If you’re reading this, your job is going to be altered because of AI (artificial intelligence) and machine learning.

Ginni Rometty, IBM’s executive chairman and past CEO, spoke about this critical change in the world in June 2019. She says that we need to steward these technologies into the world, as their impact will be far-reaching. Ms. Rometty said, “AI will alter every job… not replace those jobs but will alter them.”

In simple form, Ms. Rometty says we need to both trust the data and train people on how to use the data and be stewards of what is learned. Viewing the impact of AI through the lens of technology plus training is how to get people enrolled and active with the learnings of artificial intelligence. Though there is a social benefit, Ms. Rometty sees that doing so is also an economic responsibility.

Looking at employees, we all know there are blue-collar and white-collar jobs. Ms. Rometty points to ‘no collar’ employees. Think gig economy, think outside the mainstream. Such a lens has us value one’s skills over one’s education. Doing so helps us all to find ways to bring people to technology. A major shift would be to not just prepare people to learn the technology but to prepare people to learn from technology. For students and people looking to be re-trained in the economy, align them with how-to-learn methods + internships + job opportunities. This is about leveraging the human side, not the technological side.

When you think about the human side, one thing you’ll come to is trust. What do trust and technology have to do with one another? According to Ms. Rometty, a lot. IBM has had to run its business on trust, she says. This turned into a set of principles for working in the digital era. Those principles are:

  1. Technology will augment, not replace, the human being. Technology is a tool, and no tool has replaced human beings. Human beings have shifted how they work and some jobs have gone away, but the human being is not replaced by the tool. Technology will not replace humans.
  2. Data belong to its owner. Unlike some social media platforms that claim to own your pictures or posts, IBM says that what you create or provide is yours.
  3. Bias and Explainable. With new technologies, there will be bias, as when there are human beings involved there is always bias. New technologies can help reduce that because technology is explainable. When something is explainable, it helps people to understand it more and fear it less.

With all the things at play, what does Ms. Rometty say is the hardest part of AI? The answer is simple: changing how people work.

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