Industry leaders offer insights on AI's Impact on the future of work
At TechSparks 2023, Chandra Sekhar Garisa, CEO of Foundit, Madhurima Agarwal, Managing Director of Microsoft for Startups India, and Ankit Durga, Co-founder and CEO of Fundamento.ai, discussed the influence of AI on the employment landscape.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been a buzzword for quite some time now, and the debate about whether it will replace human jobs has intensified. Recent reports have projected that AI could potentially replace a staggering 300 million full-time jobs, leaving many individuals wondering about the future of work.
This pressing topic was at the forefront of a panel discussion titled ‘AI & The Future of Work’ at the 14th edition of TechSparks 2023 where Chandra Sekhar Garisa, CEO of Foundit; Madhurima Agarwal, Managing Director of Microsoft for Startups India; and Ankit Durga, Co-founder and CEO of, shared their insights.
AI's potential to transform jobs: A matter of when, not if
The main topic of discussion was the impact of AI on the job market. There have been longstanding debates about whether AI will take over jobs and while there is much uncertainty it is essential to acknowledge that AI and technology have consistently reshaped the job landscape.
Durga shared insights from the context of contact centres and emphasised that AI could take over certain roles sooner than expected. The rapid evolution of AI, combined with substantial investment, makes it more likely that automation will replace certain roles. He highlighted that AI's cost-effectiveness is a compelling factor that drives its adoption.
Agarwal added that AI can act as an amplifier for human skills, enabling employees to focus on more creative and satisfying tasks by automating repetitive and tedious jobs. She emphasised the importance of upskilling and reskilling to adapt to the changing job landscape
Garisa acknowledged that some jobs might cease to exist, some could undergo significant changes, and some new jobs could also be created. “The only fundamental truth I believe is people who know AI will replace people who don't know AI in jobs,” he stated.
Foundit was born out of the belief in the power of AI to shape the future of work. Monster, the renowned job search company, underwent a notable transformation a few months ago, rebranding itself as Foundit.
Garisa explained that the change wasn't directly fuelled by AI but by a visionary shift in the way they perceived the future of work and job platforms. The objective was to transition from a traditional job board to a dynamic talent platform, with AI at its core. This shift involved moving from a database-centric model to a data-driven one, managing vast datasets of 75 million candidate profiles and over half a million job postings.
Foundit aimed to go beyond being a mere platform of job discovery to one of the tangible outcomes, focusing on mass personalisation to guide users to the most suitable jobs or candidates.
The growing integration of AI in the Indian workforce
The conversation then shifted to the growing integration of AI within the Indian workforce. A LinkedIn report titled "The Future of Work: State of Work at AI" revealed a 43% increase in AI integration within the Indian workforce. This surge also led to a 14-fold rise in AI-skilled professionals from January 2016 to June 2023.
Durga pointed out that AI integration is currently task-based and not taking over entire job roles. He also listed down some of the challenges associated with AI adoption, including data security, accuracy, multilingual capabilities, latency, and pricing. The pricing of AI solutions at scale is still an evolving aspect that needs to be addressed.
“At Fundamento.ai, we prioritise providing our clients with visibility into the inner workings of AI models. Specialised datasets are being crafted for sectors like financial services and travel to refine the accuracy and effectiveness of Language Model Models (LLMs). LLMs, though powerful, often operate as enigmatic black boxes.
“This opacity makes it challenging to improve the quality of their responses. For enterprises, it's essential to ensure AI adoption spans from managerial levels to the broader workforce. To achieve this, we've partnered with IBM for on-premise deployments, ensuring low latency and multi-language capabilities,” he said.
Agarwal expressed her belief that AI adoption will continue as long as it provides value to individuals, businesses, and society. AI is a tool for improving productivity and job satisfaction. The constant innovation and adoption of AI will prevent any plateau in its growth.
“A lot of startups that I've met over the two days here (Techsparks Bengaluru) are thinking of using Gen AI in ways I personally would not have thought would be possible,” she said.
Agarwal shared examples of innovative AI applications, such as a startup that extracts video content and creates sub-videos relevant to user questions. Another startup demonstrated how it could generate a complete course outline for any topic within seconds. AI's ability to assist and accelerate training and education is evident in these applications.
Garisa shed light on the extensive use of AI in various sectors and emphasised that AI is no longer limited to tech giants; it has become accessible to individuals. The widespread access to AI algorithms has opened up opportunities for small businesses and startups to leverage AI in innovative ways.
He also touched upon the adoption of AI in both large enterprises and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), noting that AI has become an integral part of almost every business, and access to large language models (LLMs) is no longer cost-prohibitive. SMEs can also build use cases for AI, thanks to the accessibility of AI algorithms.
Microsoft for Startups Founders Hub and the role of AI
Agarwal also spoke about Microsoft for Startups Founders Hub, a global platform that provides startups at any stage, from ideation to Series C, with an array of valuable benefits from Microsoft Azure. This includes access to up to $150,000 in Cloud Credits, which can be used for Azure's cutting-edge AI services. Startups also gain access to complimentary licences for Microsoft's productivity tools along with mentorship, and can connect with Microsoft experts who assist in refining their products and achieving excellence.
The role of AI in employee training and enablement
The panel discussed the potential of AI in employee training and enablement.
Durga highlighted several use cases for AI, including content curation, real-time assistance, and virtual assistants. AI can significantly impact training by offering adaptive and personalised solutions that help employees learn more efficiently.
The session ended on a thoughtful note, addressing the fears and insecurities people may have about AI's role in the future. The panellists agreed that while AI will undoubtedly change the jobs landscape, the human touch and adaptability will always have value. AI's potential to enhance job roles and empower employees is vast, and the future of work can be positively impacted by embracing AI.
In conclusion, the integration of AI in the workforce is already under way, and its transformative potential is significant. The key to thriving in the age of AI is adaptability, a growth mindset, and the willingness to embrace AI as a tool for innovation and empowerment. As AI continues to advance, individuals and organisations that harness its capabilities will find themselves better equipped to thrive in the evolving world of work.