Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members


It is now nearly one year that Covid-19 struck the world, changing it forever. The world not only failed to contain the crisis but was also unable to invent a cure or vaccine till date. The infectious nature of the crisis has boosted uptake of contactless technology across all wakes of life including industries. The pandemic thus catalyzed the Fourth Industrial Revolution and accelerated its adoption globally.

According to a World Economic Forum article, currently, the most sought after and fastest growing technologies are Digital Transformation (DX), including online conferencing, Robotics and Artificial Intelligence (AI), Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR). All these technologies developed rapidly supported by the growing acceptance of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

As industries embrace these technologies progressively, massive job loss in different occupations are expected to take place. Workers offering simple manual work will lose their jobs to drones, robotics and automated driving. While learning more advanced manual labor skills can help such workers, solutions will not be so simple for the employees working in the knowledge economy.

Occupations that rely on professional knowledge application and judgement based logical thinking are expected to be at great risk from AI and professions like accountancy, law, medicine and pharmacy are not an exception.

Image: McKinsey and Company

Given the speedy advancement of Industry 4.0, businesses and nations must focus on developing certain abilities in the workforce.  After a series of expansive discussions at the World Economic Forum’s annual meet in Davos and the Global Agenda Council, experts agreed over three advanced abilities or skills that cannot be matched by AI – Hospitality, Management and Creativity.

In hospitality, verbal-communication based standard services like reception and information can be easily taken over by AI. Humans thus need to acquire more sophisticated hospitality skills.

Mastering non-verbal communication

People working in hospitality must become avid listeners and enhance their observation skills so that they are able to grasp all that the customers are not saying verbally and serve them accordingly with warmth and feelings that can never be replicated by machines.

Demonstrating deep empathy to customers

In the future when technology will play a larger role in the society, empathy is likely to become a key differentiator in the hospitality business. Behaving with empathy towards customers would be treated as an important skill that can never be matched by AI.

In management, AI is expected to dominate tasks like materials management, project management, financial management and human resource management. Humans would need to attain more advanced management skills to stay ahead of AI. The following two skills would become extremely significant for organizational leaders and managers in the Advanced Knowledge Society of the future.

Undertake growth management

To foster organizational growth, mangers would need to enhance their coaching skills and help their fellow members in developing professional skills. Handpicking workers by assessing their potentials and supporting their growth requires emotion and intuition, qualities that are unique to humans.

Practicing mind management

People working in organizations are bound to experience distress arising from professional clashes or interpersonal relationships. Mind management requires managers and leaders to acquire counselling skills and help colleagues in overcoming their mental challenges or simply providing mental support when needed.

AI will never be able to replace humans’ creative genius. Creating new designs and thinking of innovative technology can thus be considered safe from machine invasion, however, these skills are limited to a specialized creed. In regular professional life in the age of AI, creativity manifests in different forms:

Collective intelligence management

Collective intelligence management entails bringing together individual members of an organization with a vision to extract a synthesis of ideas that results in generation of new knowledge and wisdom. It requires ego management skills and the ability to influence people to rise above individual interests. Tapping into the collective potential of organizational teams needs a human touch.

Realizing new ideas in the organization

The ability to recognize potentially great ideas is must for company leaders and managers. It requires prolific skills at many levels to conceive or spot a good idea, convince others about its potential and then implement the idea smoothly. Creativity is great requirement in the corporate setup and can never be replaced by any machine.

Companies and national leaders must realize that the accelerated pace of tech adoption will soon eliminate many jobs. Collective efforts must be made to help people acquire these skills in order to avoid large scale unemployment.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

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