How AI is Affecting Your Job Safety

October 19, 2017 - 8 minutes read

AI Robot Zombies

Image Source: imgix

There has been a lot of anti-AI speak doing the rounds. We’ve heard the dire warnings issued from Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking about the end of days brought on by the rise of artificial intelligence. If the AI naysayers are to believed, we will all soon be out of a job as we get passed over for our more evolved AI colleagues.

But we might all need to take a collective breath, put down our William Gibson Sci-fi novel, switch off the re-run of “I, Robot” and turn down our imaginations from flights of fancy to a reality check. Science Fiction writers like Daniel. H. Wilson, Harlan Ellison, and Iain M. Banks have been predicting the AI “robocalypse” for decades. Artificial intelligence movies have been feeding us a narrative about being controlled by robots for ages, and we have internalized the stories as probable.

Before we descend too far down the rabbit hole – let’s debunk some of those AI popular culture fueled myths that are keeping you from a good night’s sleep.

CORE MESSAGE OF THIS BLOG: AI is, in fact, creating more jobs and new job opportunities!

Say Goodbye to Doing Repetitive Tasks

AI is taking the tedious out of your workload and frees up more hours in your day to maximize productivity. Is AI going to impact the way our workplace functions? Hell yes! It is in our best interest to have AI augment the human workforce so our jobs can be more fulfilling and less bogged down by inputting manual data or answering the same questions via call centers 300 times a day, for example.

A recent Gartner report predicts that by 2022 smart machines will take over routine tasks some of which are currently conducted by trained professionals in IT, law and medicine. Our entire idea of what constitutes mundane activities is going to change as we will no longer be required to fulfill them.

The Human/AI Hybrid

Artificial Intelligence and Humans

Image Source: Pixabay

The future appears to favor a cost-effective, symbiotic work environment where humans and machine learning AI work together for the growth of a company. AI hasn’t suddenly arrived in 2017. We have been using automation, machine learning and AI in various forms for ages. We have been using technology to make our lives easier.

New Jobs That Have Never Existed Before

Do you remember when we only had a land line to communicate with our customers? AI is set to disrupt many areas of the workplace and in the process will create a vast amount of new jobs that didn’t exist before. Just think of the job creation that has sprung up around the smartphone industry – iPhone app developers, digital marketing experts for mobile, cracked screen repair people-you name it.

Every birth of a revolutionary technology automatically opens up job opportunities that will “manage” the innovation. A survey conducted by Capgemini researchers discovered that of the 1,000 organizations that had incorporated AI-based systems, four out of five of them increased their job creation numbers.

Upgrading Your Skill Set

However, thanks to AI, many employees are going to need to be re-skilled to meet the needs of the new job descriptions coming up in the job market. The job board, Indeed.com, recently reported that they had seen a five-fold increase in AI jobs advertised (in the UK alone). At the moment, demand for artificial intelligence experts like data scientists exceeds the supply of workers with the right skill set. This is great news. Yes, low-skilled workers might lose their old jobs to automation, but the need for medium and high skilled workers will only increase. (HfS Research report by Paywall).

If your current skill set involves abstract thinking and creative problem solving, you will see that your job prospects have increased and will continue to expand. (McKinsey & Company report). New jobs supervising AI have mushroomed. We will need more people to create and manage, for example, – self-driving cars and the Internet of Things app development, versus unskilled labor required for the execution of repetitive tasks. The idea is to become future fit by re-skilling yourself for the brand new jobs on the horizon.

That being said, the same McKinsey report found that 90% of jobs can’t be automated (Phew! There’s hope for us humans yet!). Jeff Immelt, outgoing CE of General Electric, summed it up succinctly when he stated, “the idea robots will completely run factories in five years is “bulls..t”.

Preparing for Tech Change

What we can be sure of is that artificial intelligence is going to fundamentally change how we all do business. It’s not going away, and it’s not going to create an unemployed human society. Sometimes it’s impossible to embrace change. We like to dismiss the latest tech inventions as short-lived, a flash in the pan moments. Remember some of these clangors:

  • “This ‘telephone’ has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us.” Western Union internal memo 1876.
  • “There’s no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance.” Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO
  •   “TV will never be a serious competitor for radio because people must sit and keep their eyes glued on a screen; the average American family hasn’t timed for it.” New York Times 1939
  • “Try reading a book on disc. At best, it’s an unpleasant chore: the myopic glow of a clunky computer replaces the friendly pages of a book. And you can’t tote that laptop to the beach. Nicholas Negroponte, director of the MIT Media Lab, predicts that we’ll soon buy books and newspapers straight over the Internet. Uh, sure.” Clifford Stoll Newsweek

Every single new advancement has been met with derision by those who can’t see the potential of the technology. Its arrival is signal enough that the world is about to change. AI becomes more integrated into businesses on a daily basis as AI app development becomes a vital tool for the growth of the company. It is futile to think it is not going to continue with its spectacular rise. New job opportunities will be the order of the day. The only question you need to ask yourself is, do you have the right skills for the demand?

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