Bring up the topic of artificial intelligence with friends and colleagues, and you’ll probably hear three different ideas expressed. The visionary entrepreneurial types will talk about the possibilities that exist for data analysis and efficiency. The pessimists will worry about the possibility that human workers will be replaced by robots. And the science-fiction fans will wonder when our phones are going to become self-aware and exterminate all biological life forms.
From the visionary perspective, we can only say the potential of machine learning in the world of business – not to mention science and technology – is truly limitless. And unfortunately, we don’t have any opinions on the probability of Earth being overrun by cyborgs. That just leaves us with the not unreasonable issue about AI displacing people who are employed.
So, are robots coming for all the jobs?
We can see why there is a lot of concern in this area, but we don’t think it’s something to spend too much time worrying about for now. Let’s look at a few of the reasons why…
Current AI Has Its Limitations
There are a lot of things that computers do very well. However, microchips and robotics aren’t necessarily at a tipping point of functionality yet. As an example, researchers have tried for years to create a machine that can fold laundry and they have yet to be successful.
Only time will tell how much better machine learning can get in the next couple of decades, but it may be that many careers and industries aren’t under any immediate threat.
Technology Doesn’t Usually Replace Jobs in the Ways People Think
Even in situations where technology can make a human employee replaceable, it isn’t necessarily the case that a job will go away. It may just change. For instance, ATMs haven’t reduced staffing in banks. It’s simply the case that financial employees have better (and less repetitive) jobs than they did before.
Similarly, there are some things technology can do, but probably won’t. How many of us want to see a robotic therapist, or get a massage from an appliance?
AI Could Bring Huge Benefits for Employers and Employees
Progress of any kind tends to be messy and disruptive, but when it comes to potential artificial intelligence, the payoffs could be enormous. Imagine a world where instantaneous data streams could help us to manage food, water, and healthcare more effectively.
While we can’t promise that no one will lose their job to robotics or AI in the next decade, the risks are probably being overblown. And the advantages could be enormous and life-changing.
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