Global sourcing trends

Artificial Intelligence – Will it Affect or Improve Jobs?

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It might sound like something out of a science fiction novel, but a world full of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and robots is not right around the corner, it’s here. In many industries, it is an everyday reality. The pace of AI development is astounding. Google project robots will reach levels of human intelligence by 2029, and Information Technology (IT) research firm Gartner projects that by 2025, one-third of people jobs will be replaced by smart machines and robots. As AI advances, concern is growing among people that it is not just low-skilled jobs but white-collar jobs that could also be displaced.

What is AI?     
AI is a way of composing a computer, software, or a computer- controlled robot think smartly, in a similar manner a smart human thinks.
AI is achieved by researching how human brain thinks and how humans work, learn, and decide while dealing with a problem, and then using the outcomes of this research as a basis for developing smart software and systems.
The evolution of AI started with the purpose of creating identical intelligence in machines that we find and regard high in humans.

There has always been uncertainty about the effect of technology on society – be it in earlier times regarding electricity, cars, and railways or now about cell-phones, smart devices, and internet dominating human lives.

Some jobs are routine in nature, whereas others need human capabilities like judgement and social skill. So more routine the job is, the more it gets automated. However, it doesn’t every time mean that the job would be affected. Instead, it can complement the routine functions allowing the employees to focus on aspects that need attention, which in turn will increase their overall efficiency and productivity.

Industries being most affected by AI

Healthcare: Major pharmaceutical and medical companies are already utilizing the capabilities of AI. Johnson and Johnson’s Sedasys system has obtained Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval to automatically provide anaesthesia for standard procedures like colonoscopies. A doctor injects multiple patients at once, reducing the cost much less than a human anaesthesiologist. There are also various robots in different stages of testing and approval for diagnosing disease. In some cases, such as with IBM’s Watson, these AI machines have a greater accuracy rate for diagnoses than human doctors.

Manufacturing: Manufacturing was one of the first industries to harness AI. It used robots to assemble and pack products for shipment. New robotic developments will be able to assemble more complicated items, such as cars, electronics, and even homes. We are headed towards a largely robotic manufacturing industry while still many AI-driven production lines will need human supervision and support.

Transportation: The technology behind self-driving cars can be applied to delivery drivers, public transportation, and more, mitigating traffic congestion, decreasing accident risks, and lowering energy costs. Self-driving cars early production from companies like Tesla, Google, and Uber are expected to be on the market by 2018.

Customer Service: AI is more efficient than ever in customer service due to developments in human interaction and personalization. DigitalGenius uses automated customer service and helps companies automate basic text question and answer chats of customers and even harness machine learning and natural language processing to create reactionary, friendly robots which mimic human speech patterns to provide service that is quick and easy for consumers and less expensive for companies.

Finance: With a rapid increase in amount of financial data, many financial services companies are choosing AI to keep up with demand. Robots can use market data predictive systems to forecast stock trends and manage finances, usually much quicker than their human counterparts. Even financial advice is getting automated, with an emerging trend towards “robo-advisors” which automatically delivers suggestions and advice to financial clients, especially to those with relatively simple financial problems. Robots can use a variety of algorithms to provide recommendations to meet clients’ investment, saving, and spending habits.

Consumers and workers of these industries will no doubt see huge changes in the coming years. By planning and forecasting for AI growth, customers and companies should be able to make the AI transition as smooth as possible.

Low and high skilled jobs have been less exposed to automation so far. The low skilled job categories considered having the best prospects over the next decade include gardening, janitorial work, food service, security, and childcare. Robots may be able to fulfil these roles at some point, but there’s little incentive to roboticize these tasks, as there are humans willing to do them for low wages.
Blue collar and white collar jobs will be affected to an extent, essentially anything that requires middle-skills. This will leave low-skilled jobs and high-skilled jobs which will need high levels of education and training. People in the middle-skilled jobs category would prefer to move to the high-skilled roles with significant education and training.

There’s no assurance that more jobs will be created than are destroyed by automation and AI. Even if there are more jobs created, those jobs will require better education and re-skilling.
The progression of automation and AI is unavoidable and these technologies have the potential to be incredible tools to lift up all of humanity and augment current jobs. But that’s only if right steps are taken towards such a future.
Conversations about AI, education, and universal basic income should happen and actions must be taken to proactively shape the future before it arrives and it’s too late.

For more insights on the impact of AI and automation, check out Supply WisdomSM AlertsRequest a free trial to see how we can help you stay up-to-date on latest trends and be more proactive about monitoring and managing risks across your global locations and suppliers.