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Bracing for AI disruption? Learn how to ask good questions, panel advises

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Every time there’s a new technological advancement, people worry about job displacement, Mike Anderson, chief digital and transformation officer for Netskope, said during an April 10 roundtable on artificial intelligence and the workforce hosted by DeVry University. First typewriters, then the internet. 

“Every time you have these big technology transformations, they actually become job creators in the future. And I think we’ll see the same thing here with AI,” Anderson said. 

But they do require change, and that’s why open communication about change management is necessary, he advised. Anderson recommended employers talk to employees about what future job possibilities might be and what foundational skills will be needed, such as prompt engineering.

“Learning how to ask good questions is one of the best skills you can [focus on] when you’re preparing for a training around AI,” Anderson said. 

All employees will need to be agile learners as they adapt to AI in the workplace, said Andrea Shiah, head of talent strategy and transformation at Eightfold.

“This applies not just to technical roles, but it actually applies to marketing, sales, HR,” Shiah said. “Every function, whatever it is, has new developments, whether it’s tools that they’re using or ways that they have to approach things.”

While building pipelines of potential external talent is important, it’s important, too, to focus on skills development internally, Shiah said. Workers with adjacent skills can be identified to learn new in-demand skills, she said. 

“You’ve got a lot of potential in your organization,” Shiah said. 

When it comes to skills, to future-proof the workforce for the AI era, organizations need to ensure they’re building for the sustained growth and relevance of the organization, said Elise Awwad, president and CEO of DeVry University. 

“Technology is just evolving at a rapid pace, and bridging those skills gaps … is becoming more and more important,” Awwad said.

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