AI key for post-COVID employment growth; TF6 of Think20

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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AI Based Learning
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Taskforce 6 (TF6) of Think20, the policy advice and research think tank of the G20 has reiterated that Artificial intelligence (AI)-based learning will help to overcome current educational challenges and prepare people to become an effective part of the workforce as the global economy continues to evolve.

The task force observed that economies around the globe are reeling from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, underpinning the need to improve the transition from education to employment and to radically improve the skills of those already employed.

“Pre-COVID-19, the fourth industrial revolution was already rebalancing employment away from repetitive manual work, in favor of automated, AI-supported roles,” Paul Grainger, co-director for the Centre for Educations and Work and the co-chair of TF6 noted.

“The rapid technological migration businesses have been forced to undertake during 2020 has highlighted skill gap among over 35s and need to balance education reform between the youth population and missing generation of adults whose jobs are being replaced by technology,” he added.

Data available at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development showed that the global unemployment rate reached 8.4 percent in May and is likely to climb to 9.4 percent by the end of 2020 due to the pandemic.

As much as 195 million job losses are expected to happen in the global economy due to the pandemic as per the International Labour Organisation (ILO) forecasts.

T20 expects that economies that are reliant on traditional service industries such as retail and wholesale, food and accommodation, business services and administration and manufacturing which together account for up to 37.5 percent of global employment, will be most affected by the pandemic. However, Manufacturing could be the least hit of these groups as demand for goods is still high.

TF6 laid out its recommendations on how G20 members, the world’s 20 biggest industrialized economies, can address their individual challenges to ensure their economies can recover and achieve sustained growth, as the increased use of AI changes the employment landscape in the digital age.

To bridge the generational skills gap, the group recommended regulating industry micro-credentials and government funding for workplace learning for people in traditional sectors and those working within the platform and gig economies.

It said that the promotion of interactive AI for skills as a learning aid and the development of technical and vocational education training institutions will also help to extend AI-based learning to existing and future workforce.

“The policies TF6 has chosen to focus on will have a direct impact on how we, as an international community, shape our immediate future,” Heidi Alaskary, visiting senior research fellow at the King Faisal Centre for Research and Islamic Studies and lead co-chair of TF6, stated.

“It is evident we are on the cusp of a significant global change and areas of reform, such as the reliance on AI, have shifted from being interesting concepts to becoming critical conversations that require urgent attention.”

“The cost of training will continue to be a barrier for many, a challenge exacerbated by the economic implications of Covid-19. However, the only way countries can affect long-lasting change and move into the future of work is with “global cooperation on minimum standards within technical and vocational training,” TF6 said.