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AI – Opportunity or Threat? How to adapt the education system and the labor market to the revolution related to the development of artificial intelligence?

On May 12 this year, the 5th edition of Our Future Forum took place at The Tides event center in Warsaw. The conference was attended by a record number of over one thousand two hundred participants. The event consisted of ten discussion panels, five masterclasses and three keynote speeches. The conference was a great platform for the exchange of contacts between the most talented Polish youth and world-class experts and leaders.

One of the discussion panels was led by Dr. Tomasz Rożek – Founder of the Science Foundation. I like it. The conversation was attended by: Professor Aleksandra Przegalińska – Vice-Rector at Kozminski University, Małgorzata Mika – Director of the European Social Fund Department – Ministry of Development Funds and Regional Policy and Magdalena Kasiewicz – Member of the Management Board of Microsoft Polska.

The debate was opened by Dr. Tomasz Rożek, who referred to the ongoing screenwriters’ strike in the United States against the use of artificial intelligence in the film industry. He noted that they protested every time a new technological revolution appeared on the horizon. He made a reservation, however, that with each technological revolution, screenwriters gained, they did not lose, because along with technological progress, the demand for their activities also grew. At the very end of his speech, he referred to the title topic of the discussion and asked the other panellists whether in their opinion artificial intelligence is an opportunity or a threat.

Professor Aleksandra Przegalińska pointed out that since the publication of the GPT chat, the subject of artificial intelligence has not left the headlines. She pointed out that there is no other technology that is as human-like as AI. “It should be remembered that artificial intelligence has not jumped out of the box and has been with us for many years, which is why it is so important to further develop it in a way that is beneficial for us” – appealed the professor.

Małgorzata Mika stated that it was impossible to find a clear answer to the question asked, because each technology is associated with different opportunities and threats. “Personally, I believe that this is a great opportunity for us and it will depend on us in what direction artificial intelligence will continue to develop” – said the Director of the Department of the European Social Fund – MFiPR.

Magdalena Kasiewicz agreed that AI is both an opportunity and a threat. Similarly to Aleksandra Przegalińska, she pointed out that artificial intelligence as a technology is nothing new. She said that she was worried about the catastrophic headlines about AI taking over the world, because by doing so, people are perpetuating a false image of artificial intelligence. “History shows that so far artificial intelligence has brought us more good in many areas, and given the problems we face as humanity, we should approach the development of this technology with an open mind” – summed up the Member of the Management Board of Microsoft Polska.

The second round of questions was opened by Tomasz Rożek, asking for advice for the young generation regarding the choice of future profession, bearing in mind the dynamic development of artificial intelligence. Aleksandra Przegalińska replied that no one can feel completely safe, and the fear related to the development of artificial intelligence is fully justified. Then, however, she added, “Artificial intelligence is not a threat, it is a challenge. It will change the way you do your job, whether you choose to study management or biochemistry.” She emphasized that if she is to predict the future, she is undoubtedly convinced that artificial intelligence will spread significantly and will be present in the lives of young people.

Małgorzata Mika began by drawing attention to the fact that, according to numerous research centres, 65% of people born after 2000 will work in professions that do not yet exist. She mentioned that in addition to the necessary IT skills, such as: programming, coding and data analysis, companies will be looking for people who have the so-called soft skills, i.e. creativity, the ability to cooperate in a group and assertiveness. “I recommend schools that already cooperate with employers, because then you have contact with what they will do in the future” – recommended the Director of the Department of the European Social Fund – MFiPR.

Magdalena Kasiewicz said that in life you sometimes have to go against the flow and choose unconventional solutions. She said that in her opinion it is better to develop in the exact or natural sciences, because these sciences are more universal than the humanities. Finally, she emphasized that, in her opinion, it will also be crucial to develop critical thinking skills.

Prof. Aleksandra Przegalińska noted that legal regulations are already being created, even at the level of the entire European Union, the best example of which is the “EU AI Act”. A moment later, she returned to the topic of the writers, saying that their protest is different from the Luddite strikes that destroyed machines in the early 19th century, because the writers do not want to completely abandon the use of the GPT Chat, but use it at their discretion, not according to top-down rules. “You have to answer the question of who is in charge here. Does technology regulate how people are to work, or can people decide for themselves how to use technology to work” – replied the professor.

Then, all the panellists gave the participants of the event some advice on how to find themselves in a world where artificial intelligence is developing so dynamically. Magdalena Kasiewicz encouraged young people to use artificial intelligence in a careful and sustainable way. Małgorzata Mika recommended pupils and students an open approach to new technologies and their skilful use. Aleksandra Przegalińska concluded that, above all, unjustified fears must not be allowed to deprive us of the benefits that we can achieve in connection with the development of artificial intelligence. Then she added that it is important to discuss topics related to AI and share your thoughts in this field.

At the end, the speakers answered a few questions from the audience, which concerned, among others, the threat of fear manipulation related to the emergence of AI and the prospects for people who will lose their jobs as a result of being replaced by artificial intelligence.

Source: Our Future Foundation report

Photo: Our Future Foundation

Maksymilian Mirecki
I am a journalist and editor in Coopernicus. I study law and international relations at University of Warsaw. I am also a host of the podcast "Maximum Dose of Knowledge".
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Maksymilian Mirecki

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