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Automation, AI – Threat or Thriller?

By: Krishna Mukherjee

Just like internet and computers have begot newer corporations, AI and automation would create avenues that are imponderable currently.

When the world’s richest man, Bill Gates, called for taxing the robots earlier this year, one thing was pertinent that Artificial Intelligence (AI) and automation are surely set to become a threat for current job holders.  Although, the advanced technologies promise to make our lives simpler and easier, however, they put our jobs at risk.

There are anecdotes available that how automation helped in settling insurance claim in a matter of seconds in the US or how healthcare automation is increasingly becoming important. With their deployment, one may not save only time, but they would help in saving energy, money by doing away with routine chores.

Meanwhile, reports also poured in that how robots would replace 50% of all jobs in the next decade. According to a PWC report, the industry sectors that could face the highest potential impact of job automation are transportation and storage sectors, “with around 56% of jobs at potential high risk of automation.”

AI – An Opportunity as Well?

Although awash with such reports, we can’t deny the fact that automation and AI would also give birth to new set of jobs and in fact, more jobs too.  Ushering into any new era brings along a lot of challenges, but at the same time, paves way for newer unexplored avenues.

Just go back to the pre-computer era for a while now, where endless paperwork used to consume a lot of time. And then, when computer started making a room for it in our daily lives, panic gripped in with the fear that one has to become computer literate to sustain in the job or otherwise he/she would become irrelevant.

But that period also passed by, and the evolution led to the birth of big corporations such as Facebook, Google, etc, and created millions of jobs. Similarly, with automation and AI ruling around, we might expect the next wave of job creation with a certain skill set. They might create some disruption, but would also open up certain avenues that are imponderable currently.

Media reports quoting Forrester say, “Close to 15 million new jobs will be created in the US over the next decade as a direct result of automation and artificial intelligence, equivalent to 10% of the workforce. Those gains, however, would not come close to offsetting the 25 million jobs that technology will eliminate by 2027.”

Change with the Changing Time

A recent report– “How Automation is Changing Work Choices: The Future of IT Jobs in India”—by  Simplilearn, highlights that how the era of digitization and automation will create newer career choices for IT professionals.

The new job roles that will dominate the IT workforce are within digital domains such as Big Data, Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things (IOT), Cloud Computing and Cyber Security.

“Roles such as Data Analyst and Project Manager will continue to be in demand but the skills required to perform these roles will witness a shift.  Professionals in these domains should thus look at re-skilling and up-skilling themselves to stay relevant in their careers. Assessing the current situation,” the research said.

Dr Rishi Bhatnagar, Chairman, IET-IoT India Panel and President, Aeris Communications, India, opines: “Automation would lead to skilling up the current workforce. In India, there are certain universities which are already contemplating courses around AI and automation. The government is also paying attention to it and will certainly play an active role in bringing these up.”

Of course, AI and automation would take a toll on the current jobs scenario, but at the same time, these technologies would add thrill to our lives as they bring in ways to get rid of our routine task. As far as the jobs market is concerned, the need of the hour would be to skill up and explore new horizons.

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