As AI advances, so does the paranoia surrounding it. Will AI make us all obsolete, taking away our jobs?
Article by: Abhinav Chaudhary, CEO of FERO.Ai
It’s a no-brainer; without technology today, our world would be unable to function. It is a huge influencer in all parts of our lives, from the social aspects to the medicinal aspects to minute details in our everyday lives. Technology has provided higher value to human skills for as long as it has existed- from simplifying tasks as basic as a food grinder, to a calculator, to being able to use our phones for practically anything!
However, for decades, since the conception of the idea that artificial intelligence could potentially and efficiently provide solutions to many monotonous and mundane human tasks, there has been a resounding question being publicly debated - will the advance of technology result in unemployment across the board? Perhaps being perturbed isn’t the right way to go- any revolutionary innovation, be it mechanical, electronics or computers were always linked to disrupting an industry. However, post the technology adaptation phase, employment has been shown to increase- but why?
In 1993, Michael Kremer proposed the O-ring theory- to be put simply, the theory suggests that even the smallest components of a complex production must be done properly in order for the end result to have value to its users. Through the application of artificial intelligence in the crevices of repetitive tasks, we are essentially making the possibility for error obsolete. This definitely raises caution - technology can be programmed to perform human tasks with 0% error, and can therefore not only make errors obsolete, but also employment in those sectors. However, the displacement of unremarkable tasks opens several doors for us to provide even more value- a recent analysis by the World Economic Forum (WEF) reported that AI and Robotics will create 60 million more jobs than they eliminate by the year 2022. Therefore, if “X” is the unemployment for a specific low-level skill, then it is inevitable that “Y” will be the employment for higher-level skills and will be greater than X.
Perhaps, instead, we should be addressing how we can prepare for and accommodate this exponential growth of tech. Firstly, it is becoming increasingly imperative for organizations to educate themselves on Structural Unemployment and the ways in which they implement these changes smoothly. Secondly, Cultural Lag is a notion that culture takes time to catch up with technological advancements- we can try to overcome this by implementing ambicultural teams in our organization. Technological Change is one that has been embraced by many booming industries that have emerged into Global Leaders today. By emphasizing on AI strategies in-house to your own organization and company, we can begin to draw the journey as to how Machines and Humans can work together.
Funneling down this discussion that whether there is any real evidence that technology might be destroying jobs or had ever done? The truth of it is that it depends - if we are talking in absolute terms of a department or a particular sector, then the answer will obviously be yes. However, if we are talking about the economy, then the answer will always be a resonant NO. Jobs and tasks that are redundant in industries, can be done at a lower cost with better results for all stakeholders involved. Shorter work durations means a more balanced work-life for employees and optimized efficient industry eco-systems. The elimination of low-level jobs creates opportunities of higher-level jobs and trainings.
It ultimately comes down to this - our contestation is not with technology. It is a man-made breakthrough that will progressively advance our world as a whole. Don’t compete against machines, compete with them instead.