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Digital natives: Gen Z’s impact on AI, the workplace

It is anticipated that Generation Z’s proficiency with artificial intelligence will disrupt the way work is performed in every industry.
Johan Steyn
By Johan Steyn, Founder, AIforBusiness.net.
Johannesburg, 14 May 2024
Professor Johan Steyn, founder, AIforBusiness.net.
Professor Johan Steyn, founder, AIforBusiness.net.

Generation Z, defined as those born between 1995 and 2015, represents the current cohort of young individuals who have grown up in a globally connected world.

An inherent proficiency with digital technology constitutes one of the manifold distinctions that set this generation apart from previous cohorts. Generation Z is notably technologically adept in comparison to preceding generations due to the fact that they were raised during an era when smartphones and the internet were commonplace.

Generation Z has been significantly exposed to a wide range of digital platforms and technology since their early adolescence. A daily average of 10 hours is devoted to their examination of social media platforms, such as Snapchat, Instagram and YouTube.

Many of them devote up to 10 hours per day to online activities, which has a substantial effect on their daily actions. Early and extensive exposure to technology has shaped their expectations regarding its usage, particularly in professional and educational settings. Additionally, this exposure has endowed them with the necessary proficient skills to operate technology.

Generation Z is actively contributing to the development of an AI-powered society.

Generation Z is highly-dependent on artificial intelligence (AI) due to the significant impact it will have on their future professional and academic prospects.

In educational settings, AI is transitioning from being perceived as a supplementary aid to becoming an essential component of the learning environment. For instance, the notion of an "AI tutor" has experienced a surge in popularity over the past few years.

The implementation of this concept increases student engagement and learning efficiency by tailoring learning experiences and modifying instructional content to accommodate individual students' requirements.

Proficiency in AI is likewise evolving into a quality that employers seek more and more in prospective employees, given the technology's expansion into an expanding number of industries.

Professionally and personally, members of this generation are anticipated to possess exceptional proficiency with AI tools. One factor that is expected to set members of Generation Z apart in the job market is their adeptness at incorporating AI into their daily work procedures.

Altered educational approaches

Passive learning through lectures is the defining characteristic of the traditional educational paradigm. The desire of Generation Z students for hands-on and interactive experiences, however, is rapidly posing a challenge to this method.

Students are progressively drawn to learning environments that incorporate interactive applications, games and simulations powered by AI, as these configurations facilitate more engaging and fruitful educational experiences.

Incorporating AI into education is consistent with the career-focused approach to higher education held by Generation Z. Certain members of this cohort perceive higher education as a launching pad to prosperous professional lives, and some are actively pursuing programmes that will immediately prepare them for the workforce.

In support of this pragmatic approach to education, AI may assist students in skill development and generate individualised learning experiences. One can establish a causal connection between academic achievement and future employment opportunities by employing this approach.

Generation Z not only possesses an exceptional understanding of digital and AI technologies, but also imparts workplace expectations regarding the proper utilisation of such tools. It is anticipated that their proficiency with AI will disrupt the way work is performed in every industry.

Due to the fact that this generation is so accustomed to utilising technology, organisations are modifying their infrastructure and processes to incorporate AI and digital tools. This is what businesses do to maintain innovation and competitiveness.

Utilising AI has numerous benefits and drawbacks, including digital fatigue, privacy and data security concerns, and countless opportunities for innovation and efficiency.

In an AI-driven world, Generation Z is in a unique position to innovate and propel progress due to their innate digital consciousness, adaptability and capacity to navigate these challenges.

At the forefront of the AI era

The viewpoints and approaches of Generation Z individuals towards AI and other forms of technological progress constitute a paradigm change. The distinct proficiencies that they have acquired due to their upbringing in a digital milieu are revolutionising the academic sphere and labour market.

Generation Z is actively contributing to the development of an AI-powered society, augmenting its functionalities, and establishing novel benchmarks for the integration of technology into routine activities.

This is owing to the fact they are authentic digital natives, as opposed to merely adjusting to the technology. It not only transforms them, but also imparts knowledge to subsequent generations regarding the potential societal ramifications of technology's imminent evolution within the realm of AI.

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