As thrilling as the subject of artificial intelligence is, quite a number of people are still skeptical about the field itself and are of the opinion that AI is just here to take away their jobs. That, of course, is true, but sometimes there is more to the truth than we are prepared to realize.
The Ascent of Artificial Intelligence
A decade ago, the concept of Artificial Intelligence and its capabilities were still very much under the radar—if there was a ‘radar’ then. The radar, of course, was a few institutions and companies with the resources and access to data and equally skilled professionals as well, such as Google and Microsoft.
Artificial Intelligence has been the stuff of sci-fi movies, and well, it still is. Except it is very well creeping into our society. ‘Creeping' of course, is a word that couldn't be more wrong. AI is announcing itself to the world with aplomb, and it is seamlessly integrating into our lives even before the less interested of us can point out that this is artificial intelligence in play.
Google has been at the forefront of artificial intelligence for years now, along with Facebook and a host of other key companies too. While for many, the definition of Artificial Intelligence would have been the swift talking Jarvis in Iron Man or the badass face and voice recognition in the Matrix trilogy, the realization of even more complex AI tasks is closer than we think.
Smart Electronic whiteboards making intelligent auto-corrections were a feature in many sci-fi crime movies and were particularly used in the popular Hunger Games movies. At the time of release, those features seemed far off and were expected to be in realization in at least a decade. It wouldn't take more than a year though to have Google's search engine become just as smart as that, however.
The field of artificial intelligence is still taking its cue from movies as more realizations and developments continue to be unveiled by the day. This perhaps what is scaring people—the movie part. It looks like we are mostly headed towards a very much popular apocalypse, and it ends with a Terminator-esque world of machines taking over everything. Our jobs. Our ways of life. Our world.
So Are our Jobs the Next?
If we follow the expected progression, our jobs are the next thing AI is gunning for. What comes after would be our way of life. Would be an automated Alexa selling us a Tim Tam or MacDonald Burger. Would be our favorite receptionist being replaced by a gruff monotonic voice saying a ‘Hi’ that just perfectly echoes our day—monotonous. But before all these, is the matter of our jobs.
For years, companies and industries have been fiddling with the concept of automated workers and employees, capable of completing human-associated tasks not only well but far more efficiently. And as it comes to it, there is perhaps nothing more efficient than machines.
Machines do not complain or tire out. Machines, of course, do not take holidays or ask for a raise or strike or do any anti-employer activities. If machines could do the works requiring human intelligence and senses just as good or even better, they would undoubtedly be an employer’s dream. This is true, of course, but it is not all that it is to the truth.
AI is Not All Doom and Gloom
AI might be here to take our jobs, but it is also here to create more jobs! According to a recent World Economic Forum, AI is bound to create more than 130 million new job roles in 2025, despite the fact that it could potentially wipe 78 million jobs out of existence.
While self-driving services such as truck delivery could become the norm in half a decade time, it is not all roles that would be ably fit by machines. Quite a number of services require excellent salesmanship to go along with productivity; machines, however, are obviously incapable of that. The question of whether they would ever be is of keen debate. What remains, however, clear is that AI would allow humans to be employed in intentional areas with a focus on maximizing productivity.
Instead of waiting hours spotting defects on production lines, they could better do something more worthwhile and hence more productive. This means there would be required retraining and up training. There would be new jobs entirely focused on maximizing results and output offered by smart machines.
It is a whole new world altogether. A brave new world. And one that is not void of opportunities.