Look around. Artificial intelligence (AI) or robots are everywhere. They save human lives by deactivating bombs, fighting crime and performing surgery. They make cars, explore under the sea and journey into outer space. There are many things they do to make our lives easier.
Still, the question on everyone’s mind is, “Will they take over my job?”
According to statistics cited in a Forbes magazine article, As Robots Rise, How Artificial Intelligence Will Impact Jobs, “. . .47 percent of all employment opportunities will be occupied by machines within the next two decades.”
Over the last year, scientists created “machine learning algorithms that can mimic famous painters,” states the article. Long-haul truck drivers are also in jeopardy. The LA Times reports that robots could replace 1.7 million truckers within the next decade. Auto manufacturers and ride-sharing upstarts are “racing to put autonomous vehicles on the road “that replace drivers.”
People can even use software now to compose articles. Goodbye writers.
Should recruiters and workers be worried?
According to British economists at Deloitte, a global consultancy, technology has created more jobs than it has destroyed in the last 144 years. Consider how many employment opportunities it has generated in knowledge-intensive sectors like medicine, accounting and professional services.
“Just 1.1% of the workforce was employed in the caring professions (like nursing) during the 1871 census. By 2011, these professions employed almost a quarter of the England and Wales workforce,” the study’s authors state.
Meanwhile, the technology revolution has also produced an interesting side benefit. Since AI has decreased the cost of essential items, the economists say that people now have higher disposable incomes, which leads to new demand for service jobs, such as hairdressers.
Just how many jobs will AI take?
While AI is transforming the way we live and work, it will continue to displace workers. Few would argue with that. But to what degree is up for grabs. No one can really predict what will happen decades from now.
The International Federation of Robotics (IFR) reports that within two years, “the number of industrial robots around the world about will increase to 2.6 million”, one million more than in 2015. Europe takes the global lead in deploying the most robots in its labor market.
Geography will also play a role in job and career security. According to a study conducted by a team of researchers – led by Iyad Rahwa – at the Technology Media Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, jobs in smaller cities are more vulnerable to automation.
The researchers discovered a trend between the size of a city and the impact that AI and robots have on human workers. Cities with fewer than 100,000 inhabitants are more at risk since they don’t attract as many workers with skills and expertise as large cities do. But jobs in big cities on the East Coast may be resilient to automation. The researchers point to Washington, DC and NY as examples. At this point in time, many government-related roles or specialist jobs would be too difficult to automate.
In Conclusion – Look to the Future
Since the birth of the first steam locomotive in the early 1800s, some sort of machine, AI or robot has been replacing people’s jobs. So look to the future. What new jobs or careers are they creating? Can your firm create training programs in these fields or partner with organizations who can turn out workers with this needed knowledge and skillset?
Whatever you do, there’s no need to panic. Jobs will come and go as they have for centuries. Many humans are adaptable beings and if given the chance, will learn, develop and evolve. Just remember, even if the economy tanks and jobs become scare, we can always pull the plug.