Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Jobs
From the earliest days of civilization, man, as a single thinker on earth, sought to reduce the need for physical work by inventing tools. First came the wheel and the transportation of food over farther distances with less manpower. We have been taught to evolve by creating more with less effort. For many, this was negative in the short term. Those who were once freight carriers lost their jobs. The wheel was invented around 3000 BC. You might think I’m crazy to start a technological discussion about this historical moment, but the historical reference is useful to be made in order to demystify the discussion, and to then further analyze the data we have.
Moving forward some years later, at the start of the industrial revolution, millions of people protested in the streets of England and the United States against the introduction of weaving machinery. On the surface, the “destruction” of jobs seemed quite high. However, in truth, these jobs were never really destroyed, but rather professionally reformed. Factories, with a drastic boost in production, were increasing the salaries of those who adapted to the machinery while simultaneously reducing their overhead costs. Both countries’ wealth grew as a result due to increases in disposable income for families, and more jobs created to support the burgeoning count weaving and spinning industry. Indeed, the number of people employed in weaving jumped from 7,900 to over 320,000 after the invention of the weaving machine.
Now after a little history revision, let’s return to the present to take a look at AI and the future of jobs.
Recently PWC, one of the world’s largest consultants, launched a global study in which they estimated that artificial intelligence in the UK will replace 20% of today’s jobs within the next 20 years. However, they also estimated that artificial intelligence will create just as many jobs as it replaces. Sectors at high risk include law, finance, insurance, drivers and white-collar workers. Areas like education, science, information, communication and computing are among those that will be most valued in the future.
AI as the standout of modern businesses
From automation to data analysis, AI is changing the modern job landscape. Few industries today can escape the influence of AI on its job market, however, there are several that have recently been influenced the most. Let’s take a closer look at them.
Cybersecurity is one of the top industries in which AI is seriously influencing jobs, both in terms of skills needed to fill current jobs and the creation of new ones. As cybercrime becomes increasingly advanced, AI is being used by cybercriminals in cases of fraud and other breaches of security. As a result, jobs in this industry are beginning to require a strong understanding of AI and how it can be used to fight these sophisticated attacks.
On the other side, AI and ML should be incorporated into robust cybersecurity strategies for companies of all sizes, creating jobs within this industry for data scientists, machine learning engineers, data analysts and other AI professionals.
Artificial Intelligence is most obviously changing jobs in healthcare through its automation capabilities. Many jobs in healthcare are very manual, requiring hours of time spent on administrative, repetitive work. Because of this, AI is set to influence jobs in the industry in a big way. With automation, tasks that used to take hours can be handled in a matter of minutes, freeing up time for healthcare workers to instead focus on higher level tasks. This will surely change the scope of many future jobs in healthcare, and will require more advanced digital skills, but will also create jobs for people who know how to manage operational systems.
With the ability to produce valuable insights from data in a much shorter time period than when done manually, AI is truly transforming the business intelligence industry, and along with it, jobs and opportunities. Data analyst and other jobs within business intelligence are becoming much more efficient with the use of AI, allowing for the quicker production of insights, leaving more time for business intelligence professionals to extract better insights, make more information recommendations and come up with better ways to communicate all this to the rest of the organization.
AI and ML are improving the manufacturing industry in a variety of ways. Automation is reducing manual labor requirements, making room for skilled workers to focus on quality, rather than quick production. One of the biggest impacts is and will continue to be on safety of the job, as AI and ML enhance safety procedures, improve protocols and overall make jobs within manufacturing safer.
What skill do AI and future jobs require?
Between hard and soft skills, there are several refined skillsets that AI jobs of the future will require. Here are a few of them:
Hard skills needed for AI jobs of the future
Python, R and Java are some of the top languages in demand, however this list is far from complete. To be successful in an AI job of the future, professionals must be comfortable using different programming languages, and be open to quickly learning new ones.
Strong domain expertise
Whether it’s advanced data analytics or deep neural networks, for professionals in AI to find jobs in the future, they must hone their specific domain expertise. Becoming a specialist in one area of AI will be a big competitive advantage in the job market of the future, as companies look to fill specific roles with deep knowledge of that area.
Algebra, statistics, and other math knowledge
Technical skills in mathematics is a top requirement to land a job in AI in the future. AI professionals will be required to understand algebra, statistics, probabilities and other hard math skills to be able to execute effectively in a technical role.
Soft skills to hone for a future job in AI
Looking at soft skills needed for a future job in AI, the one that stands out the most is communication. And more specifically, the ability to communicate ideas and technical needs and capabilities in a way that is easy for non-technical people to understand. As more jobs are created within AI, professionals need to be able to communicate easily and effectively with the rest of the business, getting buy-in from stakeholders and other departments within the organization to successfully execute AI projects.
Another key soft skills is to possess a growth mindset and actively seek out opportunities to learn. AI and ML move fast, and professionals within this industry need to constantly move, learn and grow as well.
As a side effect in being in a growing and quickly changing industry, many of the roles, responsibilities and possibilities for AI professionals remain fluid and a little undefined. This is why creativity, and the ability to think outside of the box will be a big advantage for an AI professional.
AI and future jobs
Nowadays, from the moment we wake up and look at our mobile phones, until the moment we lay down and check our Facebook feed for the last time, we’re in constant contact with artificial intelligence that gives us the kind of information that allows us to make better decisions. We need to accelerate the transformation of educational systems, adapting them to the new realities of the fourth technological revolution with a particular focus on programming disciplines. We also need to find ways to support professional training programs that respond to the demands of the labor market.
Ultimately, there is no future in which machines will be able to replace what binds human beings: creativity, intuition and love. At the end of the day, perhaps AI will make us even more human.