AI to create millions of jobs

Professor Robert Gordon of Northwestern University, USA, says: “No invention in the last 250 years, since the first Industrial Revolution, has caused mass unemployment

“Though jobs are constantly being destroyed, they are also being created in even larger numbers – there is enormous churn in the job market – at present, there is actually a shortage of workers, not a shortage of jobs, even in fields such as construction, skilled manufacturing and long-distance truck driving”

“Quality of jobs is also nothing new – over the past decade, more good than bad jobs have been created:

  • Most AI – Artificial Intelligence – spending has been in marketing to date, yet marketing jobs have flourished
  • There are now more bank tellers than there were before ATM machines were introduced
  • We have 1 million fewer bookkeepers and clerks since the introduction of the spreadsheet, but 1.5 million more financial analysts”

 

Professor Joel Mokyr, from the same university, believes technology changes will accelerate, not decline – for him, product innovation is likely to create new jobs that were never imagined before such as:

  • Video game designers
  • Cybersecurity specialists
  • GPS programmers
  • Veterinary psychologists

 

Mokyr concludes that we can’t know what new jobs will exist in future, although he dares to suggest there might be:

  • More caring for the elderly and less caring for children as there will be fewer children
  • More creative jobs, building on ‘tacit knowledge’ – intuition, instinct and imagination – which are not qualities associated with machines (yet?)

 

In particular, according to a report by TechRepublic, AI is ‘set to create millions of new jobs – businesses need to begin adopting AI technologies to help them do work, or risk being left behind’

They offer eight examples of ways companies are already using AI to increase their productivity:

  1. oMelhorTrato.com – an Argentina-based credit firm:
    1. They use deep learning to automate part of their hiring process
    2. It combs through CVs of job applicants, sorting the good from the bad by searching for certain qualifications – a boring, manual and repetitive task
    3. This saves HR a huge amount of time which they spend interviewing the best candidates instead
  2. Premium Retail Services – a project management company:
    1. PRS uses AI to assist clients by creating predictive maintenance models and identifying trends
    2. They gather data to predict what stores need to be visited, how long an employee needs to travel there, and how much it will cost to reimburse that employee
    3. Projects that used to take a week now take only hours
  3. Blackbelt – a marketing firm:
    1. AI tracks time spent by employees on computer activity – and answers clients’ questions much faster on its marketing platform
    2. “Timesheets may be the bane of professional services but they’re critical for profitability and client transparency”
    3. “With AI, you can do many things smarter”
  4. Coseer – a cognitive automation company:
    1. AI automates cognitive workflows and reduces tedious work that is unpopular with programmers
    2. Employees now look forward to jobs involving such work because they use AI as if it were a team working for them to complete the job
    3. Productivity has risen substantially allowing the company to handle more customers than normal – “payback comes within months, if not weeks”
  5.  EY – Ernst & Young – one of the Big Four accountancy firms:
    1. AI is used to investigate frauds and disputes, and review contracts during audit assignments, a process that can take many hours manually
    2. AI also helps them eliminate repetitive tasks and make recommendations for less mundane tasks
    3. “By combining AI and human eyes, their new systems are faster and more accurate”
  6. National Parks Depot – an e-commerce company:
    1. NPD relies on social media platforms for marketing and customer service so they created AI-driven chatbots that automatically start a private conversation with anyone who comments on a designated post, answers most of their FAQs and even offers promo codes and special offers not available to the general public
    2. This frees up team members’ time for ‘deeper connections and interactions with customers’
    3. They believe the bots also help retain top customers and regain those who may have had a problem in the past
  7. Outreach – a sales engagement platform:
    1. AI has been used to automate customer interactions during the sales process – it lines up and then prioritises sales calls
    2. It also identifies which sales opportunities are best and what sales call order will work best
    3. Instead of focussing on who to call next, the system thus allows reps to focus on less mundane tasks, like sales pitching
  8. Mobiliya – a global enterprise mobility company:
    1. They use humanoid robots as secretaries at their HQ in Dallas to take over simple repetitive tasks – training them is not needed, freeing up time for other tasks
    2. Robots ask visitors ‘how may I help you?’ as they walk in, then book appointments and track footfall
    3. “A lot of businesses can incorporate AI technology into their day to day processes and tasks, especially banks, insurance firms and other customer service intensive businesses where basic support functions can be automated”

 

Conclusions:

  • In each of the above cases, the main benefits of using AI were:
    • For employees, less boring work and more time for more interesting work
    • For the company, increased productivity, more sales and quick AI investment paybacks
  • AI’s future is clearly unstoppable

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