AI: Embrace innovation for productivity, global growth

By Francis Kajubi , The Guardian
Published at 07:17 PM Jun 21 2024
An illustration for generative AI.

IN both public and private sectors, employees are being encouraged to view generative artificial intelligence (AI) as a tool to boost efficiency, foster networking, and unlock new business possibilities, rather than as a threat to human jobs.

Patrobas Katambi, Deputy Minister of State, Labour, Youth, Employment and Persons with Disability, shared the narrative yesterday in Dar es Salaam when he graced the 65th Association of Tanzania Employers (ATE) annual general meeting which entailed the topic ‘Artificial Intelligence and Future of Work Exploring Tanzania’s Readiness.’

Katambi said that the government perceives AI as an opportunity for people to widen the scope of the businesses, talent, innovation, up-scaling digital skills that boost ordinary productivity capacity by individuals and enterprises.

“Generative AI creates information according to what is fed by human beings. Robots can perform certain tasks but not complete job packages or duties. Misinformation is dragging some of the employees into unnecessary fear,” said Katambi.

According to him, AI is a remedy to donkey jobs but not of professionalism and those requiring reasoning and changing places.

“Things that we should take into consideration is how knowledgeable and skillful today's graduates are in the wake of AI. We are aware that application of AI among students of all levels is taking a shape as a helping tool for doing assignments,” said Katambi.

Suzanne Ndomba-Doran, ATE Chief Executive Officer said that the inception of ChatGPT marks technology advancement in the public exposure to AI tools.

She said the new wave of technological transformation calls for the public and the private sectors to set up reskilling and upskilling programmes by employers for employees.

“Personal data protection is a likely threat as AI takes shape globally. However, mental health related issues are likely to affect people who are worried to be left behind,” said Doran.

Hery Mkunda, Secretary General Trade Union Congress of Tanzania (TUCTA) said that within the current initial stages of AI taking shape in Tanzania, employers should invest in empowering their employees to gain digital skills for timely task handling efficiency and reasonable productivity.

The Judge of the High Court of Tanzania Labour Division, Dr. Yose Mlyambina, said that AI is still a work in progress in the country's judicial system.

He said in embracing technology the judiciary has developed ten ICT systems including the e-Case Management system.

“Generative AI through automatic transcription is going to reduce the judges’ and magistrates' burden of working with papers. Their relief is embedded in listening and making judgments,” said Dr Mlyambina.

Caroline Mugalla, ILO Country Director was of the view that the future of work is being threatened by globalization, digitalization and AI alongside climate change.

She asserted that there is a risk of deteriorating working conditions and inequality at the workplace. Policies should address setbacks that come with AI in the employment sector.

“We need to prioritize social protection for affected workers in the wake of technological advancements and address gender aspects particularly on women employment opportunities,” she said.

The International Labour Organization’s (ILO) study 2023 dubbed ‘Generative AI and Jobs: A global analysis of potential effects on job quantity and quality’, suggests that Generative AI is more likely to enhance jobs by automating specific tasks rather than replacing entire roles.