts warn that younger workers will be more impacted than mature workers, though everyone will have to make major adjustments to how they work, and to be agile and expect change. “It’s always been the case that you must work on your career, not just on your job,” Olson says. 

Accept that AI is superhuman—but you’re not.

We’ve never seen anything like the speed of change that AI brings to the economy. People are still figuring out what tasks it can help us with, while its actual capabilities are seemingly boundless. “Work iteratively and be scrappy,” Weir says. “We may not be able to keep up with the pace of development, but we can focus on using the technology in a safe and regulated way, and as a force for good.”

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