A VC Perspective - How Valid Is the Threat of Artificial Intelligence on the Job Market?
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We are living in an era of advanced technology which is rapidly transforming our future. Who would have thought that self-driving cars and robots with human-like characteristics would ever exist but here they are co-existing with humans.
The technology which brought this big revolution around is Artificial Intelligence. It has made a huge impact on our lives in the form of video games, personal assistants, smart cars, smartphones, chatbots and many such used cases. With the use of AI, a digital computer can perform tasks by perceiving the environment which then is used to take action that maximizes its chance of success. It has not just made our lives easier serving us with tailored results specific to our needs but is now on the verge of superseding human intellect by performing tasks using characteristic of humans such as the ability to reason, discover meaning, generalize, and learn from experience. Fascinating, isn't it?
Impact of Artificial Intelligence
The scope of AI is a disputed topic, as machines have become increasingly capable leading to the quip that "AI is whatever has not been done yet”. If you really think about it, you may find it surprisingly true. The successful understanding of human speech like voice recognition, strategic game systems, autonomous cars, military simulations, interpreting complex data including images and videos are all examples of the AI effect.
Looking at the advancement that AI has made so far, there has been an ongoing discussion about the impact it can have on our future and what does it really mean for humanity. Experts are also debating over the impact AI can have on the job market and whether it is something we should welcome or fear.
As a technology entrepreneur and investor, I have heard and been a part of many such debates and discussions around the benefits and perils of AI affecting our lives. Let’s take a close look to understand how valid they truly are.
You may have heard about the theory that “rise of the robots” is deemed to end almost half of the industry’s workforce around the world. Experts say that if automation is not planned well and addressed holistically, it can lead to disaster without a doubt, affecting 60% to 70% of the current jobs. They will either get marginalized or eliminated once and for all. It is also said that automation is threatening 69% of the job market in India, while it’s 77% in China, according to a World Bank research.
The fear that AI will replace endless jobs can be justified to a certain point but it’s not completely true. I believe that it’s not just the threat that AI carries with it but it’s also about weaving technology to create more jobs. Technology leaders are drumming up the thought that the emergence of new technologies such as Artificial Intelligence and automation is going to be the new drivers of employment. This era of digitization and automation will create newer career choices for IT professionals. According to the report 'How Automation is Changing Work Choices' the new job roles that will dominate the IT workforce are within digital domains such as Big data, Internet of Things (IoT), Cloud Computing, Cybersecurity etc.
While there is a risk to jobs due to these trends, the good news is there are also a lot of new jobs opportunities that are getting created in areas like cybersecurity, cloud, big data, machine learning and AI. It is clearly a time to pivot career for IT professionals to make sure they are where the growth is. There are other industries that have also started to look from the optimist’s viewpoint embracing the fact that AI and automation can save them a lot of cost by creating an increased demand of products within a shorter period of time, generating more profit and paying higher wages to the employees.
The Bottom Line Is
Let us not forget the fact that when automation kills few jobs, it creates others. We cannot all be pessimists about the changes which AI is bringing but should be ready to recover from the short-term adjustment period that our economy may face in the coming future. Of course, it is predefined that AI will make some labor obsolete but we cannot hide from the bigger picture of the potential benefits that AI will bring along, easing its way into the economy retraining humans for jobs overlooking a new set of activities. This technology is giving a new meaning to businesses and our lives. Can’t wait to see how this technology unfolds in the coming years.