Session moderator, Ms Moira de Roche Holmes (Chair, International Federation for Information Processing (IFIP) International Professional Practice Partnership (IP3)), introduced the panel and the IP3 as a global partnership that aims to strengthen the ICT profession globally by advising standards. De Roche Holmes also mentioned their campaign the Trust and the Duty of Care in Digital.
Mr Stephen Ibaraki (Vice Chair Strategic Engagements, IFIP IP3) talked about life and enterprise in the Industry 4.0 to Society 5.0 initiative and the fifth machine age. He focused on investment, the landscape, disruptive technologies and their economic opportunities, and artificial intelligence (AI) in particular. According to Ibaraki, we are in the fifth machine age with almost more than a trillion devices in use. The World Economic Forum in 2018 released a list of jobs in the financial and health sectors that will incorporate more AI. Ibaraki stressed that while many jobs will be lost, new research show an even bigger job gain. The reason behind this are new jobs like innovation professionals, new technology specialists, and user experience managers. Top skills for 2022 include creativity, analytical thinking, active learning, social influence and emotional intelligence. Memory, reading, writing, and math are predicted to be the least relevant. This shift is already big in the business sphere, he noted. Ibaraki predicts that AI will contribute to the sustainable development goals (SDGs) and that soon more than 40 countries will have AI strategies as it continues to disrupt economies.
As the remote speaker Mr Anthony Wong (Deputy Chair, IFIP IP3; Director, AGW Lawyers & Consultants) was not present to speak, de Roche Holmes explained the main points from his presentation on cybersecurity as a multidisciplinary approach. De Roche Holmes affirmed Ibaraki’s point that new technologies will create new jobs, but added that reskilling the population is crucial in order to prevent aggravating the digital divide. AI in recruitment was mentioned as beneficial as it will reduce bias, but it needs human oversight. ‘We have to skill people so that they can do better jobs’, she added. Soft skills such as imagination, problem solving, and collaboration, will become more relevant, and AI is still far off from this.
Ms Austeja Trinkunaite (Secretary General, Council of European Professional Informatics Societies (CEPIS)) spoke of European initiatives regarding information technologies (IT) professionalism and their frameworks. According to Eurostat data, employment of IT professionals has been ten times higher than in other sectors in Europe. However, the gap between the growth potential of IT workplaces and the lack of skilled experts remains worrying, since we see more reports on companies going bankrupt due to cyber-attacks. IT professionals are necessary and should have qualified knowledge and professional ethical standards. The European competence framework was created to serve as the common language of different stakeholders for defining IT competences and works together with national standard bodies and other stakeholders.
Continuing along the same lines, Ms Liesbeth Ruoff van Welzen (Director, IFIP IP3) talked about the European e-Competence Framework (e-CF) as a bridge between demand and supply. Many new technologies are growing every day and the demand for IT professionals is growing, but the new force of IT experts need to be supplied. By 2022, 60% of the global gross domestic product (GDP) will be digitised, but 75% of all IT spending will go to platforms. We need people to operate these platforms securely, she stressed. The new e-CF 2019 will aim to include three new competences and keep three old competences. It is also important for it to include notions of security, quality, accessibility, ethics, usability, sustainability, and ICT legal issues for IT professionals. ‘Now we want to link the technology and the process with people’, Ruoff van Welzen affirmed.
In the concluding remarks, Mr Mike Hinchey (President, IFIP) reminded that we are still far from achieving singularity and that ethics are really important as we move along. ‘Out of 3000 startup companies that claim to be AI companies, only 40% of them had any sort of AI in their products’, Hinchey said. We have to be careful not to overemphasise how much AI we are using, and not sell automation as AI.
By Jana Misic