A CENTENNIAL COLLEGE SUCCESS STORY
MILLENNIALS CONSIDER ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE AND THEIR FUTURE EMPLOYMENT
By MARY DAVIDSON
“Where do you see yourself in the next 10 years?”
Many people in my generation simply can’t form an answer to this question. Faced with accelerating changes to the working world, millennials will be likely in their prime working years as artificial intelligence begins to impact the labour market.
Changes are coming and we should talk about it.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is defined as the simulation of human intelligence processes by computers. AI and machine learning have emerged from the embryotic research stage; AI is already responsible for signature and face recognition software, online assistants, warehouse robots and self-driving vehicles.
Experts at the Institute for the Future predict that 85 per cent of the jobs that will exist 10 years from now haven’t been invented yet. Their report suggests that full-time work will continue to decline, and that the skills required by employers will change at a faster rate.
To me, a young millennial, these predictions are not a surprise. They are a deep concern.
A group of five Centennial College public relations students – Simi Ikotun, Mohammad Raza, Josh Casey, Arushu Malik and myself – partnered with CivicAction, a non-profit organization that creates collective action on big urban issues, to survey millennials and find out how they feel about the future of work. We found that young people are aware of the coming changes, but are optimistic about their personal prospects.
Eighty-five per cent of millennials believe that artificial intelligence will threaten the labour market within the next 10 years, and 25 per cent believe it’s an issue now. Despite this concern, few millennials think that these changes will impact them personally, with only 26 per cent believing that their jobs are likely to be replaced by machines.
Millennials are also the most optimistic generation when it comes to the future of work, with 37 per cent believing that a reduction in stable, full-time work will be a positive thing. This compares with 28 per cent of people aged 35-54 and 21 per cent of people aged 55 or older.
The discrepancy suggests that there’s room for conversation, particularly about what we can do to prepare for these seismic changes. Around 60 per cent of millennials believe that corporations and post-secondary institutions are taking steps to prepare for the future of work, but only 38 per cent are confident that governments are doing likewise.
While young people are surely glad the federal government just freed up some money for skills training in the recent budget, there’s a real opportunity for institutions to work together and collectively prepare for what will surely impact us all.
Through an informal dinner-and-discussion outreach campaign called “CivicDish,” CivicAction is seeking residents’ ideas for how we can better prepare for the future of work, address the affordable housing crisis and ensure our leadership reflects the diversity of our population.
With such major changes on the horizon, it’s important for young people to be engaged and contribute their voices to civic discussion.
You can check out what millennials on the street had to say at: https://youtu.be/ZNOnG_TP-eY or sign up to host a CivicDish event at https://www.civicaction.ca/civicdish/
• Mary Davidson is a Public Relations & Corporate Communications student at Centennial College and a member of the Generation Uncertain survey team.