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Work In Progress

Work → In Progress: AI, The Pros And Cons Of Your New Sort-Of Colleague

Will it help you, control you ... or replace you?

Photo of computers

AI at work

Yannick Osselin-Champion and Bertrand Hauger

It seems like Artificial Intelligence is all we read about these days, with some newspapers even suggesting its rapid expansion poses “existential threats to humanity.” But even if we do have a lot of questions about AI, it also opens up opportunities to help human activity for the better – in particular in the world of work.

We’re hearing more about “future-proof careers,” which will survive the advent of AI. A recent report from consulting firm Challenger, Grey and Christmas found that AI was behind nearly 4,000 layoffs in the U.S. last month. That’s almost four times the impact of outsourcing – although cost-cutting still accounted for double the job losses.

Meanwhile, the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report 2023 brings positive news about jobs created by AI and technological advances in the next five years. There’s some nuance around this new tool – which, like any revolutionary invention, will have a lasting impact on many industries.

This edition of Work → In Progress explores the global effects of technology, and particularly AI, on workplaces today and in the near future.

​Job uncertainty and the AI revolution

A study by the World Economic Forum (WEF) found that AI will eliminate more jobs than it creates – and 44% of workers will be expected to retrain to continue their work. The WEF expects AI to create 69 million new jobs in fields related to sustainability, business and tech, while at the same time replacing 83 million existing jobs – a net loss of 14 million jobs. All together, the WEF told German daily Die Welt that a projected 152 million jobs will undergo changes in the next 5 years.

AI in the classroom

Earlier this year, Microsoft tycoon Bill Gates said that teachers could be replaced by AI. In the Colombian daily El Espectador, Julián de Zubiría Samper argues that AI can never replace the humanity and passion of real teachers – but AI can be used to improve the classroom by allowing teachers to automate less creative tasks and devote more of their time to their students.

Stat du Jour

A Belgian survey shows a decline in well-being as a result of in-person work, with mental health being the main cause of long-term absenteeism. After returning to in-person work, the study found that employees taking sick leave due to the burn-out increased from 18.5% in 2019 to 32.7% in 2022, reports Belgian newspaper Le Soir. Burnout is particularly likely when workers are confronted by “toxic corporate culture or bosses,” says Heidi Verlinden from the HR firm Securex, which carried out the survey.

Working from home is good for the environment

A French study by the Environment and Energy Management Agency (ADEME) and the Institute for Building Performance (IFPEB) found that 20 to 30 % less energy is used when companies close their offices for a day.

The study found negligible savings if some employees telework while others are in office. Employees' energy use increases by around 7% when they work from home – but this is more than offset by the lack of an energy-wasting commute.

Science shows that socializing is good for our brain

New studies suggest that telework may hamper our interpersonal connections, creativity and wellbeing, reports French daily Les Echos – but neuroscientists Marie Lacroix and Gaëtan de Lavilléon say that companies shouldn’t aim to bring everyone back into the office. Instead, they argue, companies should help staff create work groups that foster open communication, collaboration and trust.

Odd Job

He told us he’d be back! Hollywood-actor-turned-California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger just announced his (fake) new job as Netflix's “Chief Action Officer.” The former body builder celebrated the new “job” in a Netflix promotional video, which showed him crushing a car with his personal tank in front of the company's California headquarters. "No one loves action as much as I do," he said after getting out of his war machine, before proceeding to use a sword to slice a burrito, à la Conan.

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How Parenthood Reinvented My Sex Life — Confessions Of A Swinging Mom

Between breastfeeding, playdates, postpartum fatigue, birthday fatigues and the countless other aspects of mother- and fatherhood, a Cuban couple tries to find new ways to explore something that is often lost in the middle of the parenting storm: sex.

red tinted photo of feet on a bed

Parenting v. intimacy, a delicate balance

Silvana Heredia

HAVANA — It was Summer, 2015. Nine months later, our daughter would be born. It wasn't planned, but I was sure I wouldn't end my first pregnancy. I was 22 years old, had a degree, my dream job and my own house — something unthinkable at that age in Cuba — plus a three-year relationship, and the summer heat.

I remember those months as the most fun, crazy and experimental of my pre-motherhood life. It was the time of my first kiss with a girl, and our first threesome.

Every weekend, we went to the Cuban art factory and ended up at the CornerCafé until 7:00 a.m. That September morning, we were very drunk, and in that second-floor room of my house, it was unbearably hot. The sex was otherworldly. A few days later, the symptoms began.

She arrived when and how she wished. That's how rebellious she is.

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