Why AI will create more jobs than it will eliminate
As AI is making its way into more and more industries, you might wonder what will happen with all jobs. Learn which jobs and industries can benefit from automation and which jobs will still be carried out by humans in the future.
June 21, 2022
4 min read
Artificial Intelligence has been the focus of pop culture for decades, with endless movie plots questioning if and when machines will take over the world. The Terminator, from 1984, preyed on humanity's fear that robots would be better than humans. Twenty years later, I, Robot, showed us a future where robots initially take over public service positions, operating to keep humans safe. Then the dark twist comes, as detective Spooner discovers a conspiracy that may enslave the human race, and we're back to fearing the rise of the machines.
Will a robot take my job?
As AI is making its way into more and more industries, you might wonder what will happen with jobs impacted in those fields. Many activities that workers carry out today have the potential to be automated, so will robots take over the labor force and increase an already high unemployment rate? People living in the 18th century probably felt the same way during the Industrial Revolution.
In a report from McKinsey, they found that one-third of the jobs we have today didn't even exist 25 years ago. So even when Artificial Intelligence will replace workers of some occupations, new job functions will be created. In the Future of Jobs Report, the World Economic Forum predicts 85 million jobs will be lost by 2025, and 97 million will be created over the same period. This is a net increase of 12 million.
According to the WEF, the time spent on current tasks at work by humans and machines will be close to equal by 2025. We are heading towards a change in the workplace, and more people will have to work with technology, but robots will not take over the labor force as new jobs are generated. One of the main goals for employers should be to find a balance between those tasks done by humans and those done by machines, while identifying upskilling opportunities before its too late.
Industries that can look forward to employment growth
Some of automation's main benefits are higher output levels, better quality, and fewer errors. However, just because something is intelligent, it doesn't mean the human or robot is qualified to execute certain types of jobs.
While manufacturing industries “employ” 82% of industrial robots, there will be a shift in repetitive tasks like data entry. The machines will do the mundane data entry, but the data science part will still be in the hands of humans. Even if or when algorithms could handle all science, someone will need to program the algorithms, test and improve them. Though a quality algorithm is in place, it will still need to be maintained to make sure everything is running as anticipated or to improve upon learnings. In fact, Twitter already employs humans to help machines make sense of the information they're aggregating, to ensure its accuracy and the context of suggested content makes sense for every user.
Further, Artificial Intelligence can't read emotions and interact with different stakeholders. Banking is an industry that relies on relationships when it comes to large transactions or fraud prevention. Personalized service is critical for many industries, such as consulting, which means the human touch will hardly be replaced by a bunch of Wall-Es. Managers leading projects through many moving pieces, stakeholders, deadlines, and budgets will still be needed to make decisions.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, accountants, forensic scientists, geological technicians, technical writers, MRI operators, dietitians, financial specialists, web developers, psychologists, loan officers, medical secretaries, and customer service representatives can all expect a positive impact of the adoption of Artificial Intelligence.
Factors impacting the adoption of AI and automation
Very few occupations can be 100% automated at the current level of technological advancements. As the machines get more advanced, the adoption of automation will pick up, but even if it's technically possible to automate a work process, it might not be the best way forward.
The cost of developing and deploying automation is still high, and skilled workers might still be less expensive than automation. More factors that come into play are access to high-speed mobile internet and the development of cloud and other technologies.
All things considered, the future might be most accurately portrayed in the Academy Award-winning movie Ex-Machina, where a programmer is hired to perform tests on an intelligent humanoid robot. Machines will be intertwined with humans at the workplace, and if you embrace new technology and adapt your skill set, you'll have more jobs to choose from then than you could have every dreamed of.
Three considerations for employers
1) Break down job functions into task fractions and determine which tasks can be automated and transition employees’ time to more rewarding tasks.
2) Define the process requirements for automation, clarify the inputs and expected outputs, then create the necessary documentation.
3) Change is inevitable. And without it, progress is impossible. Implement a mindset with an embrace-the-change culture.
If you want to learn more about how to automate mundane tasks within your finance department, download the 10 ways to streamline AP e-book.