ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE AND EFFECT ON JOBS
Artificial Intelligence is arguably the most looked forward technology in the world right now, but at the same time, it is equally criticized. The world has already started to witness the good it is doing, but what awaits is its negative impact. Many technology experts and technocrats have raised their concerns about the jobs Artificial Intelligence is going to take over. They say that the only unique quality left in the humans that a machine doesn’t have is the power of intelligence. And if that power is given to a machine, then what would be the importance of a human left in the world? They even regard it as a “threat” to the society.
So is Artificial Intelligence really a threat to us? Let’s find out.
What it the Artificial Intelligence?
In the simplest of words, Artificial Intelligence is the technology that gives machines the power to think and react according to the situation, just like humans. Of course, the term has a lot in it besides this, but this is what it is broadly. The main functions or say, goals of Artificial Intelligence include planning, learning, reasoning, knowledge, perception, natural language processing and ability to move and manipulate objects.
Contemplating Artificial Intelligence
Let’s put it forward, the time when Transformers will be ruling the world is nowhere is the picture in the near future. It is probably many decades till we reach there. But on a small scale, not Transformers but like machines are taking over the jobs of humans. But what kind of jobs? Can a machine practically do all the things that humans can? And if yes, what will humans do then?
The questions are never-ending. But what can be precisely said is, Artificial Intelligence is not meant for being a hazard to humans. The idea is and will always be to help assist humans in jobs that are too unidirectional or too tiresome for humans to do.
Technology doesn’t advance linearly, it advances exponentially! And with this exponential advancement, comes great responsibility. The responsibility for handling those advancements and making sure it doesn’t affect negatively to the society, which seems somewhat happening in the present scenario.
Talking about employment in general, automation affects employment in two opposing ways:
• Positively – by increasing the demand for labour in other industries or jobs that arise due to automation (productivity effect)
• Negatively – by directly displacing workers from tasks they were previously performing (displacement effect)
Both the effects have been observed, but not on an equal scale.
Productivity Effect (an optimistic approach)
As the famous Roboticist Rodney Brooks said, “Artificial Intelligence is a tool, not a threat.” And this seems to be true in the present scenario. Reviewing recent research and economic analyses we see that there is no consensus on the impact of automation on employment. If we rely on data, it says that Artificial Intelligence will create more jobs than it takes over. According to a study conducted by The Networking and Information Technology Research and Development Program (NITRD), Artificial Intelligence will affect only 11% of jobs by the end of 2020, and will create almost the equal amount. While robots could lead to job losses, they could also present opportunities for workers to move into more fulfilling and productive roles. The nature of the job may change, but the overall requirement will cumulatively be the same.
Yes, people have to get advanced and learn some new skills to fulfill the requirements, but they believe that people are smart and will eventually work it out to move with the technology. The education system will have to be revived and more technical knowledge will have to be given to the future generation, but still, it’s not a straight and narrow road.
And besides the effects on the job, we should also look at the revolutionary changes it has brought in almost every sector of work. You name it, and Artificial Intelligence or say, Automation is there. The people supporting Artificial Intelligence make their point by claiming that humans get tired, a machine does not, humans can make drastic errors, a machine cannot, humans have humanistic demands but a machine will keep in running till it is made to do so. Endless arguments have been made, but at the center of it all, the point still remains the same. Is Artificial Intelligence a “threat” to humans!
Displacement Effect (a pessimistic approach)
We can talk all we want about the positive impact of Artificial Intelligence, the negatives have always been on the front page. Look at it any way you want, arguments, statistics or opinions, all seems against it. But all this only happens to be true if we assume that the past is an accurate predictor of future.
Let’s look at some future predictions. AI companies say that 40% of jobs will be taken by machines by 2030. Another headline said, “One-third of the US workers could be jobless by 2030”. Most of the jobs from all the sectors that involve physical work will be taken over by automation. The jobs that would remain unaffected or will be at the lowest risk are education, health and social work, which require unique human skills and therefore will be less automatable. While the jobs under highest risk are transportation and storage, manufacturing and wholesale and retail trade, where manual routine tasks are more likely to get automated.
It is predicted that if the above scenario happens, then machines could be the one ruling us. The transformers could come true. But emphasize the word “predicted”. All these threats are just on a piece of paper right now, and nothing can be precisely said. But if nothing is done to improve the condition, it could lead to disastrous effects.
So after all this, the question still remains the same. Is Artificial Intelligence really a threat to us?
The answer to this depends on the type of approach you adopt to look into it. With an optimistic approach, it is the best technology ever created, but with a pessimistic approach, it could be the worst.
But the bottom line is, we should always look towards the positive points of anything, and if we do so, we could make our world a better place. But at the same time, Artificial Intelligence should be adopted in a controlled way.
Anyways, let’s keep all these talks for the future. Let’s enjoy this technological gift and take the best out of it.
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