Experts: Learn AI Now or Risk Losing Your Job

AI is smart, efficient, and gaining speed; according to experts, it is imperative that workers begin to learn how to use AI before their jobs become fundamentally transformed.

“In our hospital, we have a saying that AI is not going to replace clinicians, but clinicians who use AI are going to replace clinicians who don’t use AI,” said Dr. Muhammad Mamdani, vice-president of data science and advanced analytics at Unity Health Toronto.

In a rapidly changing world surrounded by technology, this is a warning that workers in many industries may now need to take seriously. Artificial intelligence is here and experts say workers across most sectors — from finance to law to coding — now need to learn how to use AI themselves or risk being replaced.

“There is an urgent need for many people in the workforce to start taking artificial intelligence seriously — if they aren’t already. Learn how to use it so it isn’t used against you,” said Ottawa economist Armine Yalnizyan, who focuses on the future of work.

Unity Health Toronto, the hospital network that includes St. Michael’s, has a dedicated applied AI team and says it has launched more than 50 innovations since 2017.

“We have algorithms that are running, monitoring patients, every hour on the hour. It has reduced human effort on simple tasks by over 80 per cent. Tasks that normally take two to four hours every day by a few people, it’s reduced to under 15 minutes,” Mamdani said.

The notion that artificial intelligence (AI) is advancing towards white-collar job roles is not a novel concept. However, there’s a lack of comprehensive understanding about the extent of AI’s impact on different job sectors. “It is happening everywhere, in every industry. It’s happening to coders, it’s happening to translators, it’s happening to engineers, it’s happening to people working in law, it’s happening in every sector,” stated Yalnizyan.

The present version of AI, as Yalnizyan explained, is morphing at an unprecedented pace, exhibiting human-like cognitive abilities.

Drawing a parallel with the advent of calculators, Yalnizyan suggested that while technology can replace certain tasks, it also enhances job efficiency. The key lies in learning to adapt and work with technology. In particular, she emphasized the need for individuals aged 25 to 54 to become proficient in AI, given their presence in the workforce and the likely necessity of these skills in future job roles.

Yalnizyan strongly recommended educational institutions to incorporate AI education in their curriculum, considering the fast-paced evolution of technology. Conversely, some individuals like illustrator Martin Deschatelets find the current AI technology too simplistic to learn. He expressed concerns over the use of AI to replace humans rather than assist them, especially in creative fields like art.

Jeff Macpherson, director of Xagency.AI, warned against such an outlook, explaining that businesses are likely to adopt AI due to its cost-effectiveness and scalability. He empathized with the potential job losses, but also highlighted the opportunity for professionals to get ahead by learning to make the technology work for them.

However, the impact of AI will not be uniform across all industries. Jobs involving manual labor such as construction, nursing, and support work are less likely to be affected by AI. Joel Blit, an associate professor of economics, advised students to embrace technology and develop broad, flexible skills that can be adapted as per the changing landscape. He anticipates significant job disruption over the next four decades due to AI.

See full article from CBC News.

Jack McPherrin ([email protected]) is a managing editor of, research editor for The Heartland Institute, and a research fellow for Heartland's Socialism Research Center. He holds an MA in International Affairs from Loyola University-Chicago, and a dual BA in Economics and History from Boston College.