Jobs that require some level of sophistication and skill will remain after the AI revolution, while others requiring mundane tasks will get swept away.

With AI changing how businesses operate what is the future of our jobsImage for representation
Atom Artificial Intelligence Saturday, January 27, 2018 - 10:06

The future may appear to be all doom and gloom for many industries on the back of digital and automation – but that future is decades away. We would have adapted to the oncoming AI revolutions years prior to it disrupting our future, and creating hassles along with miracles for ourselves.

AI is being given the spotlight in this era of the internet age, and its overarching reach hasn’t yet been fully explored. We have already seen major layoffs, sometimes in the tens of thousands, in the IT space due to automation. These jobs were previously handled by humans who were prone to human error in processing. With large organizations facing the heat due to increased competition, they have no option but to lay off massive number of people.

Today, AI is everywhere. From transportation to predictive modelling, AI has entered our mind space in more ways than one. The World Bank believes that by 2021, about 40% of the jobs in technology would become redundant, possibly rendering a large population of the Indian labor force jobless. As economies become more connected and globalized, Indians will see the change happening in our country sooner rather than later.

Some jobs just aren’t needed

Redundancy is the keyword to focus on, as human beings compete further to figure out a way to make themselves more valuable to their employers. AI will take over multiple jobs and disrupt the way that we function daily.

Anand Rao, PwC head of AI, thinks that the competition between AI and human is real. “The human is still in the loop. Both humans and AI are learning, teaching each other. We will see more combination of man and machine in every sector.”

Every industry will be shaken up by the AI revolution and we’re just experiencing the tip of the iceberg.

AI may not be so bad after all

Ray Kurzweil, Principal, Singularity University and Author, believes that our future is going to be optimistic. Like the internet revolution, we would have new jobs created for skilled workers doing new things. Robots won’t necessarily take over our jobs and “Skynet” won’t be a real-life problem.

“Technology has always been a double-edged sword. Fire kept us warm, cooked our food and burned down our houses. World War II – 50 million people died, and that was certainly exacerbated by the power of technology at that time.”

Ray thinks that nanobots and customized medicine will help save humanity rather than destroy it, with more than half diseases being preventable or treated within 40 years. Anytime you create a solution for a problem it’s a beneficial thing as a whole.

Jobs of the future

Therefore, the debate will always be about quality versus quantity rather than a true immense fear of AI. Jobs that require some level of sophistication and skill will remain after the AI revolution, while others requiring mundane and repeatable tasks will get swept away. This was summarized best by Professor Richard Susskind, author of The Future of the Professions.

“So, a lawyer today doesn’t develop systems that offer advice, but the lawyer of 2025 will. They’ll still be called lawyers, but they’ll be doing different things.”

The definition of work will change, but what we actually do will remain the same. Here are some of the professions that will be required in demand in the AI-driven future:

AI technicians: We would need close to 1 million AI engineers and maintenance workers and would see a dearth in supply for many years after its introduction. We would also require bot mechanics to fix the same issues but in a different way – with the help of AI.

Niche crafts: By appealing to our senses, these types of jobs will have a good shot at the future. E.g. bakers, pastry chefs, artists, niche shoe makers, hand-made furniture etc. Creations that have a story will have a stronger future requirement.

Content Manufacturers: Content of any kind will trump most professions in the AI future. When people have more free time at home and at work, content will be the go-to requirement of the future. Even when people travel, or want to try out a new restaurant, they would consume content about it first.

Business Strategists: Strategists have always had an upper hand at being redundancy-free. This involves decision making and computing a large quantity of data to make life easier for the brand.

Marketing, advertising and communications: When marketers are needed for the future, their role will become different but their requirements the same - to make people consume their products.

Data Researchers: Research is a strong component when it comes to data and manufacturing. For example, when a real estate company needs to analyze the best materials used for a certain location, big data will help it in securing the right information and insights. 

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