Is AI here for your job?
THE EDITOR, Madam:
Artificial Intelligence (AI) has made significant progress over the last few decades, and its impact on the job market is evident. However, while some view AI as a tool to enhance human capabilities and increase productivity, others are worried that AI could lead to job displacement or even replacement.
First, understand that AI is not a single technology and that we have been using AI for years. What is new is generative AI, which is based on large language models. Second, AI is a collection of various subfields, such as deep-learning neural networks, machine learning, natural language processing, and robotics. Even separately, the subfields can automate many tasks currently performed by humans. In the past, this led to job displacement; however, humans also benefited due to enhanced capabilities and new job opportunities.
The World Economic Forum (WEF) posits that similar concerns regarding AI and automation causing job displacement were raised in the dotcom era, yet the Internet created millions of jobs in the US and comprised 10 per cent of its GDP. Moreover, a report by the WEF estimates that by 2025, automation and AI could displace 85 million jobs globally but create 97 million new ones. A PwC report suggests that 63 per cent of CEOs believe AI will significantly impact the growth of the global economies more than the Internet. WEF noted that the impact of automation depends on how the transition is managed. As such, AI will not completely replace humans in the workforce, but, instead, augment human capabilities. It is, however, essential to note the new opportunities for those who can adapt and reskill.
MANAGE THE INTEGRATION
A study by PwC suggests that AI could increase global GDP by up to 14 per cent by 2030, equivalent to $15.7 trillion. This economic growth could create new job opportunities in the healthcare, education, and professional services sectors. WEF Future of Jobs Report 2020 indicated that employers expect over 70 per cent of employees to reskill or upskill by 2025.
Some jobs are more susceptible to automation than others. For example, jobs involving routines and repetitive tasks are likely to be automated, while jobs requiring creativity, problem-solving, and social intelligence are less likely to be automated. A report by McKinsey noted that 30 per cent of jobs globally could be automated by 2030, but the impact will vary depending on countries and occupations.
Finally, AI is here to stay, and its impact on human jobs is inevitable, as some jobs may be displaced. However, there exist excellent job-creation opportunities, with higher- paying jobs available. For humans to be equitable and be part of the new AI-driven economy, policymakers, businesses, and individuals must work together to reskill and upskill the workforce, especially those in jobs vulnerable to automation. Ultimately, AI is not here for our jobs, and the impact of AI depends on how we manage the integration with humans.
DAVE WATSON, PhD
CEO of Tred Laboratories Limited