AI & Jobs: Friend or Foe?

Will AI Overtake Human Jobs?

Posted by Prakash Donga

7 Aug 20 5 min read

The speed with which the AI is bringing a revolution in every industry, it is scary that human jobs are at high risk. We see a lot many examples these days where AI is showing its efficiency to replace people.

Is AI for good?

At one end, yes we are developing! We are making human life easy and more comfortable. The tasks where a human life is at risk like military operations, a war field or in a rescue operation a robot with AI is much helpful. It can do all the tasks a human does without any life risk. Sometimes, a robot can perform better in these situations over a person doing his job

Robots can do many repetitive tasks that humans do with higher accuracy and speed. It costs more to hire a person to do a full day job, whereas the machine, once purchased runs at a meager cost. Along with these and lot many other benefits of AI, it is eating up our jobs as well. Let’s see how:

How is AI taking up jobs in day-to-day life tasks

The matter to worry about is that the AI is not only limited to the functions mentioned above, but it is also spreading worldwide in almost all the fields. One such live example is the self-driving cars. Crores of people across the globe earn their livelihood by working in the transportation industry like cab services, truck services and other local means of transport. With the AI taking its position, lot many giants like Waymo (a subsidiary firm of Alphabet Inc.), Tesla, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) and others. have already tested their driverless cars and are working to enhance them further.

We see lot many food cafes, and restaurants are getting towards very intelligent kiosks. While you enter the restaurant, you may not find a human being welcoming you and taking your order, instead, you will see an intelligent and interactive computer, ready to take your order. This is how advancement in technology is risking human job. Gartner, in one of its research, said that by 2020, 85% of customer interactions would be managed without human intervention. The way, we are using the technology right now, surely makes us believe in these figures.

Many experts believe robotic automation as an inevitably disruptive force. AlphaGo, a robot was developed by Alphabet Inc.’s Google Deepmind in London in October 2015; after it advanced to a threshold level, it was to compete with Lee Sedol, a Korean professional Go player with a 9 Dan rank (a precious position in the field). The results were shocking; Lee resigned the final game on a full sized 19x19 board giving a final score of 4 games to 1 with the game on favor of AlphaGo.

Not only for the highly skilled people, but the jobs of labor are also at risk as well. An Australian company Fastbrick Robotics developed a robot, the Hadrian X which is expert at laying bricks.The robot put 1000 standard blocks in one hour whereas it will take a whole day for two specialist laborers to do the same work!

A San Francisco based start-up Simbe Robotics developed a robot named Tally, an expert supermarket manager. The robot would roam around in the supermarket along with the other human customers. During regular business hours and even after that, it ensures that all the goods are arranged properly and are in stock on the racks. Tally is the world’s first fully autonomous shelf auditing and analytics robot. Now, this is going crazy, right? In a recent report, World Economic Forum estimated that AI would eat up 5m jobs across the 15 developed nations by 2020.

Is AI affecting jobs in IT?

As IT operations are getting agile and dynamic, they are also getting immensely complicated. The Big Data is streaming through daily activities like e-commerce sites, social media sites, accounting and more, is in massive quantity. At some or the other point, human brains seem to be no longer capable of handling, managing and analyzing this data.

Imagine, you are a developer responsible for the management of massive e-commerce site, and soon one of your angry customers fires a support ticket regarding the failure of payment. What are you going to do in the first instance? You would be going to the logs of the site and check it out what was the issue there. Tracing the logs back to the point where the client made payment is sometimes a tedious task.

Here comes into the picture a concept called Cognitive Insights. This technology uses Machine Learning techniques to learn more from the Internet, users behaviours, DevOps working on an issue, forums, and such. It learns a lot from all these things and analyses the information in a way that it can help DevOps to know further what is important in their logs and what could be an easy solution to a particular problem.

Above this, AI’s integration has seen in the web development services like e-commerce sites. The latest example of such a system is the customised site for every user. While you are surfing an e-commerce site, a robot on the website will monitor you continuously and will learn more about your behaviour. It will keep the records of which product you see, how much time do you spend on each product’s page and a lot many other things. So, the next time you visit the site, it will continuously recommend the products that you love! This is how major sites like Amazon increase their conversion rates. So, a human employee to interact with customers, showing the things they like or sending them emails is now getting replaced by AI.

A report prepared by the feedbacks and research of 352 experts, revealed:

A.I. will be capable of performing any task as well or better than humans — otherwise known as high-level machine intelligence — by 2060 and will overtake all human jobs by 2136.

Advocates of AI, says that there will be lot many jobs available for the highly skilled people to develop and program these robots. They say that by 2020 there will be a hike of 60% in the salary in the AI and robotics field and more than one-third of the positions will be vacant due to the shortage of skilled workers. This seems right, but the worst part of this is:

For every job created in the field of robotic automation, several more will be eliminated entirely!

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Originally published at on August 28, 2017.