Artificial intelligence and automation are one of the most adopted emerging technologies in the corporate sector today. Due to its ease of deployment with cloud service providers and plug-and-play libraries, AI is quickly moving into being close to humans in many areas.
This is called reaching human parity and represents the day when AI can do the same thing as a human employee, but orders of magnitude faster.
This creates what is perceived as a predatory environment for multiple reasons and individuals across strata. In turn, it causes the rise of the paranoia that ‘AI is going to take our jobs’ and visions of a dystopian future wherein there is only one human job left and that is to supervise machines.
The reality is far from that, and it will continue to be so. This is for reasons that have been apparent within the cycles of humanity’s evolution and will continue to be so regardless of the earthshaking nature of whatever technology we create. This is why AI is not going to take over our jobs.
Step 1: Identifying The ‘Problem’
To determine whether AI can take over the jobs of everyone in the human race, let us look at what it is doing today. It is also to be noted that the creation of an artificial superintelligence is not a part of this scenario, as that will be highly disruptive to every paradigm of human society. AI can currently automate a variety of tasks, in various fields.
The most prominent example of individuals beginning to get replaced by AI on a large scale can be seen in call centres, where chatbots run in the cloud are replacing scores of customer care executives. This seems like a non-conducive environment for the growth of the employees but benefits the company greatly. Even though they cut a large part of their workforce in the customer service segment, they still maintain the same level of quality that they provide to the consumers.
This is a difficult pill to swallow for the employees, as they are suddenly left in the open with no opportunity to go back to their old positions because they are simply redundant. The only person that does not benefit from this directly, is the employee. According to naysayers, this can be the reason why AI is the worst thing to happen to mankind.
What they don’t realize is that AI is just another form of technology, and is subject to much of the same laws and norms of society that we know today.
Step 2: Judging The Impact
Even the argument is multi-faceted, there is a general response type that is seen when new technology is introduced to society at large. Be it revolutionary technologies such as the automobile or electricity, humanity always approaches whatever it does with a grain of salt. A healthy community of naysayers has been present in the larger strata of society since its inception, who function as the foil to those who promise the future enabled by certain technologies.
This creates a natural environment of distrust towards newer technologies, as the human mind will undoubtedly focus on the negatives of what is to come. This creates a sort of shock absorber for the disruption that the technology is sure to bring.
For example, during the rise of cars, individuals said that it would be unsafe compared to driving in a horse-drawn carriage. However, it ended up being more versatile and easy to use than that carriage. The rise of electricity also got the same response, with multiple issues being pointed out. Today, it is a necessity.
Just like the previous two, AI is a technology. By creating traffic laws for safe driving and reducing car accidents, to establishing a regulatory environment towards the safe use of electricity, humanity has evolved. This is indicative of the reaction that AI will receive.
Companies moving all in into the age of algorithms should not come as a surprise to many. The nature of the Internet today, and the predatory data collection practices that are undertaken by corporations would eventually move into this conclusion. The increased efficiency of AI is an immediate risk to the lives of lower-skilled workers. However, as always, there is a solution at hand.
Step 3: Finding The ‘Solution’
The natural way forward in the IT space has been to upskill. As software came out with newer versions, developers were required to learn about the updates and how they changed their workflows before upgrading. This created an organic environment of upward movement that came with the steadily developing industry.
The rise of AI has been explosive, disrupting the existing meta of slowly upskilling with the newest version. Engineers were required to attend classes en-masse to learn about the state of AI and how they could land a position in the lucrative data science market. This is where the solution lies with AI and jobs.
AI has penetrated across verticals and taken over the entry-level positions in many of them. These are the jobs that are ripe for automation; repetitive tasks that required no real reason for a human being to be conducting it. These are the jobs that have been taken over by AI and sit at the very bottom of skill trees in the corporate world.
Entry-level employees must be upskilled or reskilled to function in a new economy. The fundamentals of the economy in the corporate world have begun to move away from manpower to compute power, with a need for managing compute growing ever higher. These are the verticals entry-level employees must move towards through upskilling.
This will create a natural growth cycle, where the jobs will be simply displaced, not destroyed. The movement of manpower into more skilled applications has only been hastened by the rise of automation. Both companies and individuals must take the opportunity to enter a new field and prepare for the lucrative opportunities that come with it.