A New Dawn: The Transformational Impact of AI in the Jordanian Workplace and the Urgent Need for Strategic Response

06-08-2023 02:56 PM
Dr. Abdel Haleem Al Dabbas

Since the dawning of the Industrial Age, technology has been at the forefront of economic growth and workplace evolution. Today, a new technological revolution is reshaping the global economy – Artificial Intelligence (AI).

A paramount beacon of this revolution, AI's growth and integration have significant implications for economies worldwide, and Jordan is no exception. With its burgeoning technology sector and robust human capital, Jordan is poised to integrate AI successfully into its workplaces, provided there's strategic planning and investment in upskilling. Here, we delve into the far-reaching impact of AI on the Jordanian workplace and present crucial recommendations for the government to navigate this transformation effectively.

As we look into the future of AI in Jordan, the potential for economic enhancement is immense. McKinsey Global Institute estimates that AI and automation technologies could add approximately $15 trillion to the global economy by 2030. This seismic shift will significantly redefinition of work processes, increase productivity, and enhance competitiveness. However, these benefits come with challenges, particularly the potential for job displacement and the need for substantial skills transition.

The most significant impact AI will likely have in the Jordanian workplace is an extensive reconfiguration of jobs. Job displacement could be substantial in specific sectors primarily characterised by routine-based tasks such as manufacturing and customer service. Deloitte estimates that up to 47% of jobs could be at risk of automation. The risk of social disruption this represents must be addressed.

However, the adoption of AI is different from job destruction. There will be a shift in the types of roles available and the skills required. Jobs involving creativity, complex decision-making, and high-level human interaction will be in greater demand, while routine, repetitive tasks will be automated. As Jordanian companies integrate AI into their operations, there will be a rising demand for AI specialists, data analysts, robotics experts, and other professionals with high-level digital skills.

Simultaneously, AI will empower Jordanian businesses to extend their horizons. With the proper infrastructure, local businesses can leverage AI to tap into new markets, offer innovative solutions, and gain a competitive edge in the global economy. AI will enable better decision-making, improve efficiency, and increase customer engagement, providing Jordanian businesses with a robust platform for growth and international expansion.

Despite the many positives, the evolution won't be without its challenges. One of Jordan's most significant hurdles is the 'skills gap'. According to the World Economic Forum, 54% of all employees will require substantial reskilling by 2022, a figure expected to grow as AI becomes more dominant. There is an acute need for comprehensive upskilling and reskilling initiatives to provide the Jordanian workforce with the necessary capabilities for the AI-driven future.

The government's role in managing this transition must be balanced. Policymakers must act proactively and decisively to leverage AI's benefits and mitigate its challenges. The following recommendations provide a roadmap for the government of Jordan to chart a successful path through this transformative era.

Invest in Education and Skills Development: To meet future employment needs, Jordan's education system needs a revolutionary transformation towards science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines, critical thinking, and creativity. The government should incentivise businesses to sponsor upskilling their staff and consider integrating AI and digital skills into the national curriculum.

Promote Research and Development: The government should promote AI research and development through policies and funding. This could involve fostering partnerships between academia and industry to encourage innovative solutions and create an environment conducive to AI experimentation and adoption.

Strengthen Digital Infrastructure: To support AI adoption, robust digital infrastructure is essential. This involves ensuring reliable, high-speed internet across the country, data protection regulations that encourage the growth of AI, and digital access for all.

Support SMEs and Start-ups: Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and start-ups are often the drivers of innovation. The government should provide them with the necessary financial and regulatory support to adopt AI and drive the country's digital transformation.

Establish a Framework for Ethical AI: As AI becomes more dominant, ethical considerations must be at the forefront. The government should establish a regulatory framework that ensures transparency, accountability, and fairness in AI use.

The future of AI in Jordan is a narrative that still needs to be entirely written. It has the potential to revolutionise the workplace, enhance economic growth, and redefine the employment landscape. However, grasping these opportunities requires the government's proactive, strategic, and inclusive approach. By embracing these recommendations, Jordan can navigate the complexities of the AI revolution and secure a prosperous future for its workforce and economy.

Integrating AI into the Jordanian workplace marks a significant milestone in the country's journey towards a technology-driven economy. In this new era, Jordan has the prospect of being a leading light, revealing the positive impacts of AI adoption and the practical navigation of its challenges. The future of work is changing, and the time for Jordan to embrace it is now.

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