Artificial Intelligence and Unemployment

Artificial Intelligence and Unemployment

Artificial Intelligence and Unemployment – Advances in robotics and AI over the next few decades are likely to lead to significant job losses. Already, artificial intelligence (AI) machines can do many tasks where learning and judgment is required, including self-driving carsinsurance assessmentstock tradingaccountingHR and many tasks in healthcare. H&R Block, one of America’s largest tax preparation providers, is now using Watson, IBM’s artificial intelligence platform. So are we approaching a jobless future, or will new jobs replace the ones that are lost?

Driverless cars could replace taxi drivers, robots in warehouses are replacing man workforce, self-service machines could wipe out the supermarket cashier. There’s a good reason for this — there are some jobs where humans are far far away to match robotics capabilities.

Martin Ford, futurist, explains the jobs that are most at risk are those which “are on some level routine, repetitive and predictable”.

Different countries will have different impact on jobs and automations. E.g, Norway isn’t losing much jobs to machines, Slovakia is at top.

In U.S, in just one sector, white house estimated that nearly 3.1 million could lose their job to the autonomous car.

McKinsey estimates that 49 percent of the activities that people are paid to do in the global economy have the potential to be automated by adapting currently demonstrated technology.

amazon robots vs human workforce

amazon robots vs human workforce

Amazon’s workforce has exploded in recent years, more than doubling since the end of 2014, when it employed 154,000 people. As of the latest count, there were 306,000 employees working worldwide for the Seattle tech giant.

But another group is growing just as quickly as the company’s human workforce: the number of robots working alongside people in Amazon fulfillment centers.

Amazon said it has 45,000 “robotic units” operating in 20 distribution centers working with people to fill and ship customer orders.

The number is up 50 percent from the 30,000 bots that Amazon reported across 13 fulfillment centers in the third quarter of 2015. That was an increase from 15,000 bots in 10 warehouses at the end of 2014.

AI and robots may create more social inequality. Rich people are going to find it easy to adopt to automation. Poor may not have sufficient resources to re-train for new skills the new AI era demands – increasing the divide between rich and poor. Global inequality has for the last several decades soared. Technology and Inequality

AI will create more jobs than it eliminates?

There is yet another school of thought, more positive and optimistic, believing AI will create more jobs than it eliminates, and it seems more promising. The jobs themselves won’t entirely disappear; many will simply be redefined. But people will likely lack new skillsets required for new roles and be out of work anyway. What jobs will still be around in 20 years?  According to the optimistic view, our current phase of increasing automation will create new kinds of employment for those who have been made redundant.

New waves of automation have always stoked worries about job losses – Artificial Intelligence and Unemployment. But with each new wave of technology—economies have reconfigured and standards of living increased. We believe the same pattern will emerge as artificial intelligence rapidly seeps into most economic sectors.

What separates the optimists from the pessimists is that they tend to believe that the economy as a whole will recover from this short-term adjustment period. Pessimists argue that not everyone will benefit from this industrial revolution in the same way that the standard of living for ordinary workers rose after the last industrial revolution. Over the last two decades, most gains in productivity have gone to the owners of businesses rather than people who work for them.

Follow From 1st to 4th Industrial Revolution on how First Industrial Revolution had negative/positive impact on our society, and what possible impacts can 4th Industrial Revolution (AI, IoT, …) can bring.

featured image source