“Artificial Intelligence is the new electricity” a quote by Andrew Ng — former Baidu Chief Scientist and co-founder of Coursera gives a beautiful insight about what AI is and how it will impact our lives.
I would like to start by dissecting the topic of discussion. The first part is to establish what AI and unemployment really are and second being how closely co-related they are. A quick google search defines Artificial Intelligence as intelligence demonstrated by machines and a plethora of other similar meanings where machines seem to take intelligent decisions. On the other hand, unemployment is not that easy to define. However, the definition given by NSSO can be used for reference here i.e Unemployment occurs when a person who is actively searching for employment is unable to find work.
Now If we compare the data from birth of AI as a field in 1956 to today one can easily infer that the periods where the field of artificial intelligence has sky rocketed, the unemployment rate more or less hasn’t followed the same suit. An argument can be made during the current times but the numbers for the current period also tell the same story.
I would like to bring attention to how AI instead helps to create jobs. The World Economic Forum in 2020 forecasted a strong increase in AI jobs globally over the next 2 years, with new jobs per 10,000 opportunities increasing from 78 today to 123 in 2022.
And fortunately, one of the major sectors to benefit from this is Finance & Auditing. AI has enabled large pieces of the audit process to be automated, but it hasn’t reduced the number of people involved in the audit process. Professionals now can find patterns in the data they would otherwise not see and create better forecasting models. Other Industries adopting AI have seen reduced wastages and savings in time which ultimately making the economy more productive.
Another Argument can be drawn from the past. Jobs which could never be predicted are existing today because of technology. For Eg. Air Hostesses/Pilots, entire Airports and other jobs attached to Aviation industry were non-existent before we made Aeroplanes themselves.
So, what are some of the possible jobs that can be created by the AI revolution?
Jobs directly related like safety and maintenance engineers, machine designers, and ethics re-searchers are some examples. Specialized skills such as data analysis will be needed too.
Jobs indirectly related to AI will also expand, such as educational content related to such fields. Experts will also be in demand as all this needs knowledge and specialization.
And Finally, Humans will be able to focus on doing more rewarding work such as scientific discovery, problem solving, and innovative design. The decline of monotonous jobs will also allow for creative jobs to expand as people have more time to pursue less technical interests.”
Look We might think AI and computer advancements as something really scary but to be honest even with such leaps every year computers are nowhere close to having true intelligence as we possess. All this is because humans have something special, the ability to use knowledge.
Even the most advanced AI systems like IBM’s Watson has more knowledge than most humans, yet all its power is only ultimately used to help humans in decision making. Jobs in the field of Human Resource Management, Software Development, Public Relations and other creative fields cannot be automated. Ever
And lastly to conclude, Electricity might have replaced jobs in candle factories but I don’t think it has added to unemployment woes since.