The impact of automation technologies is already being felt all throughout the economy across the world. There is a steep rise in the number of industrial robots in use over the last few months. With prices of robots falling, that can operate all round the clock without interruption, make these robots competitive in terms of cost, as compared to humans. Algorithms are able to execute actions within a fraction of a second which is obviously way faster than any human.
While these technologies become cheaper, a lot more widespread and capable, they are bound to find a lot more applications in the economy. Some experts suggest that the most recent trend towards heightened automation partially stems from the Great Recession that got a lot of businesses to continue operations with few workers. Once growth resumed, a lot of businesses started automating their operations instead of hiring new employees. The trend continued, especially in the technology sector that received huge valuations with lesser workers. A good example would be Google – in 2014, the company was valued at $370 billion with just 55,000 employees. This is just a tenth of AT & T’s employee strength during the 1960s.
A technology expert predicted that robots could replace half of all jobs within the next ten years. A PwC study talks about how 38% of jobs in the US will be at a high risk of getting replaced by AI in the coming 15 years.
On the other hand, most experts in the IT industry strongly believe that AI will revolutionize the job scenario rather than making it all about firing. As per a research study by Gartner, Machine learning and Artificial Intelligence is all set to cause the disappearance of 1.8 million jobs by the year 2020. But, here is the good news – they are also set to create 2.3 million new jobs! Where you fall within the spectrum of the killed/create gulf depends on how you can upskill, evolve and adapt. Those working in core technologies are most likely to see changes that are sweeping. For several years now, analysts have foretold that the algorithms of machine learning can eventually take over a large number of tasks that are presently carried out by technology experts which includes cyber security monitoring and some basic level programming.
Technology displaces AND creates jobs. While the roles of computers evolve in workplaces, employees need to evolve their own roles as well.
Here’s how to do that:
While the AI take over tasks can free up resources in companies who can now focus on more creative tasks, professionals presently engaged in those jobs will need to think about how to evolve in the coming years. An avid researcher in the field, the VP of Gartner, Svetlana Sicular points out that now is the best time to impact your long term AI direction. For optimal value, companies need to focus on augmenting professionals with AI enrich people’s jobs. They need to re-imagine old tasks and create fresh industries. One has got to transform culture in order to make it agile and adaptable to AI related opportunities or threats.
On an individual level as an IT professional, one should learn as much as possible about the technology that is entering your specific field. One must stay updated on trends, emerging technologies and tools, and become experimental on trying them all out. And then think about where the human element is still relevant. Those who want to work with AI must explore the necessary programming languages and skillset that includes R, Python and machine learning.
There are several specialized courses like the AI and Machine Learning courses from IIHT which can prepare one for what is coming. Experts predict that AI augmentation will make $2.9 trillion in terms of business value, with a worker productivity of 6.2 billion hours by the year 2021. Increase of AI will actually free up a lot of techies from repetitive tasks, but this could also mean a career ender to some. The sooner businesses adapt to the AI augmentation wave, the more entrenched they will be!