AI unemployment: Is your job at risk of automation?

AIs are joining the workforce - but will they replace you or work alongside you?

Proposition 2: AI will create new jobs and open up new possibilities for humans to live more fulfilling lives

Notable proponents:

  • Mark Zuckerberg
  • The whole of Google (seemingly)
  • Steve Wozniak

The danger of AI is overhyped, and the benefits particularly for jobs underplayed.

The most obvious job created by AI technology is the role of specialist programmer - this is still software we're talking about, after all, and it needs managing. But there are other less obvious ones as well.

For example, one of the promises of AI within the industrial sector is predictive maintenance: that machines detect ahead of time when they're likely to break down, and send out a request for proactive repair. These repairs still need to be done by a human, meaning that increased automation could actually lead to new jobs.

It'll be CIOs who will be responsible for integrating AI into the human workforce, according to Gartner. "The CIO should commission the enterprise architecture team to identify which IT roles will become utilities and create a timeline for when these changes become possible," Stephen Prentice, vice president anf fellow at Gartner, said.

They should then work with HR to minimise disruption and retrain staff to take on more creative jobs, as opposed to analytical roles that AI might automate. "Ultimately, AI and humans will differentiate themselves from each other," Prentice added.

Some of those who believe AI will benefit mankind do admit that it may lead to a reduction in paid, full-time work - the think tank Reform argued just this when it made a case for cutting 250,000 public sector jobs in favour of AI. They argue, however, that part-time work or job sharing will become the norm, leading to increased leisure time and a happier population as a whole.

A smaller percentage suggest that, in the longer term, a true sharing economy will rise up, where people swap skills rather than money. For example, someone who enjoys and is skilled in gardening may offer their services in exchange for use of a swimming pool.

AI is not something to be feared, but a transformational technology that will fundamentally improve our lives.

Main image credit: Bigstock

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