The debate on Artificial Intelligence (AI) and its potential to take away jobs has been going on for a while. Increasingly, grunt work and repetitive tasks are being replaced by robots or other automated tools. While the Brookings Institution estimated that 36 million workers will lose their jobs because of AI, as per World Economic Forum AI will create 58 million new jobs.
Various studies have predicted job losses on account of AI in a wide range of 9% to close to 47%. However AI tools require fair amount of continuous training which in turn is dependent on human intelligence to train them. AI will cease to exist without the support of human and not vice versa. Creativity and emotions are not the forte of AI and so, jobs which demand these characteristics will not be easily replaced by machines.
Even businesses that are betting on AI are cautious about the returns on the massive investments required for such initiatives and therefore for AI solutions to become common place would take a long time. Therefore AI needs to be viewed as yet another phase in digital evolution that would enable further innovation and create opportunities for expansion of the global economy. Mckinsey Global Institute has predicted that AI has the potential to add 16% amounting to $16 trillion to the global economy and boost the GDP by 26%.
In the decade between 2006 and 2016, according to the analysis presented by Reinhart and Edwards, over 51 million jobs were destroyed, while 179 million jobs were created. Since its inevitable that AI will penetrate into every sphere of our society and economy, it is prudent to consider the possible ways to deal with this eventuality rather than ignore or fear the aftermath possibilities on the job situation.
People performing routine and repetitive tasks, mainly those associated with sectors such as financial services, transportation, hospitality or construction or are performing simple administrative roles should actively start working on their careers. AI is a force to reckon with not only for those with no skills or skills that are easy to be found, it is bound to threaten even the highly skilled professionals such as lawyers, doctors, architects and even computer programmers. All of them need to take precaution not to become become irrelevant in their workplace. They should firstly ensure their current jobs increasingly have components of ‘intelligence’ and higher quantum of interpretive elements which cannot be performed by machines with ease.
While organisations would pay more attention to developing their talent as compared to the past due to the dynamic nature of tech environment in particular as well as other business requirements, individually employees have to become more cognizant of acquiring cutting edge skills and knowledge with their own efforts and investment. It’s imperative for them to upskill themselves and acquire digital skills so that they can transition to new jobs in new industries by leveraging their functional knowledge from previous jobs.
All new entrants to workforce necessarily should possess coding skills which would be on par with other life skills they require to succeed in their careers. It’s no longer the question of man vs machine, it’s all about what humans can achieve with the power of AI and therein lies the pathway for reinventing oneself for the future.
The writer is executive chairperson, Global Talent Track, a corporate training solutions company