4.6 Updating Existing Qualifications
How the implementation and usage of the AI technologies change the existing qualifications and competencies of employees? What changes of qualifications and curricula are brought by these technologies?
Digitalization of the work processes requires to revise both the structure and contents of VET curriculum with preferences towards modularized and lean models of VET. Modularized curricula can adequately react to the dynamic technological changes by just in time and cost-effective implementation of needed competencies and units of qualification.
Application and development of the AI based technologies challenge the traditional boundaries of disciplines, knowledge and competence areas. For example, application of sensors and activators with networking of the cybernetic-physical systems (CPS) increases the productivity but in the same time requires interdisciplinary individual and collective competencies that integrate the knowledge and skills from the fields of machinery production, electronics and information-communication technologies (Gorldt, 2017). Such erosion of the disciplinary and occupational boundaries of competencies is also enhanced by such features of changing industrial production, as virtuality, individualization and high flexibility of production processes, integration of digital, virtual and real dimensions of production process, increasing transparency of the executed production processes (Gorldt, 2017).
The decentralized intelligence enhanced by the AI, as well as increased availability of process-related would strengthen the process orientation in occupational profiles and qualifications.
There are many visions and forecasts of the development of the new qualification profiles related to augmented worker or operator, where the vocational skills and competencies of skilled workers on shop-floor level are enriched with the different digital skills and competencies needed to execute the control of technological processes and to make decisions by interpreting the data. Here usage of AI becomes one of the central competencies helping to deal with abstract information and to gain a swift overview of the production process, as well as to manage the automated control of plant conditions, troubleshooting, assessing damage and analyzing causes.
Substitution of human work by automation concerns not only low-skilled, but also skilled and high-skilled work, in such fields, as planning and management, product development and administration, where the AI based technological solutions, such as cyber-physical systems (CPS) can be applied to execute these functions. It could lead to decrease of demand in competencies and qualifications in the industry and other sectors of economy. Some experts claim, that the development of Industry 4.0, especially the interplay between work automatization, informatization and digital taylorism tend to reduce the importance and need of middle level skills. Employees with the qualifications at all levels have to be prepared to deal with the real-time data of production processes and to react to the requirements of the process management and optimization. Skilled workers become more responsible executors, problem solvers and operators of production processes also taking responsibility for planning and project-based work.
Finally, AI and related technologies also change the existing processes of awarding of qualifications by enabling decentralization of these processes and reducing the role of humans and formal institutions in them. For example, usage of blockchain technologies in the assessment and recognition of competences and awarding of qualifications enhances de-institutionalisation and fragmentation of awarding of qualifications, individualization of information and data treatment in this field. Growing role of microcredentials is a good illustration of such trends.
AI related applications also favour spread of the “informal qualifications” recognized at the level of enterprise, informal training provider or other “informal” agents. It creates a lot of problems and challenges of comparability of qualifications and governance of the “traditional” and “virtual” systems of qualifications.
The following videos provide interesting insights about the implications of the AI for the curricula and qualifications: