News & Events | 01 Nov, 2023

Digital Futures of Work Global Conference, 1-3 November 2023


A global team of 20 social scientists studying artificial intelligence (AI) activities across key digital hubs around the world over a four-year period spanning 2019 to 2023 unveil findings that the direction of AI innovation in corporate activities is to automate and unbundle professional work, putting the very type of work that has been powering social mobility for decades at significant risk. Public and private sectors, along with individuals, must collaborate, to ensure the AI revolution is sustainable and benefits all, necessitating human-centric digital strategies, job redesign and upskilling for at all levels of work.

The findings challenge conventional assumptions about AI technologies replacing less-skilled routine work to ‘free up’ people to do more high-skilled work in better-paid jobs. Rather than less skilled jobs disappearing, top-end professional jobs that involve decision-making, data analysis, and creative problem-solving are seeing more significant changes.

Dialogue at the conference, highlighted that human-centric outcomes are possible. Technologists especially agree that human-centric strategies exist to use AI technologies to elevate lower and middle-skilled jobs to unlock greater value.

250 local and international attendees were at the physical conference, with over 300 more who joined virtually.

“There is wide anticipation of the dramatic changes that AI technologies will bring to industries, jobs and occupations. It is not just technical possibilities that should interest us. Equally important is the profound societal transformations that will accompany AI innovation that must be on the radar of leaders in society.” – Professor Tan Tai Yong, President, Singapore University of Social Sciences.

Chief Executive of SkillsFuture Singapore, and Council Chairman of the Institute for Adult Learning, Singapore University of Social Sciences, Mr Tan Kok Yam highlighted that we “need a global dialogue and exchange of views, not just cross-national but also cross-disciplinary and cross industry.” Mr Tan reiterated the three objectives of lifelong learning set out by President Tharman Shanmugaratnam, that is to “deal with continuous change in technology, to enable meaningful working life…and to build a culture where we advance together as a society”. Mr Tan affirmed that as the conference speaks about “AI and its impact on jobs, all three objectives are at play. We need a breadth of perspectives – technologists, educator, employer-employee, unionist, researcher practitioner to come together to do the subject justice.”

Visit the conference website for more information on the conference. 

View conference materials here.