Artificial Intelligence is Freeing up Humans from Redundant Tasks Not Eliminating Jobs
Let us not debate about the insecurities created by the exponential technologies like artificial intelligence, machine learning, deep learning, neural networks and robotics disrupting the job market. Rather focus on what skills and capabilities are essential to get the best out of machines and technology.
The industry has seen too much of technological advances especially in the field of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning in a short span of time. The disruption has been so overwhelming that there is no dearth of professionals who aren’t awestruck by the awesomeness and rise of the exponential technologies as well as their impact on jobs. It's true that people are approximately twice as likely to express worry than enthusiasm about a future in which robots and computers are capable of doing many jobs that are currently done by humans.
However, technology experts and analysts share a different positive school of thought. Artificial Intelligence is freeing up humans from redundant tasks not eliminating jobs. Instead of panicking about job losses, executives should be helping to implement AI and machine learning take over monotonous iterative tasks, while humans spend more time on high-end tasks. Some technocrats go to the extent of pointing out that the impact of machine learning, the self-programming, self-adjusting core of AI, is on tasks within jobs and not on a particular job in its entirety.
AI and ML seem to affect very different parts of the workforce compared to earlier amalgamate of automation. These technologies are definitely bringing in automation that’s happening on a task-by-task basis. Machine learning, for instance, to work more appropriately and to produce near accurate results, need massive amounts of data, so this is a dependency. Another very significant aspect is the necessity to re-engineer the processes and reorganize the tasks prior to implementing these technologies.
Industries which are maturing up to embrace emerging technologies are growing in number. Manufacturing, healthcare and life sciences, finance, aviation, automobile, food, beverage, and hospitality are the few pioneers to implement artificial intelligence. Now naturally the question that comes to mind is which jobs are most likely to see tasks handled by artificial intelligence or machine learning? Some popular functions or tasks that are getting machine driven include customer support for regular queries in banking, airlines, railways, credit authorization in a financial institution, resume scanning and shortlisting, interview scheduling, order acceptance and invoicing in restaurants, hotel room booking, ticketing, so on and so forth. As you can see, it's mostly the regular iterative chores that go over, again and again, following more or less the same pattern throughout, which are being taken over by technologies. The jobs least likely to be shredded by the exponential technologies are those of therapists, nurses, doctors, archaeologists, artists, chefs, in fact, any job that relies on human brain power, reasoning, judgment and creativity.
Technology leaders like Google, Amazon, IBM, Microsoft and the like, predict that in days to come, companies will focus more on redesigning of jobs and restructuring of business processes. Though AI and ML are big influencers, the implementation of these technologies will be suitable in case of certain tasks, not for all. The high and low suitability for machine learning tasks within a job can be separated and re-packaged.
Some of the job activities are more susceptible to automation, while others require judgment, social skills and other hard-to-automate human skills or capabilities. But just because some of the activities in a job have been automated, does not imply that the entire job will vanish. For example, even if portions of HR functions in expanding companies like Google may be automated, HR professionals will not lose their jobs. In fact, artificial intelligence and machine learning are being utilized by organizations to augment human capabilities and expertise. Automating parts of a job is often increasing the productivity and quality of professionals by complementing their skills with machines and computers, as well as enabling them to focus on those aspects of the job that most need their attention. In fact, implementation of emerging technologies is freeing up executives from redundant tasks, so that they can better utilize their time to hone skills much needed to enhance performance and productivity. However, business enterprises and their decision-makers need to exercise extra caution when bundling tasks for automation, keeping in mind that not all tasks are meant to be handled through machine learning. Categorization of tasks and clubbing them in appropriate sequence will continue to play a pivotal role.
While technologies keep evolving, the key to success in this emerging environment is to be able to command and capitalize on AI capabilities to deliver more value and service to end users. Professionals can play a vital role in identifying opportunities, training models and algorithms, and taking a leadership role in determining if the systems are delivering business value in an ethical way. Jobs will be enriched and elevated by artificial intelligence and machine learning, but the best jobs will be those created to implement AI that connects customers to the services and products they need. The industry has already begun to extract value by deploying AI and ML in the fields of Sales, Marketing, Financial Accounting, Talent Acquisition, Healthcare and more, creating new job opportunities at the same time.