The World Economic Forum expects automation and Artificial Intelligence (AI), to result in the loss of at least 5 million jobs globally by 2020. Yes, machines are going to steal your jobs. It may sound like a scene from Terminator in which a robot may push you out of your office chair, but the reality is scarier and invisible to an extent. The major threat to your job is from machine learning.
Machine Learning is the ability to process huge volumes of data and complete tasks in a more efficient way than a human being can. We’re on the verge of a revolution in the modern workforce, and things are about to look very different.
White-collar jobs aren’t safe
– Machines have replaced manual jobs but now machines can also think and learn and do the same tasks that a highly skilled worker can.
Here are some jobs already being replaced by AI, previously thought to be irreplaceable:
The Japanese insurance company, Fukoku Mutual Insurance, has replaced 34 human insurance claim workers with IBM’s Watson Explorer AI. This system will scan hospital records & documents to determine insurance payouts, which the firm believes will save around 140 million yen.
Automated investors and financial advisors are now reality and they’re seeing amazing results. These are automated services that are replacing personal financial advisors, financial planners and stockbrokers.
ING, a major Dutch lender, announced that it plans to save $1 billion a year by cutting 5,800 jobs as part of a “digital transformation.” A further 1,200 employees will have their jobs changed or moved.
AI replacing white-collar jobs is a real phenomenon, and it’s only going to increase in frequency and intensity over the time. Does this mean that AI is going to create mass unemployment and collapse our economy? Not really. In the past, technology has always ended up creating more jobs than it destroyed.
A US-based research firm, HFS Research, predicts that India’s IT services industry will lose 6.4 lakh “low-skilled” jobs to AI and automation in the next five years. On the contrary high skilled jobs like analytics will rise by 56 per cent.
A big change we see today is that organisations are moving from IT services to intelligent solutions which are based on big data and data science. The reason is due to the availability of massive amounts of data, low cost of data storage infrastructure, and the need for real-time decision making.
Changing technologies have created big opportunities in data science, big data, and AI. Employees need to adapt to these technology changes and still be relevant to the company’s needs through specialised skill sets.
With AI finding its way into more and more domains, the demand for highly skilled tech talent is growing. There is an unprecedented shortage of programmers, data scientists, cyber security experts, machine learning engineers etc.
As hiring, has become more specialised with companies looking for higher and greater level of expertise. Employees will have to continuously upgrade themselves and learn new skills. Learning new skills is now easier through various online courses.
The AI economy will invent work we can’t even dream of today, much as the internet gave birth to unforeseen careers. Nobody’s grandfather was a web architect. Today, the job pays pretty well. It doesn’t matter whether a job is white collar or manual, if it is routine, machines will do it.
Almost all industries will undergo a radical shift because of Artificial Intelligence. So, it is important to acquire new skills quickly. However contrary to popular belief, AI shall not cause mass unemployment. Just like technological milestones in the past have done, it shall require workers to learn new skills and get companies to re-train their employees.
Originally appeared on Deccan Chronicle