The hype: Artificial intelligence is becoming so smart that machines and software will soon be taking over all of our jobs.
The other hype: Rather than replace human workers, AI is going to augment the workforce moving us away from tedious, labor-intensive jobs and into more quality creative and intellectually stimulating work.
The reality: It's too soon to tell the true impact of AI on jobs – whether it will bring about a new industrial revolution or lay waste to the human workforce. And even then the reality will probably fall somewhere in the middle.
In actuality, what impact AI is having on jobs depends on a number of factors: whom you ask; what industry you're talking about; and how far into the future you're willing to look ahead. A 2017 study by technology consulting group, Capgemini, suggested that not only is AI not destroying jobs, it is actually creating them, with banking and retail being the industries most impacted. Analysts at Gartner have made similar predictions and said that by the year 2020 AI will have eliminated 1.8 million jobs, but it will have created 2.3 million jobs.
Robotics companies will tell you that machines are definitely displacing human workers, but only in the sorts of repetitive, menial tasks that humans would rather not be doing anyway. Further, they will tout that this displacement is allowing human workers to move up to higher level positions that are more dynamic and carry more responsibility.
On the flip side to this, a 2017 report by Gallup predicted that 37% of millennials are at a high risk of having their job replaced by some form of automation. A January 2017 report by the McKinsey Global Institute suggested that half of today’s jobs could be automated sometime between 2035 and 2055, depending on various technological and economic factors. However, the McKinsey report also acknowledges, “The pace of automation, and thus its impact on workers, will vary across different activities, occupations, and wage and skill levels.”
We also know it will be some time before AI can make any valid attempt at taking over any tasks that requires skills like intuition and creativity. Attempts at having AI craft original fiction, for example, have been laughable at best. Your job may go away, it may not, but it may very certainly change at some point in your lifetime due to AI. Depending on your occupation, your career doomsday may vary.
[image source: Rethink Robotics]