Will AI Take Your Job?
By Betsy Burton
Will AI Take Your Job?
I have been reading a lot of articles recently about projections on the potential impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on human jobs. From Kathleen Parkers rant in the Washington Post about AI taking everyone’s jobs today to articles about how much money AI-related jobs can make.
Does the evolution of AI into the workplace mean a job desert or a gold rush? The answer, in my view, is neither of these extremes. But it will absolutely will change the workplace landscape and we must working on understanding and planning for these changes.
New Transformative Technologies Change the Job Market
This question is not new. We have faced this question many times before in human history.
Think back on the luddites, a group of textile manufacturing workers who violently protested the introduction of mechanical knitting machines. Look back on the history of machinery in agriculture; the cotton gin and grain thresher changed the landscape forever.
The advent of the PC, voicemail and cell phones have dramatically changed the office environment. Gone were the rooms of administrative staff typing letters, documents, answering phones and filing.
The reality is new technology can often result in job losses, yes. But the question is, will other jobs emerge and where are the losses/risks and opportunities over time.
Jobs impacted By AI
The Bureau of Labor is already tracking jobs being affected by AI.
Over the next five years, some of the jobs that will be most directly affected are personal financial advisors, interpreters and translators, fast food and counter workers, janitors and cleaners, heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers, laborers and freight, stock, material moving.
In addition, there are a number of jobs that are already affected by technology but will be further impacted by artificial intelligence, including: loan officers, tax preparers, lawyers, paralegals and legal assistants, news analysts, reporters, journalists, retail sales workers, customer service representatives, stockers and order fillers.
But does the advent of AI mean these professions are doomed, or rather that they will change? I think it will be a little of both. There will be some jobs lost and some jobs changed/augmented.
An AI-enabled tax preparation system may mean the initial pass at preparing taxes will be automated. But to really negotiate and balance the final tax preparation may require a human especially for complex personal and corporate taxes.
No question there will be some jobs lost in the short term. But will these mean a net loss of jobs or a reshuffling of jobs in the long run?
New Jobs Created by AI
For the foreseeable future, there will need to be humans to train and monitor AI systems. In addition, the advent of AI introduces a whole new set of legal, ethics, security, policy, regulatory and architecture issues that will likely create new jobs.
There will be a number of jobs to be created by the growth of AI, including trainers and monitors, content reviewers and researchers, content curators, cyber security experts, data ocean engineers (integrity and quality), AI ethics and legal services, policy advisory and regulatory specialist, computer vision specialist, and industry-specific AI specialist.
According to the World Economic Forum the net new jobs will result in a slight increase overall. However, the skills of new jobs will lean toward more specialized skilled knowledge workers versus service and administrative workers.
This debate will rage on over the next 10 years as AI begins to change the workplace landscape. I do believe it is not time to panic that it will take all our jobs, nor is it time to assume that it will not have any impact on jobs, or that it will be a job free-for-all.
There are a lot of social, economic, security and cultural issues people, businesses and governments must begin to understand as it continues to evolve. We are seeing leading thinkers and visionaries taking on these questions.
How does AI help or hinder the democratization of information? How does it affect income inequalities and biases? How do we deal with intellectual property, privacy and security? Does growth in artificial intelligence mean less task time and more creative and innovation time?
We don’t know, yet.
These are just some of the questions. But again, we have experienced this type of job revolution in the past. And use of AI is increasing and a “pause” as suggested by some will not fix the issues.
Now is not the time for knee jerk tactical responses. Now is time for thoughtful informed evaluation and strategic planning by government leaders, business leaders, educators, and writers, and by individuals.
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