24 Apr AI impact on jobs
The rapid rise of AI in business, such as ChatGPT, has become a global phenomenon in recent months and years. From chatbots and virtual assistants to self-driving cars and advanced predictive analytics, AI has revolutionised the way companies operate across all industries. This has led to a rush among businesses to integrate AI into their operations, with some warning that those who do not embrace this technology risk being left behind in the competitive market.
Despite concerns that AI will lead to a loss of jobs, historical evidence suggests otherwise. Take HTML development as an example – an essential skill in 1999-2000, but then highly commoditised by other technologies such as PHP from a coding perspective and Wix, WordPress, etc., from a no-code perspective. What happened to those coders? Many of them moved on to CSS, design, and other web-related jobs.
Technological advancements have consistently triggered a shift in the job market, but they have also created new opportunities and skills for workers. In fact, AI has the potential to bring about several positive impacts on the workforce.
How will AI impact jobs?
I’m not going the doomsaying “AI’s gonna take all our jobs” line. It’s too easy to say, but actually factually hard to prove (on the whole) when you look at previous technical advancements. So let’s look at the positives.
AI can automate repetitive and mundane tasks, freeing up employees to focus on more complex and creative work. This will enable workers to use their unique human skills, such as critical thinking, creativity, and problem-solving, which are challenging for AI to replicate. Just on the point of creativity, have a look at this article outlining a study that shows how AI can actually stimulate new thought and insight. Could it be that, just as the internet did for us 30 years ago, AI can instigate completely new lines of creativity?
AI can enhance decision-making by analysing vast amounts of data to identify patterns and insights that humans may have overlooked. By using AI to assist in decision-making, workers can make more informed and accurate decisions, leading to better outcomes for both the company and its customers. Ok this one is fairly obvious to state, and often one that is actually hard to do in practice (data needs to be available, explainability needs to be there, etc). But it is becoming progressively easier to realise this big bonus point with tools like Jiva. So how has this impacted staff/jobs? It’s made them more productive. It hasn’t replaced humans.
AI can improve workplace safety by taking over dangerous and hazardous tasks, reducing the risk of injury or even death for workers. This will also result in fewer work-related compensation claims and lawsuits for companies. Drones, space robotics, aeronautical automation to just name a few – AI-backed automation (if done right, of course) can simultaneously elimimate human risk and increase human scientific endeavour.
AI can help address skill shortages by providing on-the-job training and development opportunities for employees. By identifying areas where employees need improvement, AI can provide personalised training and development plans, allowing workers to continuously upskill and improve their job prospects. AI-led education, in my opinion, is going to be one of the most exciting societal applications of AI and one that actually enhances job prospects.
AI can create new job roles and industries, such as specialised AI trainers, developers, and data analysts. Only recently has “prompt engineer” become a thing, and pays a pretty tidy sum! As AI continues to advance, the demand for workers with the skills to develop and manage these technologies will only grow, providing new job opportunities for workers. Could AI bring about a new era of innovation and creativity in the job market? Certainly looks that way.
AI can increase productivity by optimising workflows and processes, leading to more efficient and effective operations. This will enable companies to deliver products and services more quickly and efficiently, ultimately resulting in increased revenue and growth. In general, more growth means more jobs – because there will always be things that just aren’t automatable. “Efficiency” might politically mean “job cuts”, but in reality efficiency leading to better margins trigger management teams to think “how can we do/earn even more?”… ergo, new jobs.
AI has the potential to change the way we work by enabling remote work and flexible schedules. With AI taking over more routine tasks, workers may be able to work from home or other locations, allowing for greater work-life balance. But could this lead to an erosion of traditional office cultures and a loss of interpersonal connections? Let’s look to the recent pandemic – whilst in the short term the answer is almost certainly affirmative, in the long term it hasn’t affected most people’s desire to go out be sociable; whether it’s work-related or not.
In conclusion, the rise of AI in business may seem intimidating at first, but it has the potential to bring about several positive impacts on the workforce. By automating repetitive tasks, enhancing decision-making, improving workplace safety, addressing skill shortages, creating new job roles and industries, and increasing productivity, AI can lead to a more efficient and productive workforce. As with any technological advancement, there will be a shift in the job market, but history suggests that this will ultimately lead to new opportunities and skills for workers.
As such, it is important for companies and workers alike to embrace AI and the potential benefits it can bring, while also remaining aware of the potential challenges and pitfalls.