Automation is becoming a top priority in many markets, especially as the remote workforce grows and workforce shortages displace traditional models of work in favor of more sustainable solutions.
Artificial intelligence (AI) development is one of the leading forces in the automation drive, with expectations that AI will lead to a $15.7 trillion, or 26%, increase in global GDP by 2030, according to PwC’s “Global Artificial Intelligence Study.”
As AI automation continues to enable new products and workplace solutions, many people have understandably grown concerned about their job security as AI takes over more daily tasks. But is artificial intelligence-enabled automation actually removing jobs, or is it simply changing the way we work?
Read on to learn about how AI automation is disrupting traditional jobs and how workplaces and employees alike can ensure workers’ security in the long run:
AI’s Potential Effects on the Job Market
- AI as an automation-enabling technology
- Jobs disrupted by AI automation
- Building skills for an AI world
Also read: Artificial Intelligence Market 2021
AI as an automation-enabling technology
AI is increasingly finding its way into homes but even more so in businesses, where automated insights and operations speed up processes and decrease the chances of user error.
Here are some of the top business priorities that are being automated through AI:
- Customer service: Through chatbots, virtual assistants, and curated search recommendations, customers can guide their buying decisions autonomously and on their own time.
- Smart factories and assembly line automation: Manufacturing has always been a dangerous and time-consuming industry when human workers act as the primary engine. AI-based automation has entered into many factories and assembly lines, enabling a new class of machine-built and -packaged products as well as self-healing equipment on the assembly line.
- AIOps and MLOps: Many businesses have leaned into AI and machine learning (ML) for operations automation, using AI to enhance projects like security monitoring and audits.
- Data mining and analytics: AI is being programmed to handle data entry and basic data analytics and reporting, leaving employees with more time to focus on tasks that require specialized skill.
AI and customer service: Conversational Artificial Intelligence (AI) Market
Jobs disrupted by AI automation
AI as a replacement for human work
A growing number of people fear that their jobs will be replaced by robots, and while that doesn’t look too likely in the near future, some types of roles will at least decrease in number as AI takes over their tasks.
The following jobs are expected to decrease in demand by 2025, especially because AI and other automated technologies are replacing the primary tasks of these roles, according to the World Economic Forum’s “Future of Jobs Report”:
- Data entry clerks
- Administrative and executive secretaries
- Accounting, bookkeeping, and payroll clerks
- Accountants and auditors
- Assembly and factory workers
- Business services and administration managers
- Client information and customer service workers
- General and operations managers
- Mechanics and machinery repairers
- Material-recording and stock-keeping clerks
AI as a supplement to human work
It’s important to note that while AI can, for instance, handle some of the basic data entry and management tasks traditionally completed by secretaries and clerks, AI tools cannot succeed unless they are appropriately programmed, trained, and maintained over time.
That’s why, as AI tools continue to enter into more business use cases, roles that manage these tools and support them strategically will continue to grow. These jobs will grow quickly in the next several years, according to “The Future of Jobs Report”:
- Data scientists and analysts
- AI and machine learning specialists
- Big data specialists
- Digital marketing and strategy specialists
- Process automation specialists
- Business development professionals
- Digital transformation specialists
- Information security (IS) analysts
- Software developers
- Internet of Things (IoT) specialists
More on data science careers: Today’s Data Science Job Market
Building skills for an AI world
AI automation promises the creation of new jobs, new consumer products, and greater economic growth. However, if workforce development does not keep up with the AI revolution, employees of varying roles and backgrounds run the risk of being replaced in the workforce by automation.
Although it is ultimately up to the individual to develop competitive professional skills, local and national governments, employers, and educational institutions should invest in the following solutions in order to maintain a healthy, equitable workforce:
Education and skills development
Organizations should invest in education, re-education, or skills development courses for employees who are interested in learning about data science, programming, and other tech skills that are highly lucrative in the job market. If an organization is unwilling or unable to invest financial resources, several free online courses and workshops teach common programming languages and other technical skills.
Provide employees with hands-on training for deploying and managing any AI or data sets that the company uses. This training provides relevant experience for both the employee and the company that will need help with those tools in the future.
One of the most affordable and valuable types of training that employers can provide is soft-skills training. Although AI can mimic several human tasks, no artificial intelligence model has yet come close to matching human soft skills, like leadership, entrepreneurship, conflict resolution, and creative thinking, to name a few. Give employees the opportunity to attend seminars and conferences, set their goals, and spend time developing their humanistic strengths outside of their daily work.
More on career development: What Are CIOs Looking for in Current IT Grads?
AI automation will likely replace or at the very least transform many of the jobs we see in the market today.
However, the majority of jobs will not be supplanted with AI technology but instead be supported by AI, allowing employees to optimize their performance and outcomes with artificial assistance.
Jerry Ting, co-founder and CEO of Evisort, an AI contract management software company, believes that the combination of human work and AI work is what will continue to lend enterprises the greatest levels of efficiency:
“Artificial intelligence has truly transformed business technology today,” Ting said. “Humans and technology must work together in order to help businesses remain efficient, and artificial intelligence makes that possible.
“Rather than replacing humans, artificial intelligence serves as a supportive tool that can help streamline decision-making processes as well as save users time and resources.”
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