Is the addition of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to the business world the largest paradigm shift since the integration of the personal computer? Professionals that entered the workforce before the 2000s can remember a time before Email and before the BlackBerry, the first technology to give continuous access to Email from a pocket device. Although we are seldom aware of it at the time, relationship to technology is often used to define generations. Millennials were the first generation to grow up with the internet. Digital natives were born with technology. Digital adapters had to learn the technology as it emerged. When we look back, will AI be a tectonic shift that defines a generation? In the future, will we look at the business world as pre and post-AI?
There is no doubt that the adoption of AI is creating new paradigms in business practices including every industry. Some AI stats published in MIT Sloan Management Review show that three-quarters of executives believe AI will enable their companies to move into new businesses and almost 85% believe AI will allow their companies to obtain or sustain a competitive advantage.
Traditionally, finance careers followed a traditional path. The investment industry recruited college graduates with majors in Finance, Economics, and Business Administration. A subsequent Masters of Business Administration is still the most common graduate degree in the finance industry. Is that changing? Current job postings for the largest investment firms in New York include the keywords machine-learning, AI, system engineering, and algorithms. Do data scientists need to understand the finance industry and do finance professionals need to understand AI?
Although a mix of expertise is valuable, professionals do not need to be experts in all fields. Pagaya Investments is a next-generation asset management firm founded on AI, but not all new hires are AI experts. Gal Krubiner, Pagaya’s CEO, says “Pagaya hires based on talent. We cultivate the natural talents of our team members. We will train AI experts on finance and train finance experts on AI.”
Going forward, recent college graduates will have the advantage of having AI integrated into their curriculum. In 2018, MIT announced The MIT Schwarzman College of Computing “to satisfy the high level of interest in majors that cross computer science with other disciplines, and in learning how machine learning and data science can be applied to a variety of fields.” Approximately 62 percent of highly-skilled workers that were surveyed by Accenture believe AI will create opportunities for their work. This tells us that workers view the adoption of AI in a positive light and are ready to adapt.
Adapting to new technology has always been required in the business world, and AI will be no different. Companies will have to prioritize training on AI to develop their current workforce.
In addition to training sponsored by their employer, professionals have the option to supplement with courses now offered by universities. Stanford University, Columbia University, and MIT offer short courses or certificates in AI.
All of us have had to adapt to new technology in the business sphere. In reality, many of us are a blend of both “digital natives” and “digital adapters”. Many professionals in the baby boomer generation have already successfully adapted through many waves of technology changes in the business world. As renowned researcher Max McKeown said, “All failure is failure to adapt, all success is successful adaptation.
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