ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE IS HERE

Artificial Intelligence Changes Employment

We have been hearing a lot about Artificial Intelligence over the past several years. Some experts predict that AI will eliminate half of all jobs that require humans. Yet, others say that we have nothing to fear, because AI may rid many jobs, but it will also create new employment opportunities.

According to a new Brookings Institution report, robots aren’t replacing everyone, but a quarter of U.S. jobs will be severely disrupted as artificial intelligence accelerates the automation of existing work. According to the report, roughly 36 million Americans hold jobs with “high exposure” to automation, meaning at least 70 percent of their tasks could soon be performed by machines using current technology.

Jobs Most Likely Affected By AI

Among those most likely to be affected are cashiers, cooks, food servers and others in food services; short-haul truck drivers; and clerical office workers. Also affected are those employed in the hospitality industry (hotel), warehouse and industrial jobs.

There is a common feature shared by the jobs most likely to be automated: they perform A-to-B functional tasks. Given a specific input, they will produce a specific output. Entering payables into a system can be predicted and automated, as can employee scheduling or ringing up items in a store.

Even driving a trailer across the country is just a long decision tree based on a map given to the automated vehicle ahead of time. This is the strength of artificial intelligence and automation in general. It eliminates the need for human beings to perform routine, predictable tasks. This also gives us a very big signal as to which jobs are most resistant to automation going forward.

How AI Can Bring Job Opportunities

The artificial intelligence market is expected to be worth $59.75 billion by 2025. If fulfilled, this prediction means ample growth for the market which was valued at less than $1.38 billion in 2016.

Growth in the AI market has positive implications for the technology industry as a whole, heralding an era of job creation and an influx into the global economy.

Much has been made of the impact AI will have on the economy. In particular, many have predicted that AI will lead to the elimination of hundreds of thousands of jobs. But while automation and efficiency achieved through AI will surely lead to changes in the kind of jobs available to the public, this technology is actually predicted to inspire job growth.

Tech companies are already creating jobs
As the numbers of machines and AI devices increases, the need for people to operate and maintain this technology will also increase.

Look at Uber as an example. Uber began as a ride-hailing service, offering thousands of job opportunities to drivers in countries around the globe. When Uber launched its driverless-car program, many feared the program would lead to independent drivers being phased about. While ultimately the need for drivers could be eliminated, this is still a long way off.

Meanwhile, Uber’s driverless car program has actually created thousands more jobs. Certainly Uber has hired coders and other tech experts to build it’s AI-backed programming, but the company has also hired vehicle operators, many of whom have little tech knowledge, to man it’s driverless cars during the testing phase.

This is just one example of how AI is actually creating jobs. Ultimately for decades to come, humans will be needed to run AI, from development and testing, to support, maintenance, and programming.

The days when AI machines will be able to run on their own are a long way off.

AI Will Create More Than It Destroys

While there are other examples like Uber, AI job creation is being studied on a broader level to determine the actual impact it will have and is having on the economy. From this research, experts are predicting that out of all the new jobs created by AI, two thirds will be for people and only one third will be filled by machines.

A new report from PwC echoes the belief that AI will not destroy more jobs than it creates. Researchers at the firm analysed 200,000 jobs in 29 countries to discover the economic benefits and potential challenges posed by automation. Overall, the report found that while 7 million existing jobs are projected to be displaced, an estimated 7.2 million are projected to be created, leading to approximate job growth of 200,000.

The New Workforce

The field of AI is still in its infancy, meaning there are still few individuals with the necessary education and knowledge to adequately fulfill jobs in this industry. Estimates about the number of qualified individuals in the field vary.

Technology solutions provider Element AI put the total global population of AI talent at 22,000. But according to the company’s report, only 14% of these individuals are actually looking for work at a given time.

Conversely, Tencent, a Chinese multinational investment holding conglomerate, estimates the number of qualified candidates is between 200,000 and 300,000 people globally.

True, while AI will lead to the elimination of some jobs, it will also see the creation of thousands of jobs in sectors not yet conceived.

In order to ensure this growth has a positive impact on the economy, people must make sure they’re prepared for the jobs of the future.
Most jobs will change somewhat as machines take over routine tasks, but a majority of U.S. workers will be able to adapt to that shift without being displaced.

Final Thoughts

With the increased use of artificial intelligence in all facets of life, the future can feel bewildering. With a proper understanding of where we’re heading, anyone who feels threatened by the coming change can adequately prepare themselves to make the necessary jump to a more secure position when the time comes and those already primed to take advantage of the growth of artificial intelligence can take full advantage of it once it arrives—and it will arrive, that much is certain.

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