Artificial Intelligence (AI) is seen as a killer of jobs. Experts and technologists blow whistles that AI would replace jobs and humans; however, this seems to be a myth, though a popular one.
Let’s scratch our heads and dive deep into the subject to separate fiction from facts.
What is Artificial Intelligence
Artificial Intelligence (AI) refers to creating intelligence artificially in machines. This is done so that the machines could think like humans and perform their actions based on the programming.
A few examples of AI include chatbots, google maps, facial recognition systems, Alexa, social media feeds. It is now part and parcel of our life.
At present, people are concerned that robots would replace them. They cite examples of robots being in use at a large scale. For instance, Amazon has over 2,00,000 robots. Let’s bust this myth.
AI Will Not replace Humans and kill Jobs
Coming back to our question of whether AI would replace or kill jobs or not?
A simple answer to this question is no.
Ever since AI is being ingrained into our everyday lives, experts are worried about costs of it. They admit that at one end AI is easing us, however, it might prove a social burden in terms of unemployment.
To answer the question comprehensively, let’s dive deep into the history.
When the industrial age ushered in, people were worried about their jobs and future. Industrialists installed machines which replaced hand-made items. At first people used to knit the clothes but machines did it for them.
Same goes with the writing industry. Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press in 15th century. At that time and in days to come, writers were left worried about their future. A machine was there to get the things done. Fast forward to today and we have seen offset printing and computerized digital printing. We are now in the age of 3-D printing.
What has changed over the years is the fact that innovation is constant. We don’t have professional writers now a days and printers have replaced them. But where are the writers now. The answer is that the writers breathed their last and their next generations equipped themselves with latest trends and skills. We don’t miss the old typewriters which printed on spot, without the facility of edits.
Let’s tackle the question through research. The U.S president, Lyndon B Johnson was presented with a report titled ‘The Triple Revolution’. It was published in 1964 and talked about three revolutions:
- The Cybernation Revolution
- The Weaponry Revolution
- The Human Rights Revolution
In ‘The Cybernation Revolution’, experts warned about less human labor. It stated:
Jobs are disappearing under the impact of highly efficient, progressively less costly machines.
The report was published by over 30 authors and besides other points, it warned about less human labor in future due to technological changes. If we look at the US society and global society, we come to realize that more jobs have been created. In fact some jobs have been killed, like of writers, but new jobs have been created.
For example, there was no concept of coders, programmers, graphics designers, data scientists, illustrators, voice over artists and many other professionals some 100 years ago; however, a small AI project almost involves all of these professionals now.
Let’s consider another example of the gaming industry in this regard. Back when DOS was the leader, gamers created a program involving limited number of professionals. Now it takes voice talent, designer, sophisticated physics and a multi-million-dollar budget to come up with a simple game.
Now a days, we have dishwashers, clothes washers, blenders and other devices which have replaced humans. But these machines have given birth to a huge industry employing humans.
Moreover, it needs to be understood that Robots and AI need human ingenuity to be programmed first and robots can only be afforded by corporate giants like Ikea, Walmart or Amazon.
Furthermore, it is a fact that industries like insurance, warehouse and manufacturing jobs, customer service, research, long haul trucking would be affected; however, there are certain professions which can’t be replaced by robots. These include psychiatry, physical therapy, medical care, criminal defense law and fiction writing to name a few.
The World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report 2018 also stated that 133 million new jobs will be created by AI by the end of 2020. This shows that AI would replace humans in multiple sectors, however, it would be creating new jobs at the same time. Instead of worrying more about jobs being killed, humans need to reskill and upskill themselves. The tide of technology would sweep continents, however, those who invest in upskilling themselves would ride along.
Just as the world did not see consequences as pointed out by the Triple Revolution report, the world would see humans still superior than robots.
I would conclude this by saying:
“Smart machines will not eat smart humans”.