We are all looking at an exciting future. One where AI will play a significant part and help us improve the quality of our lives. There are two sides of this equation that we have to consider. One is the fact that everything will be running better and smoother without error. The other is the fact that in the near future, jobs are not going to be the same. Let us talk about this today.
Where AI stands today, it is quite a distance away from taking away our jobs from us, but make no mistake, AI will actually change the meaning of jobs and change it fundamentally. Enterprises are realizing the undeniable value-add and efficiency improvement that AI brings to the table and they are taking to AI big time. There are enterprises that are using AI in almost all important business functions as this article is being written. The functions that are seeing AI step in are not limited to just mundane and repetitive tasks, there are other functions that are seeing AI come in too.
So what does this mean? Do humans have to start fearing for massive job losses on the wake of rising AI adoption? Will we become a society of jobless people? How will our entire system that is built around us going to work, earning money and then buying things or services going change?
In January, a McKinsey & Company study found that about 30% of tasks in 60% of occupations could be computerized and last year, the Bank of England’s chief economist said that 80m US and 15m UK jobs might be taken over by robots. In 2013, a highly cited study by Oxford University academics called The Future of Employment examined 702 common occupations and found that some jobs – telemarketers, tax preparers and sports referees – are at more risk than others including recreational psychologists, dentists and physicians.
While it would be very premature to assume that all of us will be out of jobs in 20 years, we can very certainly be sure that it isn’t only the repetitive and rote jobs that AI will start assisting and eventually take over. There are AIs and robots that are now actively involved in more creative and “important” jobs than just simple ones. There is a robot that can attend events and blog about them. There is a robot that takes care of campus security for some enterprises and then there are robots that have actually been accepted as citizens of countries already.
So what can we do to be ready and what is going to change? The way we look at work is going to change and change big time. Today all of us have a max of two jobs we may see that changing first and we may have to juggle as many as 4 to 6 jobs at any given time. And mind you to even stay employed, we need to keep getting more and more creative at our areas of expertise and bring in unique value that is individual, in short we need to keep improving and adding our style to things. The whole job based economy will give way to a fully gig based economy where we will all be catering to the person-as-a-service model. More like we all become part of an AirBnB for people.
Not to forget the fact that the governments will have to come up with a plan to provide regular income to people. They key challenge to that will be arriving at a system that ranks people fairly to decide how much they get. And that is just the tip of the iceberg.
So going by the short discussion above, the future of jobs is all set to change in the near future and we as a race are going to have to come up with some major changes to adapt and evolve in light of that. What we need is essentially a paradigm shift in the way we look at jobs and the way we define our income. This will certainly have a lasting impact on our future as a race.