The Future of AI on Employment

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There lies ahead an exciting future in terms of the AI developments that we’ll see in our lifetime, both immediately and certainly within the next decade.

“Chinese factory replaced 90% of it’s workforce with robotic labour”

Johnny Five from the Short Circuit film series

Robotics are nothing new in reality and for me the first thought that comes to mind is Hollywood’s gold hero ‘Johnny Five’ of Short Circuit fame. His quick learning abilities were of course astounding, but one factor stood firm – he was to much extent reliant on humans. In 2015, a Chinese factory replaced 90% of it’s workforce with robotic labour – this is now common ground for factories churning out repeatable product lines where accuracy and reduced defects are greatly desired.

For other businesses honing their workforce, AI offers a potentially lucrative future, with recent reports from Accenture suggesting a boost of 40% to productivity within the next 20 years (2035). This could become the biggest technological shift since the move to basic computing, many years before I was born.

Does this mean we could be heading towards a future of high unemployment?  If AI has the potential to replace larger percentages of FTE in businesses, then this could be a real possibility. Give for example, AI firm IPsoft and their digital employee offering ‘Amelia‘ already being used by some large banking firms.

“human roles being made redundant”

A cashier-less ‘amazon go’ store

In 2012, I was actively involved with the deployment of a voice-recognition “operator” for a local council that resulted in a human roles being made redundant because it was so successful. Supermarkets have cashier free self service stations and Amazon have opened their futuristic food stores with no checkouts in the US. AI is no longer the future, but already very much with us.

Our future is certainly heading towards automation, intelligent AI and is very exciting, but there must be some worry for those in roles where AI could replace them in an instant!  We shouldn’t look over our shoulders but rather embrace these technologies in our respective industries – there are huge opportunities out there!

What do you see as the biggest opportunities and/or threats in your industry?