Growth of AI Means We Need To Retrain Workers… Now
Picture a future where a robot suggests where to go for dinner, which meetings to take or which hotel you should stay at during an important client event. That’s just an example of the impact artificial intelligence (AI) can have on the ways we work and interact with one another.
When Apple first introduced Siri in 2011, it had just scratched the surface in terms of what was possible with AI, voice recognition and digital assistance. But as technology leaps forward, experts predict AI is now poised to transform business and our personal lives in more ways than we can imagine.
Why this sudden barrage of predictions about AI and its potential to change the world? Three recent breakthroughs moved artificial intelligence from the trivial days of Siri to where we are today:
Cheap parallel computing
Taken together, these three developments created the ideal conditions for AI to evolve.
As a result, AI made huge leaps in 2016. Amazon, IBM, Microsoft, Salesforce and several other tech giants released AI-powered applications last year. And analyst firm International Data Corp. now predicts revenue from AI-related hardware, software and services will jump from $8 billion in 2016 to $47 billion by 2020.
While an AI-based world offers many advantages, it also has some drawbacks. For example, analysts predict such technologies will eliminate some types of jobs – though there is little agreement on the enormity of that impact. A recent Forrester report predicted automation supported by intelligent software agents will account for the elimination of a net 6% of U.S. jobs over the next five years. Other organizations have predicted much higher and much lower numbers.
And while low-skill, assembly-line types of positions seem the obvious place for AI and automation to take over, white collar jobs could also be at stake. For example, Fukoku Mutual Life Insurance announced in January that it is replacing some human insurance claim workers with an artificial intelligence-based system. Fukoku said the system will replace 34 human insurance claim workers and save the company $1.1 million per year in salaries.
On the more positive side, AI could take over mundane, repetitive tasks and enable the workers who perform them to take on more interesting and rewarding work. But that will also mean many workers will need to be retrained. If you’re in a business where AI-based automation could be a potentially significant disruptor, then the time to invest in worker training and skill development is now. One could argue that AI will impact just about every industry. For example, in the financial services industry, we have already seen the creation of the robo advisor. While I don’t believe that the robo advisor will fully replace the human financial advisor because of the emotional aspects of investing, I do believe that it will play a part in the relationship with an advisor and his/her client.
Another potential solution to curbing mass worker disruption is re-thinking education. We need to keep pushing the envelope to ensure young people have the best shot at meaningful and long-lived careers. Though there are some notable exceptions, our education system still primarily trains students for the same types of jobs we’ve always had in the same ways we’ve always done them. We need to incorporate more technology, digital tools into children’s education so that they are prepared to control AI in their future jobs, not compete with it.
There are a few interesting attempts being made at this already. For example, IBM has promoted a new educational model that consists of six-year public high schools that combine conventional education with mentoring and on-the-job experience. IBM has been testing its new educational concept in New York over the last five years, with plans to eventually create 100 such schools nationwide. This type of effort will go a long way in helping us control AI in a way that improves our workforce, rather than decimating it.
This is not a time to be afraid of AI. Rather, let’s embrace the evolution of technology and artificial intelligence and use it to our advantage. We should find the best methods of how to use AI and incorporate them into our future daily lives. Here’s to hoping that change will be positive and fruitful!
Note : Article based on write-up contributed by Ryan Wibberley on Forbes.com
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