Automation and AI - Job Losses and Job Change
Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Employment
Automation, AI, and technology are evolving at an exponential rate. Over the years we have seen immense growth in all technological domains, such as internet use and advancements in artificial intelligence.
Unfortunately, people are not aware of the rapid changes occurring around them and the potential threat to their employment.
Moore’s law (an observation and projection of a historical trend) is instrumental in giving perspective as to how fast technology is changing. It states that the number of transistors in a dense microchip doubles every two years. An increased number of transistors, therefore, equates to greater processing power.
For example, 90% of all data was accumulated in just the past few years. There are 1.6 billion websites as of now and 1.35 million tech startups.
What a sobering indication of how much technology has advanced, (while we’re been busy performing redundant tasks at work!)
The Future Is Uncertain
Who could have guessed that a global pandemic would arrive with the speed and disruption of a tornado? Our normality has been permanently disturbed. As a result, millions of on-site businesses had to close, which forced employees to work remotely.
The unexpected change has not been easy. Very few individuals or businesses were prepared for such a drastic change in the way we work.
Covid-19 has been responsible for civil unrest and massive job change.
We now have a new concern: Automated Robots.
Artificial intelligence (at this somewhat early stage), has been making our lives easier. No longer in the realm of science fiction, AI is a rapidly growing technology. It has a visible presence automating basic tasks and improving our quality of life. AI can be found in the most basic of items such as our mobile phones, which we use daily.
It is an unavoidable truth that drastic job change is on its way. Technology-driven societal changes, however, always comes with fear and misunderstandings. A two-year study from the McKinsey Global Institute indicates that by 2030, artificial intelligence machines and robots could displace about 30 percent of the world’s existing human workforce.
McKinsey states that, depending on certain variables, automation can possibly replace between 400 million and 800 million jobs by 2030. In addition, this shift will cause nearly 375 million people to switch their job categories completely.
How can such drastic job change not cause panic, concern, and fear amongst the world’s vulnerable countries? Unfortunately, we are all vulnerable to job displacement. So we need to educate ourselves and keep abreast of emerging trends and situations.
In short, machines, in comparison to humans, make far fewer errors and require zero days off. Large corporations are able to invest in such machines. It allows routine tasks to be effortlessly carried out, with minimal effort and minimal error. So it's easy to see how this will make certain jobs redundant.
Types of AI, Robotics, and Automation: Present and Future
Reactive machines are one of the oldest forms of AI machines, and their capabilities are really limited. The machines are unable to use memory or past experiences to make decisions. Additionally, they are unable to improve their operations and can only react and take decisions based on existing situations. Reactive machines do not have the ability to learn. They're really only good at responding to a clearly defined set of commands.
IBM’s Deep Blue is an example of a reactive machine that was used to defeat chess Grandmaster Garry Kasparov in 1997.
Limited memory machines have the properties of reactive machines. They also have the ability to learn and infer from historical data to make the most optimal decisions. They make decisions based on preprogrammed data paired with learning from new data.
Fruit Image recognition can be used as an example. Thousands of images of fruits are fed into a model, and the model automatically learns patterns. Thus, enabling it to determine which image is of which fruit. In the end, it builds up a reference model, so it is able to correctly categorizes unseen images of fruits. All AI applications are driven by limited memory.
Theory of Mind
Theory of Mind concept introduces the ability of machines to mimic human-like decision-making. Of course, machines are far from matching the complexity of a human brain. However, researchers want to achieve human standards. There are some applications where machines mimic human behavior, such as virtual voice assistants.
Although a highly advanced form of artificial intelligence, it is far from mature. A fully developed machine would need to rapidly understand, identify, and retain emotional outputs. It can do this, while also knowing the most optimal response to them. Moreover, because human behavior is fluid, machines would need to adapt at a moment’s notice.
This type of artificial intelligence only exists hypothetically. On a theoretical level, these machines would exhibit human-level consciousness. They can easily be considered the most advanced form of artificial intelligence.
The properties of such a machine would include having its own beliefs, emotions, needs, and desires. A machine possessing this level of self-awareness would be well-placed to rapidly boost our progress as a civilization. However, it also has the propensity to initiate and perpetuate utter chaos.
Industries That Will Be Most Affected By Automated Robots
Automated robots excel at repetitive and tedious tasks. Forward-thinking organizations and industries are investing in automated robots that accelerate routine logistical processes. An excellent example being Amazon, a company that uses more than 30,000 robots to fulfil customer orders. The logistics sector is also using drones to expedite the dispatch of goods, posing yet another threat to workers.
Manufacturing is a prime example of a sector using AI to accelerate the assembly of packages to be sent for shipping. Complex machines can assemble intricate components with minimal error. They do not need to be turned off, allowing a higher throughput for companies.
McKinsey Global found in the production sector that 87% percent of the time spent on routine activities of workers is automatable. It's the highest of any manufacturing occupation.
With the world population expected to reach 8.5 billion by 2030, sustainability of resources is becoming a difficult challenge. Advancements in artificial intelligence within agriculture can address the majority of these challenges. The nature of agricultural work embodies repetitive tasks and is thus a prime area susceptible to modification by robots. Examples of future advancements of AI in agriculture include: automated cow milking, automated harvesting, driverless tractors, and aerial drones.
The transportation industry is already being enveloped by autonomous vehicles. In the future, we can expect all public and private transportation to be fully automated. Autonomous software instead of drivers can replace buses, trains and aeroplanes.
Medical and pharmaceutical companies are using AI robots for various medical procedures. These procedures include delivering anaesthesia, performing surgery, diagnosing disease, and inferring analysis on test reports. Humans have a comparatively higher margin of error than machines.
AI, Robotics, And Automation: A Current Threat To People’s Jobs
Reactive machines and limited memory AI robots are currently a threat to people’s jobs. Unlike humans, these machines can carry out repetitive and tedious tasks with zero error, and zero downtime. AI robots can replace any job which has repetitive tasks. So, a career move, chosen or otherwise, is inevitable!
AI, Robotics, And Automation: A Future Threat To People’s Jobs
Although the theory of mind and self-aware AI machines are impractical now, they can be made capable of replacing any type of job in the future. As the machines will be equal to, or even better than humans, all jobs will probably be automated. Additionally, it is highly likely that humans will be disregarded within the employment arena.
You can use this checklist to assess whether your job will be made redundant because of AI, robotics, and automation:
- Your tasks are repetitive
- Your tasks are easy to replicate
- Your job involves predictable activities
- Your tasks can be easily automated
Changes That Are Taking Place In Education and Learning
Education is no longer about physically going to schools to read books. Books have been replaced by iPads, video presentations, video lectures, podcasts, and e-books. Likewise, teaching dynamics have changed with advancements in technology. Years ago, teachers were considered the sole source of knowledge. Nowadays, so much information is readily available online. We have the latest learning techniques and a wide range of tools allowing increased opportunity for adaptability. In addition, education is becoming interactive with Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) technologies. It allows for a more immersive experience and students only need a mobile device and internet connection to learn.
If you think that your job is safe from the threat of automation, then you are highly mistaken.
We recommend keeping tabs on all the latest updates about job change, career move, and artificial intelligence.
There are two types of AI which are a current threat and two types that present a danger in the future. In preparation, becoming highly skilled is important to reduce the risk of a machine matching your expertise. An unskilled employee with a repetitive job is vulnerable to having their tasks automated.
Are you experiencing uncertainty about your next career move? If so, keeping up to date with the latest advancements in technology will be highly advantageous.
Additionally, in this post-covid era, it’s easy to assume that you have all the time in the world, and you won’t be affected for now. However, as the world is increasingly moving more towards digitization, this couldn’t be further from the truth! Only forward-thinking people, who are open to evolving in these unprecedented times will thrive.
One way to circumvent the inevitable job apocalypse scenario would be to start teaching online. By moving into this emerging market, you will not only be creating a brighter future for yourself and your family, but you can also help others during these testing times.
If you want to give yourself a fighting chance and want to make a career move, then check out our dedicated “How-To” articles about teaching online. We show you how to create classes on Skillshare and make passive income from them.
Diet Zest earns a small commission from Skillshare, for every person who signs up for a free trial on Skillshare, after visiting links on our site. This does not add to the cost of the product/service for you, and it provides a small amount of income to help keep Diet Zest going. 🙂