The advent of new technologies has always been looked upon with suspicion by the incumbent workforce on their relevance and employability. It is true that many of these disruptions were accompanied by a transition period of temporary job loss but were soon followed by recovery and business transformation, adding to the efficiency, higher productivity, and savings in costs.
Historically, the fears have been put to rest each time with the emergence of higher-skilled jobs for the replaced workforce. However, each time, the arrival of new disruptive technologies are escorted with even bolder predictions indicating, ‘this time, it will be different.’
AI is also similarly feared and referred to as much as ‘an existential threat to civilization.’ The impact of AI and automation will indeed be much more profound and broader in scale than previous innovations, and so maybe the scale of complementing disruptions due to jobs replaced by AI. However, AI is poised to create more jobs than it replaces. See https://www.beyond.ai/news/artificial-intelligence-creates-more-jobs/
Automation has been a continuous process since the Industrial revolution 1.0 and has led to the replacement of low skill, menial, repetitive jobs with higher-skilled ones. In the past, such disruption due to automation may have been once in a lifetime event for the workforce, and they could be retrained, upskilled for other jobs. The same will not be as straightforward this time, as AI will continue to generate new opportunities and employment; however, it will demand us to continually upskill, learn, unlearn, relearn on the go and on our own.
In such a world, one needs to be a lifelong learner, and the most critical skill is being a self-learner and knowing how to learn. It may just be the crisis we need to address the long-pending overhaul of the education sector.