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AI and the Future of Work

AI and the Future of Work

Aug 28, 2019

Automation, transformation and now intelligent augmentation. Not unlike the land of the blind where the one eyed man is king, AI has achieved royalty status in both corporate and technology landscapes where any enterprise worth its salt is racing to embrace the “AI first” mindset in its business strategy. While manual processing has been relegated to the sidelines, proficiency in AI and ML has become the prized skill. A step up from the analysts of yesteryear.

AI has literally transformed the way we look at work at the fundamental level. This includes intelligent automation, transaction processing at multiples of the speed of humans, enhanced accuracy of up to 85% in business operations, and even suggested decision-making for managers.

But this is just the tip of the iceberg. Artificial Intelligence will have farther reaching consequences as it progresses through it’s natural technology growth cycle. According to industry experts, its far-reaching consequences will interweave to include the very fabric of employment and our work in organizations that employ us. While automation is not new, the marriage of intelligent automation with rapidly evolving artificial intelligence will go a long way in shaping the roles we play in our respective jobs.

However, let’s first bust the myth. Most industry experts agree that AI will complement to existing jobs, and not replace workers. In fact, the new generation of autonomous systems will free us from the burden of regular scheduled tasks, leaving us to deal with more complicated issues and people based interactions, with stakeholders, customers and employees. A McKinsey analysis of more than several hundred AI use cases revealed that a combination of traditional analysis and deep learning methods will help solve a myriad of more complicated business operations and strategic decision making, including budgeting, on a regular basis.

The same report found out that once deep learning techniques being deployed at the workplace could account for as much as $3.5 trillion to $5.8 trillion in annual value. This contributes to almost 40% of the total value created in organizations by analytics alone. We know that labor productivity in several economies have shrunk to 0.5% from 2.5% just a decade ago. Several industry experts foresee this productivity being picked up and enhanced further by the use of intelligent automation and AI by over 2% each year, over the next decade. That’s a massive 20% of the corporate world’s productivity, if not compounded.

According to research firm Gartner, AI will help create more jobs than it takes away. So what will the future of work look like? A recent study from 2017 points out that 60% of businesses can be automated within a span of the next five years. Gartner predict's that AI will create more jobs than it displaces by 2020, opening up new rules and new verticals and businesses that were hitherto unimaginable to us

The Future of Work in a Nutshell

For human workers the writing is on the wall. Upskill and get on board this transformation, or be left by the wayside, (which is not really an option, all things considered.) Human workers will move onto more people centric and strategic decision making roles, augmented by analytics and different AI tools, like adaptive business forecasting and decision tree workflows. People skills will come to the fore, and strategic thinking will emerge as another area of expertise that will be valued.

According to publication powerhouse Forbes, “AI will affect every sector” in some way. However, not all employees are at risk of losing their jobs for now. In fact, a PwC reports that job losses directly attributed to the advent of AI may constitute only 3% of the workforce.

But that’s for the ones not affected.

What about the actual growth opportunities in this global transformation?

The Real Gainers in the AI Tsunami

Skilled AI engineers are the ones who will weather this coming wave of rapid AI first adoption and stand to gain the most, not only by the top dollars they will command in the global employment market, but in terms of the sheer impact they will have on businesses and entire economies as well. According to a ZipRecruiter fresh-off-the-shelves on the future of work in an AI enhanced workplace, however, according to the report, AI jobs will not affect middle and tech savvy upper middle class Americans as it is portrayed in popular media. In fact, the report states that there has a been a humongous growth as a consequence of the seemingly insatiable appetite of top AI engineering talent in both tech corporations who create Ai products, alongside other corporations who are investing heavily in their AI initiatives. Here’s a closer look at the key highlights of the report.

Top In-Demand Skills in AI

Machine Learning Engineers - This skill segment saw the second highest growth in 2018, bettered only by core AI engineering skillsets. With an astonishing 188% growth in job postings, machine learning engineers are second on the list and placing them first here only seeks to emphasize the need for core AI skilled engineers.

AI Engineers - The demand for AI engineers grew a staggering 379% YoY in 2018, according to job postings on ZipRecruiter. This is further supported by data from almost all other job portals in the market today, highlighting the urgent need of the skill by employers.

Automation - This formed the third highest segment of increased job postings on job platforms up to mid-2019. Automation engineers work closely with the other mentioned skillsets to automate several business operational tasks and reduce human intervention. A YoY growth of 89% adequately sums up the need for augmenting all enterprise AI initiatives with automation for further enhancement to business processes.

The future of work is AI and Automation driven, with humans doing what they’ve always been meant to do- supervise and interact with stakeholders. An EY survey also recently reiterated the fact that 80% of organizations cite the lack of qualified AI engineers as the sole hurdle in their AI initiatives. That itself makes the case, combined with the ZipRecruiter research report that 83% of organizations are looking to for AI engineers across sectors as diverse as healthcare, biotech, manufacturing and finance to accelerate their initiatives, and are considering rigorous, world class certifications to make their hiring decisions about candidates.

The fallout is the skills shortage, and the biggest beneficiaries will be the first movers who get certified and eventually become project leads while their peers catch on. Step up your game in AI with ARTIBA today!

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