Article (March-2018)


AI to create jobs of tomorrow

Ishan Gupta

Designation : -   MD India

Organization : -  Udacity, New Delhi


As opposed to the popular notion that AI will take away jobs, it will indeed create opportunities which we have never thought about. It can take over some jobs, not all, it can replace repetitive tasks but not the niche ones.
Depending upon whom you're listening to, Artificial Intelligence is either an existential threat that will turn on its creators, or the saviour of all mankind in the years to come. As with most things, the truth lies somewhere in the middle of the vast spectrum between those two options - AI is a technology that will act within its capacity to perform the functions that it is given. Even within the group of people who don't believe that AI will turn violent, many consider AI, with its potential to do repetitive or time - intensive work swiftly and accurately, a threat to the global job market. If robots do the jobs of humans, what will humans do, they ask. The answer to that is simple - they will do the other jobs that robots can't.
What AI can and can't do
Swift advances in machine learning and deep learning technologies have led to AI making a quantum leap in its capacity to perform functions in the last decade or so. AI can now decode natural language, translate in real - time, and even engage in limited conversation with human beings. It won't be long before it is capable of passing the Turing test absolutely. The increasing capacity of AI to learn and make decisions, added to its existing abilities to work without rest and error - free, would make it an ideal choice for doing the kind of manual labour that unfortunately a substantial proportion of humanity is still employed in doing. Dead-end physical labour, in particular, is a job far better suited to mechanical entities than humans.
What AI has shown little or no capacity to engage in thus far is creativity and innovation. It is unlikely to develop a sense of humour, and probably would require centuries of development before it can approach the concept of thinking laterally and outside the box. AI will be much better suited to replace human beings in mass manufacturing, bringing greater synergy and efficiency into that domain than before. Doing so would lower the costs of manufactured goods, increase consumption, and raise the profits of such companies. This would increase these companies' productivity, and make them need more humans in marketing - which is why research firms like Gartner have clearly indicated that AI will create more jobs than it will replace, stating that by 2020, AI will generate 2.3 million jobs worldwide.

The new opportunities
A Capgemini survey of a 1000 global organizations which deployed AI - based systems found that 80% of the surveyed firms had added more jobs in these companies, while two-thirds of the respondents further indicated that there had been no reduction in jobs attributable to AI at all. For the most part, AI is being used to enhance and enable human employees to remove redundant mechanical and record - keeping aspects of their work, freeing them up and enabling them to be more productive. Tom Ivory, Capgemini's head of strategic innovation, stressed that organizations and individuals should focus on 're-skilling' to unlock greater productivity. In the most immediate sense, AI would create massive opportunities for individuals with AI - programming skills. One jobs website announced that there had been a nearly five - fold increase in AI - related jobs offered on its platform. 
The spike in demand for AI - proficient programmers is all the more remarkable because there is a dearth of qualified candidates capable of taking up these positions. According to this job website there is currently a ratio of 2.3 available roles for every suitable candidate. In India, a recent survey indicated that there is already a demand for 4000 machine learning and AI programmers in Bangalore alone. Applications of Artificial Intelligence - technologies such as autonomous drones or self-driving cars, for instance - would also create a massive pool of opportunities. 
Even in other industries in fields, AI will create greater productivity that would enhance employment, not curtail it. AI technology replaced 800,000 lower-skilled jobs in the United Kingdom, and replaced them with 3.5 million new, better paying opportunities. There will be a greater need for humans who specialize in abstract thinking, creative tasks, and problem solving, which will lead to job growth in these areas.
The Future?
While these new jobs will be more lucrative than the ones that AI will take up, they will require substantial re-skilling of the existing workforce. The actual concern about AI should be less about the technology and be more focused on our current job market and skill set. We should actively ask ourselves how we can make ourselves more productive and less mechanical in our work, and find ways to add problem - solving and analytical skills. Picking up AI - programming would be a great choice, as this is easier to learn than one would imagine.