• Sat. May 18th, 2024

AI Won’t Replace Humans in Asia’s Workforce: Expert Insights

ByNishat Manzar

May 2, 2024

In the rapidly evolving landscape of technology, artificial intelligence (AI) has emerged as a disruptive force, igniting debates and concerns about its potential impact on the workforce. As businesses across the globe embrace AI solutions to streamline operations and enhance efficiency, fears of job displacement have become widespread. However, according to Debarati Guha, Director of Programs for Asia at Deutsche Welle (DW), the threat of AI replacing humans from the workforce in Asia is not as imminent as many might think.

Guha, a seasoned journalist with extensive experience in covering political and cultural events across South Asia, offers a nuanced perspective on the interplay between AI and human labor in the region. Through her insightful interview with StartupTalky, she sheds light on the unique challenges and opportunities that Asia presents in the age of AI, underscoring the enduring value of human ingenuity and adaptability.

AI Won’t Replace Humans in Asia’s :The Enduring Legacy of Print Media in Asia

One of the key areas where Guha challenges the notion of AI’s dominance is in the realm of print media. While digitization has undoubtedly disrupted traditional media landscapes worldwide, she believes that the culture of magazines and newspapers will persist in Asia, at least in the foreseeable future.

Drawing from her Indian roots, Guha points out that despite the country’s rapid modernization efforts, there are still vast swaths of the population that lack access to basic amenities like electricity, clean water, and infrastructure. In this context, the morning ritual of reading a newspaper or magazine remains deeply ingrained in the cultural fabric of many Asian societies.

“Even now, people who live in this nation would like to have a newspaper as soon as they wake up in the morning,” Guha notes. “It is not until they have finished reading a certain magazine or newspaper that they feel as though their day has been completed.”

This cultural attachment to print media, coupled with the logistical challenges of reaching remote areas with digital alternatives, suggests that the traditional publishing industry in Asia will continue to thrive alongside its digital counterparts, at least for the foreseeable future.

AI Won’t Replace Humans in Asia’s : The Need for Sustainable Business Practices

As businesses grapple with the implications of AI and other emerging technologies, Guha emphasizes the importance of adopting sustainable practices that not only benefit the company but also contribute positively to society and the environment.

“Sustainability in business means making decisions that are beneficial to the company while also having a positive influence on society and the environment,” she explains. “An all-encompassing strategy in which businesses conduct their operations in a manner that ensures the long-term ecological balance and social well-being of the community.”

Guha’s perspective aligns with a growing body of research that highlights the tangible benefits of sustainable business practices. Studies have shown that companies embracing sustainability can experience a 16% improvement in staff productivity and a 19% increase in organizational efficiency.

In the context of AI adoption, sustainability requires a holistic approach that considers the broader societal and environmental impacts. While AI may automate certain tasks and processes, it also creates new opportunities for human employment in areas that require critical thinking, creativity, and emotional intelligence – skills that remain distinctly human.

The Evolving Role of Journalism in the AI Age

As a veteran journalist, Guha offers valuable insights into the evolving role of her profession in the age of AI. While AI-powered tools and algorithms have the potential to automate certain aspects of news gathering and reporting, she believes that human journalists will continue to play a crucial role in investigative storytelling, feature writing, and providing nuanced perspectives.

“If a journalist’s job gets taken over by AI, he can still write investigative stories or feature articles,” Guha suggests, highlighting the inherent value of human expertise and critical thinking in journalism.

Moreover, Guha underscores the importance of accessibility and localized perspectives in journalism, particularly in the Asian context. As the Director of Programs for Asia at DW, she emphasizes the need for regional media houses to collaborate and share insights, providing a unique “German-Asian angle” on global events.

“Regional media houses have access to a greater depth of particular news and information than we do,” Guha explains. “Because of this, we are attempting to connect these developments in the Asian domain by giving it a German-Asian angle.”

This collaborative approach not only enriches the journalistic discourse but also ensures that the nuances and perspectives of diverse cultures and regions are accurately represented, a task that AI alone may struggle to accomplish.

No Shortcuts to Success

Throughout her illustrious career, Guha has had the privilege of interviewing influential figures such as Sheikh Hasina of Bangladesh, Shashi Tharoor of India, and Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen. These rich experiences have shaped her understanding of the challenges and rewards that come with pursuing a career in journalism.

Drawing from her interactions with visionaries and thought leaders, Guha emphasizes that there are no shortcuts to success in the field of journalism or any other profession. She cautions aspiring journalists against being disheartened by naysayers who might attempt to diminish the value of their chosen career path.

“My message to the young people who are just starting out in the journalism field is that there are no shortcuts to success,” Guha states. “People will try to cast you in a negative light by saying things like ‘AI will take over,’ ‘this trade will die soon,’ and ‘this is not the good career option,’ but in the end, it’s up to you to determine which side you want to take.”

She encourages young professionals to embrace hard work, remain vigilant, and maintain an openness to learning and adapting to the ever-changing landscape of their industry.

Conclusion

While AI’s impact on the workforce is undeniable, Debarati Guha’s insights remind us that human ingenuity, cultural nuances, and sustainable practices will continue to play a vital role in shaping the future of work in Asia. By acknowledging the enduring value of human labor, embracing sustainable business practices, and fostering collaboration between technology and human expertise, Asia can navigate the AI revolution while preserving its rich cultural heritage and unique regional perspectives.

As businesses and governments grapple with the challenges and opportunities presented by AI, Guha’s thoughtful analysis serves as a reminder that the path forward lies not in pitting humans against machines but in finding a harmonious balance that leverages the strengths of both. By doing so, Asia can harness the power of AI while ensuring that its diverse workforce remains a driving force in shaping a prosperous and inclusive future.