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Adapting to the AI Revolution: The Essential Soft Skills for Career Success

At the start of 2023, I stumbled upon a remarkable tool called ChatGPT. It was the talk of the tech community on Twitter, and while I initially paid little attention to AI development in general because I feel like it’s a bit too technical, my early adopter tendencies (plus FOMO!) got the better of me, and I decided to peek of what is this all about.

Little did I know that this decision would have such a profound impact on my view for the humanity’s future.

After delving into the world of ChatGPT, I began to comprehend the power it possessed and realized that it would revolutionize the way we live and work. This realization led me down a rabbit hole of researching the impact of Artificial Intelligence (AI) on humanity. I listened to countless podcasts, watched various discussion on YouTube discussing the positive and negative impact of AI, and consumed numerous articles on the matter. I believe we are at the turning point of AI vs Human and ChatGPT is just the beginning.

The reason why I went down the rabbit hole is because of my work which focuses on training university students for their future careers, particularly in developing their soft skills, or what I prefer to call: Human Skills. By teaching them these skills, I need to consider two important factors; their career path and future prospects. Specifically, I must assess the impact of technology’s rapid acceleration on different career possibilities. Living in the VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous) world has made me realize that I need to constantly update my training materials to keep up with the changes, as outdated information would become redundant.

One cannot talk about the future if one is not paying attention to the future.

While conducting research, I am posing the question of “What soft skills a graduate requires to thrive in the era of Artificial Intelligence?”

As AI becomes increasingly integrated into various industries, the demand for human skills, often referred to as soft skills, has never been greater. While AI technologies excel at automating routine tasks, at least for now, they still struggle to replicate the uniquely human qualities that drive innovation, collaboration, and emotional intelligence. In the age of AI, graduates who possess a robust set of soft skills will have a distinct advantage in the job market and will be better positioned to excel in their future careers.

After months of researching on various articles, watching quite a number of discussions online combined with the information I recently acquired from Future Jobs Report 2023 by the World Economic Forum, I have chosen 6 soft skills for our graduates:

1. Resilience, agility, and flexibility have emerged as crucial attributes for thriving in the age of AI when it comes to future careers. These qualities are vital for individuals to adapt, grow, and succeed in a rapidly evolving work environment shaped by artificial intelligence. These qualities enable individuals to adapt to automation, embrace technological advancements, navigate changing roles and industries, collaborate effectively in a hybrid workforce, and future-proof their career pathways. By cultivating resilience, agility, and flexibility, individuals can harness the opportunities presented by AI technologies and ensure their continuous growth, success, and fulfilment in an AI-driven future.

2. Empathy plays a pivotal role in understanding and connecting with others on a deeper level. As AI systems continue to automate tasks and interactions, the ability to empathize becomes even more essential. Empathy enables individuals to understand the emotions, perspectives, and needs of colleagues, clients, and users. By cultivating empathy, professionals can provide personalized and compassionate solutions, enhancing collaboration and building strong relationships in hybrid human-AI work environments.

3. Active listening complements empathy by allowing individuals to genuinely hear and understand others. In an era where AI algorithms process vast amounts of data, active listening ensures that human voices are valued, and diverse perspectives are considered. Through active listening, professionals can gather insights, engage in meaningful dialogue, and incorporate user feedback in the development and improvement of AI systems. This not only enhances the user experience but also promotes inclusive design and ethical AI practices.

4. Communication and Collaboration: Effective communication and collaboration are critical skills in an AI-powered world. Graduates who can articulate their ideas clearly, both verbally and in writing, will be able to convey complex information to diverse audiences, including technical and non-technical stakeholders. Moreover, the ability to collaborate and work seamlessly in interdisciplinary teams will be highly valued. AI projects often involve professionals from various domains, and graduates who can foster effective teamwork and build strong relationships will be well-suited to navigate complex projects and drive innovation.

5. Leadership and Influence: Leadership skills will continue to be in demand as organizations navigate the challenges and opportunities presented by AI. Graduates who can inspire and motivate others, drive change, and foster innovation will be highly valued in the AI-powered workplace. Additionally, the ability to influence and persuade stakeholders, both within and outside the organization, will be crucial for driving AI adoption and implementing transformative initiatives. Developing leadership capabilities will empower graduates to shape the future of work and make a significant impact in their chosen fields.

6. Ethical and Social Awareness: As AI technologies become increasingly integrated into society, graduates must possess a strong ethical compass and social awareness. Understanding the potential impact of AI on privacy, fairness, and societal well-being is essential. Graduates who can navigate the ethical dilemmas posed by AI, promote responsible AI practices, and advocate for transparency and accountability will play a crucial role in shaping the ethical use of AI technologies. We must make sure that AI will continue to be the tool that enhance the human lives and not the possibility to be threat to human kind.

I chose these six soft skills because I believe they are attainable for students to continuously hone throughout their academic career. Moreover, I am confident that these skills will differentiate them in job interviews, adding value to their resume. It goes without saying that these skills are desirable, which makes them all the more appealing job candidates.

Additionally, I feel that possessing these skills will reap lifelong benefits even as a person and make AI more human.

To conclude, in the age of AI, the demand for soft skills has never been greater. Graduates who can effectively communicate, collaborate, think critically, adapt to change, demonstrate emotional intelligence, exhibit leadership, foster creativity, and embrace ethical considerations will be well-equipped to thrive in the AI-powered workplace. While technical skills are undoubtedly important, it is the combination of soft skills and AI proficiency that will enable graduates to unlock their full potential, drive innovation, and make a lasting impact in their future careers. By mastering these soft skills, graduates can position themselves as indispensable contributors in the age of artificial intelligence.

So, get into the program, everyone.

Nurul Ashiqin Shamsuri, Global Advisory Board Member, World Communication Forum,
Davos Switzerland.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Malaya Post.

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