Prepping the Labor Pool of the Future for AI

Jason Lomberg, North American Editor, PSD



Jason Lomberg, North American Editor, PSD

­Welcome to the May issue!

Hopefully, none of you suffered ocular damage when three celestial bodies aligned, some folks prophesized the apocalypse, and others just shrugged their shoulders.

Though given the higher-than-average education level of our readers, I’ll just assume most of you took proper precautions and didn’t sprout super powers or end up like Daredevil!

This month focuses on artificial intelligence, specifically “Powering AI,” and amongst all the recent developments, an especially intriguing story is a massive effort to upskill workers – mainly to stay level with all the changes wrought by AI.

On April 4th, nine companies – led by Cisco and including Google, IBM, Intel and Microsoft – formed the AI-Enabled Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Workforce Consortium, with the stated goal of evaluating "how AI is changing the jobs and skills workers need to be successful."

The consortium vowed to produce a report analyzing the impact of AI on 56 ICT job roles.

"These job roles include 80% of the top 45 ICT job titles garnering the highest volume of job postings for the period February 2023-2024 in the United States and five of the largest European countries by ICT workforce numbers,” claimed the consortium.

While every major tech company has been extolling the virtues of AI, one would hope they’d lean heavier on upskilling than “labor replacement” (i.e., AI-fostered layoffs).

Either way, most of the companies in the consortium already have lofty goals for cultivating the workforce of the future – like IBM’s pledge to ensure that 30 million people have advanced digital skills by 2030 (including 2 million in AI), with Intel advancing a similar goal.

Across the pond, Google is spending 25 million Euros (about $27 million USD) on AI training and skills for a broad swath of Europeans.

The World Economic Forum is more tepid – its “Future of Jobs Report” projects that automation will create 97 million new jobs, though that’ll come at the expense of 85 million displaced jobs.

LinkedIn's 2020 Emerging Jobs Report noted a 74% annual increase in AI-related job listings, including and especially machine learning engineers, data scientists and AI researchers. Incidentally, Forbes observes that AI could actually help reduce entrenched biases in the hiring (and career-advancement) process.

As per usual, this month’s issue contains a carefully-curated selection of articles on the topic du jour, including Vicor’s piece on generative AI, “Helping to Tame the Most Power-Intensive Computing Application on Earth.”

We’re all familiar with generative AI – tools pumping out images, videos, text, and data in response to specific prompts – and its potential, but it also “comes with staggering energy and greenhouse gas costs,” as Vicor points out.


Best Regards,

Jason Lomberg

North American Editor, PSD