Artificial Intelligence: More to Offer than Take Away

Developments in computing technologies have led to major breakthroughs in the area of artificial intelligence (AI). Amid these developments, there has been a lot of talk and anxiety regarding the rise of artificial intelligence and its increasing integration into everyday life. People in the workforce have been feeling insecure about potential significant changes in their work environments; the main concern being that machines/computer systems will displace workers. While these concerns are certainly valid, it’s not all doom and gloom where job opportunities are concerned; instead of jobs being cut down, experts are convinced that artificial intelligence will present new opportunities for people to upskill themselves and explore exciting career avenues within the field; AI will replace tasks, not jobs. 

What Exactly is Artificial Intelligence?

“Artificial intelligence” is a term that was coined in 1956, but it has recently increased in popularity due to growing data volumes, advanced algorithms, and developments in computing power and storage. Sometimes referred to as machine intelligence, AI is the duplication of human intelligence processes such as reasoning, learning, translation of languages, and self-correction by machines/computer systems; these machines mimic cognitive functions that are associated with human minds. Machine division, expert systems and speech recognition are some of the particular applications of artificial intelligence. AI makes it possible for machines to learn from experience, adjust to new inputs and perform human-like tasks. Thus, computers are given the ability to execute specific tasks by processing large amounts of data and identifying patterns in the data. Often, particularly in movies and novels, artificial intelligence is depicted as human-like robots on a rampage, but the growth of these technologies isn’t as bizarre; instead, the evolution of AI presents particular benefits for varying industries.

Concerns Regarding the Emergence and Evolution of AI

“Simply put, jobs that robots can replace are not good jobs in the first place. As humans, we climb up the rungs of drudgery — physically tasking or mind-numbing jobs — to jobs that use what got us to the top of the food chain, our brains.” — The Wall Street Journal, The Robots Are Coming. Welcome Them.

It’s no secret that artificial intelligence and automation will have a transformative impact on our world and cause major changes in the workforce. Technology-driven societal changes arouse concern and fear amongst people, and it’s not hard to understand why when you consider past reactions to initial advances of automation—mass unemployment and social unrest. Research suggests that artificial intelligence could replace about 30% of jobs by 2030, forcing people to change careers. There’s no doubt that jobs will be affected by AI and automation, but the positive side to it is that humans can explore new opportunities that come with AI and, as challenging as it may be, they can consider completely different professions, which offers a level of excitement and opportunities for self-development. There is something liberating about pursuing careers that offer a deeper sense of purpose and well-being and tapping into industries that challenge us and nudge us forth to progress in life, leave us with a feeling of belonging; this is what a satisfying job encompasses. With the foregoing in mind, it is safe to say that artificial intelligence has more to offer than it threatens to take away if we, of course, make the best of the transitional phase.

The Good News

Additional research on the impact of AI and automation on the workforce reveals some good news; most notably, artificial intelligence will likely create more jobs than it will displace. There are many reasons to stay positive about artificial intelligence and automation, and their prominence in society. Experts suggest that executives should focus on reducing boring jobs that AI and machines can perform, rather than fretting about potential job losses. This shift in focus allows humans to be hands-on with more higher-level work. The impact of automating certain aspects of jobs will increase productivity as workers will complement their skills with those of machines; this will allow humans to pay more attention to parts of the job that need their attention the most.

Experts advise that, in order for us to benefit from artificial intelligence and automation, whatever issue that arises must be tackled at an educational and business level; where education is concerned, students need to be trained on roles that are directly linked to AI. Subjects such as mathematics, science, technology and engineering need to be emphasised, as well as those subjects that motivate and shape creative, social and emotional skills.

Where repetitive tasks are concerned, artificial intelligence will prove to be far more useful and productive, but machines will always be outperformed by humans in work that requires imagination, creativity and relationship-building. We are all aware of the potential changes that artificial intelligence will bring to our world but instead of being fearful of the ‘animal’ that is automation, we can be more embracing of and receptive to the new technologies so that their implementation fittingly complements human intelligence.