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Would Artificial Intelligence be the catalyst of jobs losses in the future?
One of the most controversial aspects of today’s technological revolution is the impact of artificial intelligence on jobs and human capital with the US being the leading country affected by this crucial shift. When would this revolution catapult Asia to being parallel with the US? Are human jobs undoubtedly going to be obsolete in the coming years? Are we heading towards a bleak outcome of the future?
According to a report by MIT and Boston University, an estimation of about 2 million workers will be displaced from their jobs in manufacturing alone by 2030. 11 Asian markets are thoroughly studied, 12% of jobs are at a high risk of being automated away in the next few years. It is of no doubt that if your job is repetitive and routine based, it is substantially at risk of automation. You might subconsciously ask yourself, could a machine possibly do my job? The answer is relatively subjective. It varies from different work sectors that one is in, with these listed jobs being the highest in the automation food chain, for instance, food and preparation services (81%), production operations (79%), office and administrative support (60%), transportation and material moving (55%) as reported by Brookings Institutions.
Many highly skilled jobs in developed markets will definitely benefit and be augmented by artificial intelligence’s (AI) existence (11%) than in less developed economies with a mere (6%). For less developed countries with a salaried workforce that fall under the high-risk category are mainly from Malaysia, Cambodia, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam. Data from these statistics have been extracted and measured against different countries’ and industries’ forecasts on 17 categories of various emerging technology.
Based on the International Labour Organization (ILO) employment statistics, for specific job-related tasks, the data showed that AI’s effect on job automation would be massive on wealthier economies than the poorer ones (14% as opposed to 10%). Labor constrained countries like Singapore, China and Japan are highly likely to be the fastest to seize various jobs opportunities created by AI, this is particularly accurate as to which degree a job is required and enhanced is solely determined by a country’s different economic and social structures and its technological readiness.
An interesting excerpt from the book by author Daniel Susskind “A World Without Work: Technology, Automation and How We Should Respond”, “Machines don’t fall ill, they don’t need to isolate to protect peers, they don’t need to take time off work.” This noteworthy statement acts as a revelation to all, where one should constantly upskill themselves and be multifaceted in this everyday fast paced environment, one skill is insufficient for what is yet to come. Underdeveloped countries with specialized skilled workers find themselves wrangling on low wage labor needs to reposition themselves.
The human lineage has been constantly evolving since major events took place during the evolution of modern human species which have since begun approximately 4.2 billion years ago. It is inevitably now the race of the survivability of the fittest and that is us – homo sapiens. In reference to the book “Blueprint” by Robert Plomin, Plomin emphasizes on the significance of environmental forces where the fate of individuals and societies are relied upon structural, experiential, and historical factors. How did homosapiens gain dominance? It prominently stemmed from our ability to adapt from mild circumstances to extreme environments and our goals to achieve and strive towards a better future.
In practice or in theory, AI and automation should unbound humans from everyday mundane, monotonous or even threatening tasks that might put their lives at risk. In this day and age, humans should take on more intellectually stimulating and value-added assignments and jobs, companies would flourish, be more efficient and productive thus workers’ wages would subsequently be raised nonetheless.
As Andrew Yang mentioned in his book “The War on Normal People”, it is the government and corporate entities responsibility to identify displaced workers over a range of industries thus having the resources to pay for mass retraining regardless of age, but this notion and idea may be immensely far fetched as not every person would have the physical and mental capacity to be retrained in an in-demand field. To retrain young adults might not be that hard of a feat but the real challenge comes with retraining middle aged workers. The success rate for retraining retrenched middle aged workers due to automation is merely (15%). Effective dissemination of information by the government has to be done in real time, there needs to be employers who are looking to employ a large number of newly trained middle aged workers.
Technology will continue to be deployed, employees should be given abundance of time to transition into new roles and pick up on new skills. An opposing fact to the above whereby circumstances might not be aligned with what the corporate firms or government might have in their agenda, those who are unfortunate in losing their jobs would have to seek for retraining and uplifting of skills within their own means by using severance pay or unemployment benefits to work in various other fields not within their expertise.
Automation will ultimately eradicate certain jobs, but as the world is at a constant pace of change where technological advancement will continue to prosper, more jobs will be needed when it comes to working alongside robots – data scientist, quantum machine learning analysts, augmented journey reality builder, genomic portfolio director. However, not everyone has the right skill sets or learning capabilities to take on source, channel or cryptographic coding, that may be difficult to grasp. However, jobs like teachers, therapists, artisans, healthcare professionals are to be high in demand. All of these jobs require a copious amount of social intelligence, creativity, compassion and empathy – jobs that prioritize emotional human attributes that AI have yet to fully manifest or maybe AI could embody these attributes in more decades to come and that is for us homosapiens to eventually find out.