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    How AI is Transforming Jobs: Insights from Microsoft’s 2024 Work Trend Index

    75% .i.e. three in every four “knowledge workers” are using AI at work today, Microsoft and LinkedIn have claimed in a joint report titled 2024 Work Trend Index Annual Report. Additionally, 78% of AI users bring their own AI tools to work, and 53% worry that using AI tools for important work will deem them replaceable to their employers. (Quick context: Knowledge workers are “those who typically work at a desk (whether in an office or at home)” as defined by the report).

    The objective of this survey, the report said, is to provide data points and insights that could help organizations overcome “AI inertia.”

    Here are the highlights:

    Hiring trends

    The report identified hiring trends indicative of the future of work and career landscapes: 66% of surveyed leaders said they wouldn’t hire someone without AI skills while 71% said they would privilege AI skills over experience.

    “For the vast majority of people, AI isn’t replacing their job but transforming it, and their next job might be a role that doesn’t exist yet,” the report noted, adding that “globally, skills are projected to change by 50% by 2030 (from 2016)—and  generative AI is expected to accelerate this change to 68%.”

    Future of work

    Notably, the report also defined a category—AI “power user”— as “knowledge workers who are at least familiar with generative AI, use it at work at least several times a week, and save more than 30 minutes a day by using it.”

    As per the report, power users are more likely to frequently experiment with AI tools at almost every step of their workday (catch up on missed meetings, analyze information, design content, interact with customers, brainstorm solutions). They use AI to ease their workload, boost productivity, and focus on the “most important work.”

    How will this change expectations from the workforce, especially those who are just entering it? The report notes that with the ubiquity of AI tools, entry-level workers will be expected to take on more strategic projects and “skills like management, relationship building, negotiation, and critical thinking will come to the fore for employees at all levels.”

    What is also noteworthy, however, is that the question posed to the employers to get the above data points seems to have a clear bias: The question “To what extent do you agree or disagree with the following statements about generative artificial intelligence’s (AI’s) impact on skills?” provides no neutral or negative answers to choose from. This feeds the positive bias to throw up numbers that may not be truly reflective of the opinions of even the limited sample size.

    Survey questions that gave the result: “The New Hiring Imperative; AI aptitude takes center stage”

    How was the survey conducted? 

    The survey was conducted across 31 countries/markets, with 1000 full-time employed or self-employed knowledge workers in each market–thus bringing the total sample to 31,000 respondents. (For your reference, some reports suggest an estimated 1 billion knowledge workers across the globe–making this survey’s sample size approximately 0.0031% of the total value). The survey also identified hiring trends on LinkedIn and analysed Microsoft 365’s data and research with Fortune 500 customers as a part of the dataset.

    (Note: While India was one of the countries/markets to be surveyed, its data is yet to be released. Thus, the report didn’t provide any sharp numbers for any of the key findings for the Indian market. )

    Microsoft in the AI market:

    Lately, Microsoft has upped its game in the AI industry and is getting involved more directly in the market than before. Last month, Microsoft released its very own lightweight small language model ‘Phi-3’, a less complex model (than Large Language Models) which is cost-effective and ideal for simple tasks, thus, making it “best suited” for small organizations.

    But that’s not all. It was recently discovered that Microsoft also scored a deal with US Intelligence Agencies where it provided the agencies with a generative AI model, that’s “air-gapped” from the internet (isolated from the internet to avoid info leakage), to enable analysis of classified and top-secret information, as reported by Bloomberg.

    Back in India, Microsoft signed a Memorandum of Understanding with i-Create (International Centre for Entrepreneurship and Technology); the IT Ministry of India facilitated the MoU. Under the partnership, 100 startups across India will be scaled to build with Azure OpenAI, out of which the top 25 companies will receive support from Microsoft’s Global Network to develop advanced products.

    Also Read: 

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    The post How AI is Transforming Jobs: Insights from Microsoft’s 2024 Work Trend Index appeared first on MediaNama.

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