AI isn’t coming for your job, but it’s definitely going to be your new coworker

by NEW YORK DIGITAL NEWS



Concerns about AI replacing humans are unlikely to materialize anytime soon. But that doesn’t mean AI isn’t going to become a fixture of your workplace.

At Big Four consulting firm Deloitte, about 75,000 staff in Europe and the Middle East are set to receive access to an artificial intelligence-enabled chat bot called PairD this year, the Financial Times reported. PairD was unveiled by Deloitte’s AI Institute in late 2023. 

Deloitte expects workers to use PairD—an internal tool Deloitte itself created—to accomplish rote tasks like building slide decks or writing emails and code, while also keeping an eye out for “accuracy and completeness,” a source told FT. Leaders at Deloitte have cautioned employees that PairD, a new chatbot, is liable to make errors, so anyone who uses it must first undergo a training module. 

The PairD rollout—still underway—is part of Deloitte’s “long-term AI investment plans, as we continue to explore the potential that this technology could offer our firm, our clients, and wider society,” Costi Perricos, the global and UK leader of Deloitte’s Analytics and Cognitive practice, told FT. “A key focus for employers should be on how to use these new tools safely, so that they can be applied correctly and create value.”

A representative for Deloitte did not immediately return Fortune’s request for comment. 

Deloitte is officially joining the ranks of other large firms that have long relied on AI to outsource repetitive, easily automatable tasks. It’s a sign that AI will more likely become a pronounced part of our jobs rather than taking our jobs.

AI chatbots are pulling up a chair

In 2023, PricewaterhouseCoopers shared news of its $1 billion three-year investment in generative AI, which they said they’d use for automation in its consulting, auditing, and tax services. And at Accenture, “generative AI has been at the center of 500-plus client conversations,” the firm’s chief technology officer Paul Daugherty said, according to the Wall Street Journal

At Fortune’s Brainstorm AI conference in December, Daugherty predicted AI will lead to some “consolidation” of the workforce, as fewer people are needed for rote tasks. “The biggest worry is the jobs for the people who won’t be using generative AI,” he told Fortune CEO Alan Murray.

And, echoing scores of other leaders, Matt Candy, global managing partner in generative AI at IBM, recently said the jobs of the future will go to those who can balance AI acuity with finely honed soft skills. “Questioning, creativity skills, and innovation are going to be hugely important because I think AI’s going to free up more capacity for creative thought processes,” Candy told Fortune.

In other words, even if every company unveils a PairD equivalent, interpersonal acumen will never lose its value. “We’re seeing the importance of people skills, human skills, perceptiveness, ethical trade-offs, problem solving,” LinkedIn chief economist Karin Kimbrough said in October. “What I’m thinking of when I look into 2024 is the importance of both people skills and [digital] skills going hand in hand.”

The skills required to excel in a job—even a job that purports to stay the same—evolve greatly as the years pass. He believes that the simple fact that robots and AI have yet to truly overtake human ingenuity means that, for the foreseeable future, humans don’t need to worry about non-humans putting them out of work. Rather, they’ll make it even more crucial for tech skills to be part of the package, helping expedite the busywork so humans can focus on interpersonal and creative tasks. 

That means any workers who haven’t yet familiarized themselves with today’s AI would be wise to do so—and to continually upskill as the tech continues modernizing, lest they lose their role to an AI expert. “If skills are changing this rapidly, it means we have to invest in ourselves, and invest in learning,” Kimbrough said. “There’s not that much AI talent out there.”

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