AI will undoubtedly transform the jobs’ market but in what way and what extent is the question. The advances in AI is already transforming the world and it’s just a matter of time when we feel the most impact. The all-encompassing nature of AI is creating this fear of mass unemployment. Adding fuel to fire is a two year McKinsey Global Institute study which suggested that by the year 2030, AI might eliminate up to 30% of human labor worldwide. Most of human population is not equipped to compete against the supercomputing powers of AI, so the fears may be quite justified. Let’s take a closer look at the AI effect on jobs in the future:
AI effect on jobs: should you be worried
According to the McKinsey Study, a huge number of people would lose their jobs to AI agents and robots. The impact of the AI revolution could be viewed on the same scale as the moving away from labor during the 1990s in US and Europe, during the mechanization of factories.
Will Artificial Intelligence lead to massive unemployment?
According to the study, depending on adoption scenarios by companies, AI might displace anywhere between 400-800 million jobs by the year 2030. More than 375 million people would have to switch their job categories in order to stay employed! Studies like this one does wake one up to the impact of Artificial Intelligence on jobs, and it is crucial enough not to be ignored.
Brookings Institution predicted that if automation reaches even 38% of its capability, the AI effect on jobs would be so severe that it would be scary. Western democracies might even resort to strict policies regarding the scale of use of AI in companies, in order to avoid civil unrest!
The AI threat to jobs was underlined by the statement from Elon Musk – he said that AI systems and automation technology would replace humans very soon. In fact, he went on to alert governments that they should plan for basic income strategies for citizens, to help them cope with the devastating aftermath of AI revolution.
Right now, humans are designing and coding AI systems, but the whole USP of AI is that after a point they evolve and program themselves. This is when humans will ultimately be phased out of jobs.
How would AI replace human jobs
A Japanese insurance company is one of the first to replace jobs with an AI system, which would calculate the payouts of policyholders. So impact of Artificial Intelligence on jobs is already a reality, though on a tiny scale. The Japanese company is letting go of 34 workers, saving 1 million pounds annually. The company bought the AI system for 1.4 million pounds but the upkeep cost would be only 100,000 pounds annually.
Before companies adopt AI, they would have to look at the cost of procurement, development, planned and unplanned maintenance. For some companies, this cost may not be viable and humans would still be able to retain their jobs. Thus, the AI threat to jobs depends on the complication of the technology (which will raise the price) as well as the development and maintenance costs.
Which kind of jobs are at risk due to AI
A study conducted on the AI effect on jobs, researchers Michael Osborne and Carl B. Frey found out that 702 types of jobs will be affected by AI in the US. This means that a whopping 47% of the American workforce may end up losing their jobs. The figure for Japan is 49% and UK is 35%.
Taxi drivers, courier drivers will be affected as they might be replaced by self-driving cars. The jobs of support staff in offices will be endangered by computerized systems. For example, security staff, front desk staff will be replaced by AI check ins and security systems. Customer support officers, sales staff, telemarketers, call center callers, cashiers, clerks might be replaced with machines and chatbots. So will Artificial Intelligence lead to massive unemployment – all the studies point towards it. More than 500 billion products of all kinds will be connected to the net which might also lead to the decrease of jobs of the working and middle class jobs.
However, people in creative industries would be less affected by automation and AI.
Experts predict AI revolution will create more opportunities for employment
AI effect on jobs may not be all bad. Some industry experts are of the opinion that many new jobs will be created. Self-driving cars would require emergency human drivers. AI trainers will be required to ‘train’ chatbots. Just as websites have to be updated and maintained, AI systems would require maintenance too.
Experts say that even though AI might become extremely efficient and advanced, however, some jobs will always be done better by humans. For example, hairdressers, therapists, doctors and personal trainers will be more human than AI. The shift in jobs has already been seen in UK, where the trend of ‘caring’ jobs has boomed. Nursing assistant jobs increased by 909%, teaching assistants – 580% and the number of jobs of care workers increased by 168%.
Two sides of one coin
On the one hand we have die-hard techies predicting the world being run by AI alone. On the other hand, economists are predicting that AI will create some new jobs. But one thing is for sure – the jobs as we know now will definitely not exist. Many companies will adopt AI to stay relevant, getting rid of outdated technology. This might lead to losses and layoffs. But after embracing AI, employees will be able to learn new work skills faster than before. It’s the transition period which will be painful, but as History is a witness, humans have overcome every challenge thrown at them.
Most humans will be either developing, training or maintaining AI, and the truly smart thing for us to do right now, is to look at the future and equip ourselves with the required skills to face the future.
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Machines can never take over certain human jobs, which require empathy and creativity. Thus there would be a major shift in the job market, but perhaps after an initial shake up, people will learn to adapt to the AI world and rule it with their inherent intelligence!