Jordan's AI Odyssey: Navigating the Future of Work in the Heart of the Middle East

29-08-2023 05:23 PM
Dr. Abdel Haleem Al Dabbas

In the land of Petra and the vast expanses of Wadi Rum, there’s an equally remarkable transformation afoot: the dawn of a new era in the world of work, steered by the rudder of Artificial Intelligence (AI). With its rich history and burgeoning tech community, Jordan finds itself at a crossroads. The progression of AI technology looms large on the horizon, casting shadows of both promise and perturbation. This article delves into AI's impacts, implications, and intricacies on employment in Jordan, framing a picture of tomorrow’s workplace.

1. The AI Boom in Jordan: A Brief Overview

Jordan’s keen interest in technology and innovation is not new. Home to a thriving community of start-ups and an ever-growing number of tech enthusiasts, the country has strategically positioned itself as a regional hub for digital innovation. Initiatives such as the Jordan Digital Transformation Strategy 2025 underscore its commitment. With AI, however, the stakes are even higher.

2. Job Displacement: The Immediate Threat

There’s no sugar-coating it: With AI’s penetration into various sectors, specific job profiles are at risk. Routine-based roles, including customer service and data entry positions, are among the first in the firing line. It is estimated that within the next decade:

•Up to 20% of the current job roles might face redundancy.
•Manual and repetitive tasks will see a 50% reduction.

The garment industry, an essential contributor to Jordan’s GDP, might also see transformations as AI-based automation offers more efficient production methods.

3. The Silver Lining: Job Creation and Evolution

However, to see AI solely as a job-eating monster would be myopic. The technology, while rendering some roles obsolete, is simultaneously crafting new career avenues:

•Emergence of New Sectors: AI-driven sectors like AI ethics, robotics, and AI software development are blooming.
•Evolving Job Roles: Existing sectors are witnessing a shift in job descriptions. For instance, financial advisors might become more reliant on AI tools for data analysis, focusing their roles more on client relationship management.

In essence, it’s not about job losses but job transitions.

4. AI in Education: Preparing the Next Generation

One of Jordan’s most significant moves has been to embed AI into its educational framework. Integrating AI modules at university levels and encouraging AI research is pivotal. These strategies don’t just prepare students for the future job market but also promote home-grown AI innovations.

5. The Social Contract: Challenges and Considerations

The reshaping of the job market by AI poses sociological and ethical challenges:
•Income Disparity: As high-paying AI-focused jobs become abundant, there’s a potential risk of widening the income gap.
•Mental Health: The anxiety of job loss or the stress of reskilling can have profound mental health implications.

Addressing these challenges is paramount to ensuring that the AI revolution remains inclusive.

6. The Gender Dynamic in AI
Interestingly, AI also presents an opportunity to address gender imbalances in the workplace. With more roles transitioning to remote formats and the emergence of new sectors, there’s potential for increased gender inclusivity in the workforce. However, this also calls for policies encouraging more women to venture into STEM fields and AI specialisations.

7. The Role of Government and Private Sector

Collaboration between the government and the private sector is crucial. While the government can facilitate by providing regulatory frameworks and incentives, the private sector’s role in training, R&D, and fostering AI-driven start-ups cannot be overstated.

8. The Cultural Perspective

With its amalgamation of Middle Eastern tradition and a penchant for modernity, Jordan will uniquely navigate the AI landscape. The cultural underpinnings, values, and socio-economic considerations will play an integral role in determining AI’s assimilation into the job market.

Conclusion: The Desert Rose Blooms Anew

The ripples of AI in Jordan’s employment sphere are undeniable. While technology ushers in challenges and presents an avenue for innovation, growth, and social evolution. Much like the ancient Nabateans who carved a flourishing civilisation in the desert, Jordan is poised to carve a niche in the vast realm of AI, redefining its future work landscape.

In the words of King Abdullah II of Jordan, “The future belongs to those who see the world in its full dimensions, an undivided sphere.” And in this dance with AI, Jordan seems ready to lead, adapt, and thrive.

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