How AI is Going to Change The Way We Look at Jobs
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India is facing a big conundrum these days. While it is fighting to embrace technology and emerge as a leader in the global digital transformation, Indian professionals are losing sleep over the possibility of losing out their jobs to the very same technology. From being irrelevant to losing out completely, India’s workforce is spending its days in massive fear and uncertainty.
But, like most other concerns, the fear of losing out to Artificial Intelligence is an assumed construct rather than an approaching reality. Why? Let’s find out.
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Ever since the World Economic Forum came out with the report ‘Future of Jobs’ in 2016 highlighting global technological transformations, speculations have been floating around regarding the estimated job loss in India. A country which is adding about 17 million new entrants to the workforce Y-O-Y, is projected to have the youngest workforce with an average age of 29 by 2020, is creating only 5.5 million jobs every year. The disparity between demand and supply, is there for all to see.
Furthermore, the yawning gap between industrial requirements and academic training creates a situation where in every company has to spend considerable amount of time and resources in giving requisite training. This impacts fresh recruitment figures in India, as organizations prefer to hire industry veterans with significant experience rather than fresh graduates.
These two factors, and a host of other ones such as lack of uniform educational standards, primitive syllabi and inadequate support to innovation labs meant that India was already suffering from an unemployment crisis before the AI revolution began. Yet, naysayers have been putting the entire blame on the cutting-edge technology.
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Undoubtedly, the onset of AI based services has reduced the available employment opportunities. But it has impacted only those core roles which were repetitive in their nature, often adding little value to a product or service. Even during the Industrial revolution, there was a momentary employment crisis, but with the infrastructural support of machines, global development reached unimagined heights, reflected in the world we see around us.
AI Created Opportunities
Similarly, the onset of AI has created a plethora of job profiles and opportunities that will become the mainstay of the future global economy. From avatar designers to design AR/VR characters to AI trainers and analysts that train chatbots to conduct meaningful conversations, AI has radically transformed every field it has entered. The agents have been reimagined as bot developers, trainers and quality analysts, as they are the best suited to enrich the chatbot’s quality of engagement by utilizing their vast conversational experience. This kind of human-AI collaboration creates a win-win situation for all, enriching the human agents’ profile by cross-skilling and upskilling them while improving the efficiency of the bots.
Apart from creating new jobs, the onset of AI has also put the spotlight back on jobs that really create an impact and require optimum human involvement. From repetitive and rule based jobs, we have now made the transition to creative, design oriented, higher order thinking skills based jobs, that inherently provide job satisfaction to professionals. This was highlighted by the ‘Future of Jobs in India’ report prepared jointly by FICCI, NASSCOM and EY, which estimated that by 2022, 9% of India's 600 million estimated workforce would be deployed in new jobs that do not exist today, while 37% would be in jobs that have radically changed skill sets. Raghuram Rajan, erstwhile Governor of Reserve Bank of India, also stated at the recently held #FUTURE Global Summit in Kerala that ‘Jobs that require high intelligence and creativity; jobs that require human empathy and jobs where human working for us bolster our status in some way,’ only will survive after the next 10-15 years.
In fact, the ready acceptance and inclusion of such services by organizations across verticals such as telecom, health, retail, fin-tech, hospitality, travel etc. has meant that tech professionals have greater options to choose from. With increasing business innovation, a robust growth of the start-up culture, emergence of highly optimized tech-driven aggregators, modernization of traditional segments such as real estate and enhanced globalization, AI has empowered the creation of a larger, stronger and talented oriented work sphere that focuses on continuous learning and natural talent as the determinants of employment.
In the global arena, research firm Gartner has predicted that AI will create 2.3 million new jobs while eliminating only 1.8 million jobs in 2020. The very fact that such statistics and figures are being grossly overshadowed amidst the ‘doomsday’ calls and calamitous warnings, show that we as a country are again committing the same mistake we are found guilty of frequently-that of blaming the most convenient victim, rather than finding where the true fault lies.