AI may not replace you, but someone who uses it can — here’s the No. 1 skill you need to stay relevant

 Today's leaders recognize the strategic advantage of harnessing artificial intelligence to maintain competitiveness and relevancy in their industries. Laurence Liew, AI Singapore's Director for AI Innovation, emphasized during a discussion at Salesforce’s World Tour Essentials event in Singapore that individuals will be outpaced not by AI itself, but by those who adeptly utilize AI technologies.

Despite the anxiety among 45% of professionals over AI replacing their jobs, a greater concern among 55% of business leaders lies with the scarcity of talent proficient in AI, as highlighted by the 2024 Microsoft Work Trends Index. In fact, 71% of these leaders prefer to hire less experienced candidates with AI capabilities over more seasoned professionals lacking these skills.

Since the introduction of OpenAI’s ChatGPT in November 2022, there has been significant buzz about AI, but many large corporations have been slow in adopting these technologies and upskilling their workforce. There exists a disparity between the perceived necessities and practical possibilities within the modern workplace. Although 79% of executives agree that their companies must integrate AI to remain competitive, the urgency for quick ROI has decelerated this transition, according to Microsoft’s findings.

Employees globally are taking the initiative to independently develop their AI skills, which could grant them an edge but also introduce certain risks. The main challenge with self-directed AI learning is the lack of knowledge on how to engage with AI tools both safely and effectively. Experts caution against the use of free online AI resources like ChatGPT and other LLM-based tools, which often involve exchanging personal or corporate data for usage, presenting potential risks.

Laurence Liew recommends that the essential AI skill everyone should develop is the ability to communicate effectively with current AI-powered LLMs, such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT, Microsoft’s Copilot, and Google’s Gemini. He compares interacting with an AI to instructing a diligent intern, emphasizing the importance of providing detailed contexts and guidance to avoid errors.

Practicing with these AI applications is the best approach to learning at home, according to Liew. By presenting more detailed prompts to the LLMs, you can better guide them to produce the outcomes you seek. While familiarity with the professional domain is crucial, AI can handle the repetitive tasks of processing extensive data, allowing professionals to focus on more impactful work. Familiarity with AI tools is set to become as commonplace as using traditional software tools like spell-checkers in Microsoft Word by next year, as per Liew's predictions.  

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