The UAE Government in cooperation with the World Economic Forum (WEF) inaugurated recently the Center for Fourth Iindustrial Revolution in the UAE at AREA 2071, Emirates Towers in Dubai, to be the first of its kind in the region in the fifth globally, after the United States, Japan, India and China. The center comes as part of the strategic partnership between the UAE government and the World Economic Forum.
As humankind is now navigating its 4IR, spanned by AI – based technologies that enable automation, organizations like the World Bank and the World Economic Forum broadly agree that 4IR will be, like its predecessors, a net creator of jobs. In a recent report, the World Bank suggested that for each technology job created; around 4.3 jobs will be generated across occupations and income groups. This should be a source of great encouragement for those concerned about widespread labor displacement. But global groups also offer a word of caution – that such benefits will not accrue to society as a whole without careful public – policy implementation. In a January 2016 report, the WEF made clear that “our actions today”, or lack thereof would be the difference between “massive displacement of workers and the emergence of new opportunities”.
In other words, it is incumbent upon all of us- citizens, governments and businesses – to play our parts in the journey ahead. Upskilling and reskilling of large sections of the workforce to accommodate emerging roles will be of paramount importance. Some 80% of jobs in which our 2025 workforce will find themselves have not yet been created. But while many are in non- IT jobs, AI skills will definitely give a leg up, in the coming years, to all who have them in our opinion.
Financial Services and Insurance (FSI) employees may be concerned. What if analyst positions are filled by advanced analytic engines that ingest data lakes and spew out reams of actionable intelligence on market conditions and forthcoming trends?
With a grounding in AI and cloud, those employees can create and nurture the very models they were afraid would replace them. Far from being displaced, they become integral to the fabric of business intelligence, spearheading new models and collaborating with colleagues on how to use findings to best effect.
Manufacturing employees may be concerned. What if the production line is automated and factory floors become ghost towns devoid of all human presence? But with the right reskilling through platforms like open-mind in AI and the internet of things, these employees could be frontline architects of solutions that allow predictive maintenance – where repairs on installed equipment are conducted ahead of time, reducing costs and creating happier customers. These newly minted AI specialists can also be overseers of bold new servitization models that increase until margins on products by bundling value added services with them.
Other employees may even break out of their current industries entirely, choosing to become digital soldiers in one of the world’s most troublesome wars – fought on the cyber – threat landscape. There has in our opinion never been a greater need for qualified security professionals who are able to devise sound practices and agile policies that allow companies and governments the flexibility to innovate.
A recent Microsoft survey found that 51% of organizations in the region of the Middle East were planning some sort of cloud migration in 2018-19. In response to this and the rise in uptake of cloud solutions, Microsoft announced in March last year that it will build two dedicated cloud data centers, one in Dubai and one in Abu Dhabi, to bring those services to enterprises in the Middle East.