ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE AND ITS IMPACT ON JOBS
By MANJEET REGE, PHD, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF GRADUATE PROGRAMS IN SOFTWARE AND DATA SCIENCE AND DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR APPLIED ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE and DAN YARMOLUK ’17 MS IN DATA SCIENCE, ADJUNCT FACULTY AT GRADUATE PROGRAMS IN SOFTWARE
E verywhere you turn today is some unbelievable technological advancement on a variety of fronts. They are typically revolving around a variety of enabling technology layers; however, at the center of it, is artificial intelligence. Innovation and technology are certainly changing; skills and jobs as we know them today will need to change. Our frame of reference is being disrupted like never before, the guideposts and rules are changing, and this causes discomfort, uncertainty and worry. We need to all become comfortable with being uncomfortable, with adapting to change, continuing education and reskilling.
loss, we would argue that AI and technology advancements will require job retraining and job reskilling. As technology reduces the cost of some tasks, the value of remaining tasks increases, particularly soft skills such as creativity, common sense, judgment and communication skills. Work is shifting, job requirements are changing, and automation and AI are displacing certain sectors of the labor market. Many of the takeaways and political talk seem to focus on “the vulnerable will be the most vulnerable” as a key point, and that better-educated workers will fare out all right as AI/automation spreads. A Brookings Institution report, however, states that workers with a bachelor’s degree, for example, would be exposed to AI over five times more than those with only a high school degree. That
is due to the fact AI is very strong at completing tasks that require planning, learning, reasoning, problem-solving and predicting – most of which are skills we think of as white-collar jobs. AI’s impact on the workplace, the future of work, sectors of the economy and global domination are hard to assess. What we do know is that the nature of work will change, as it has through the centuries with innovation. Perhaps AI can see patterns in deadly diseases, fight climate change and explore the universe. We should be as excited as nervous about change, and try to the best of our abilities to shape our society for that coming change. Rege and Yarmoluk co-host the “All Things Data” podcast, which averages over 60,000 listeners.
Various reports suggest that AI could lead to the loss of tens of millions of jobs. Instead of interpreting that AI equals job
St. Thomas Engineer 2021 Page 27
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