Human skills wanted: pandemic reveals need for humanness in an age of technology
You can’t teach an old dog new tricks. Old habits die hard. A leopard never changes its spots. We’re pretty much set in our ways if we listen to the old adages, yet a recent report by the World Economic Forum revealed that 50% of all employees will need reskilling by 2025.
The Fourth Industrial Revolution, the adoption of smart technology in manufacturing and industrial sectors, has been held up as the biggest catalyst for change in recent years as companies adapt to new human/AI workforce structures. However, the Covid 19 pandemic, and it’s subsequent economic impact, not only is accelerating automation, but is also fast-tracking the need for new human skills.
Skills set show the need for human ingenuity
According to the WEF’s The Future of Jobs Report 2020, critical thinking and problem solving skills continue to take the top of the list of skills that will grow in prominence in the next five years. Yet 2020 has seen the emergence of new skills such as active learning, resilience, stress tolerance and flexibility.
Given the rise in technology, it’s interesting that the skills that have emerged this year are distinctly human.
It goes without saying that if Covid-19 has taught us anything, it’s resilience and flexibility. As a collective, the human race has found a way to adapt and continue in a way it has never done before. The effects of the pandemic have been an unmitigated stress for most people, a trauma for others. The ability to not only adjust our lives to accommodate this, but to also grow from the experience and emerge stronger with a new perspective, is something that a machine could never replicate. It’s awe-inspiring to reflect on and no wonder that these are the human skills that employers want in their employees’ toolkits.
How to develop human skills
When we look at how we can develop these critical human skills in the coming years, the understanding and acceptance of different perspectives will be paramount. It’s easier to be flexible when you understand that different schools of thought can lead to the same result. Resilience comes more naturally when you take time to understand your place in the bigger picture.
At Hunome, we combine perspectives to create a holistic view on multidimensional themes. People have the ability to access multiple views and experiences so that they can adapt their perspectives – fast-tracking active learning.
Active learning as a human skill is becoming more and more fundamental across a wide range of industries. Understanding the shift in context that a new piece of information provides, and assessing how this may help solve problems or make decisions, is something that humans have been doing in one form or another for millenia, and is also a methodology of machine learning. While AI is of course adept at processing information and creating desired outputs, the nuance that humans provide is unique and insightful and takes into consideration context that a machine cannot account for.
Human skills with AI
Yet, machine active learning and human active learning do not need to be mutually exclusive. Augmenting human insights with AI can improve the quality of the active learning process for better decision-making.
For example, a HR practitioner looking to implement an employee mental health support scheme might search for mental health and productivity on Hunome, and uncover a number of human perspectives on the topic that she can use to build her position. She can then explore the Insights to get further analysis around the subject to strengthen her position – resulting in a better informed initiative.
There’s no doubt that 2020 is the year of disruption, and that the impact this has had on the workforce, and the individuals among them, will require a new set of human skills as we emerge on the other side. And in a post-pandemic world, technology may continue to be the catalyst for change, but with human ingenuity leading technology use, we stand to come out stronger than ever before. Making sustainable, well received decisions, where our humanness is taken into consideration.