Is Artificial Intelligence A Job Killer Or Creator?

by CXOtoday News Desk    Aug 22, 2017

artificial intelligence

The incredible possibilities artificial intelligence (AI) presents - and also its potential challenges - have made it an important talking point. Of course, there are a lot of myths out there about AI. Some like Alibaba founder Jack Ma said AI is not only a massive threat to jobs but could also spark World War III. Not only Ma, opinions are divided in the industry on whether AI is a job killer or a job creator.

According to a recent report published by MIT Technology Review, Artificial Intelligence will not exactly eliminate jobs, but it will deconstruct them in the near future. The CXOs in the Asian who were surveyed for this research, believe that the impact of AI and robotics on their business performance will be immediate, profound, and positive. Even then, only a handful of enterprises are leveraging on this potential at the moment, leaving rooms for ample training and development in this area.

As the report re-examined trends in this region where AI and automation are already changing the ways firms manage and develop human talent. For example, the skills and talent pools created by India’s IT ecosystem are seen as an asset that could make it a globally competitive producer of AI software and applications. In China, significant AI research and investment is offering real possibility of securing a leading role in defining AI globally. 

Notable among other regions, Singapore is keen to future-proof its economy through AI, leading to a focus on applications poised to redefine the city-state’s role as one of the world’s most important finance centers. The report shows, Australia is fostering AI development in healthcare, financial services, and in a green-economy focus on energy and utilities. 

Read more: How Artificial Intelligence Is Transforming Contact Centers

While the overall AI adoption and interest scenario seem to be positive, the study showed, much of Asia lacks the depth of technical skills and R&D facilities needed to keep pace with AI development, there are significant pockets of the ‘natural resources’ Asian economies need to promote and develop their own machine-learning capabilities. 

China, India and other large Asian economies generate a copious amount of data, which is critical to pushing AI’s capabilities forward. Australia and Singapore, despite their small sizes, each punch well above their weight in the development of ‘indigenous’ AI R&D resources, and have clear visions for how machine learning can complement and enhance the competitiveness of their established leading industries.

Ironically, given a common presumption that AI will be responsible for disintermediation of jobs at all levels, it is Asia’s massive human capital dividend—the billions of constantly Internet-connected workers and consumers –that will propel AI development in the region farther and faster. AI may start to disintermediate roles and responsibilities across Asia’s economies, but it will enhance and redefine far more capabilities, and increase the productivity of all firms and workers, says the study.

Read more: Why AI Won’t Take Away Jobs From Humans

Nonetheless, it cannot be ignore that AI has become an intrinsic part of the future road map of technology, especially in the software space. Some experts in the industry imply, AI will now actually be built-in as a feature, as a fundamental characteristic, of the final offering. These developments will actually push the adoption of AI, at a much faster rate, and across the board of various industries. The ideal goal is to provide ‘business value’, which drives the adoption of AI. 

In many economies as in the US and Western Europe, robots and algorithms are already taking on routine accounting tasks or assort various things. However, experts believe, routine tasks aside, AI struggles at analytical and interactive tasks such as those commonly found in the consulting sector. According to Katharina Dengler, algorithms by themselves are not intelligent.

“There is a long way to go before we algorithms can process data autonomously and still produce the best results – i.e. immediately make the best decisions. In the foreseeable future, machines will still not able to distinguish whether something is important or not,” she mentioned in her blog.

Dengler believes, in the increasingly digitalized world and automated economy, there are actually many new jobs requiring specific knowledge, and many of the jobs that are not directly affected can, thanks to modern technology, become more productive and, therefore, better paid as well, as Paul Daugherty, the CTO of Accenture precisely puts it, “Our goal with AI is not to make super humans, it’s to make humans super.” In a way, his message points towards superior experiences and higher efficiency of humans, whereby, AI remains a crucial and futuristic tool for enhancing the productivity of human beings as they go about their work, instead of outright replacing them, and it depends on how effectively businesses today are getting trained to use AI to their advantage.