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Artificial intelligence. It’s everywhere. As Shanhong Liu, research expert for the global software industry, writes in a report for Statista: “AI, once the subject of people’s imaginations and main plot of science fiction movies for decades, is no longer a piece of fiction, but rather commonplace among people’s daily lives whether they realise it or not.”
Machine learning, for example — a subset of AI that enables computer systems to automatically learn and improve from experience without being explicitly programmed — is being increasingly deployed for business purposes. Machine learning algorithms are being utilised in all types of businesses in practically every industry to process large amounts of data quicker and with greater accuracy than a human being could ever dream of achieving.
For example, banks and financial institutions rely on AI/ML systems to automate credit assessments and fraud detection. Cybersecurity teams are using machine learning to monitor systems and networks, detect threats and anomalies, and respond to potential attacks. And from chatbots to marketing automation technologies and self-driving delivery vehicles — AI is indeed permeating practically every industry, and many believe the technology will eventually prove to be bigger than even the internet revolution.
Already, 50% of companies have adopted AI in at least one business function, while over the next year, AI/ML technologies are slated to be the top investment to fuel digital business goals, according to a new report by IDG.
Investing more in these technologies to become a digital business. —Source: idg.com
But what about the impact of AI in the future? How will the growing prevalence of the technology change both the business and consumer landscape over the coming years?
Let’s take a look at some of the things we can expect from artificial intelligence in the years to come and its transformational impact on our lives, businesses, and industries.
Will AI Replace Human Jobs?
The robots are coming for your job.
We’ve heard it hundreds of times — but is it true? Well, it depends on the nature of the job in question, and how far ahead into the future we look.
As of a 2020 report by Statista, 54% of business and HR leaders worldwide claim they expect AI will have an impact on the nature of jobs in their organisation over the next three years — though they believe the number of jobs will remain the same. 25%, however, believe that AI will create a net decrease in jobs — while 12% believe AI will result in an increase.
Expected impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on the number of jobs. —Source: statista.com
Looking slightly further ahead, a report from the World Economic Forum (WEF) suggests that emerging technology adoption by companies will transform tasks, jobs, and skills by 2025. 43% of businesses surveyed indicated that they are set to reduce their workforce due to technology and AI integration — compared to 34% that plan to expand it.
As such, employers expect that by 2025, “increasingly redundant roles” (see Figure 22 below) will decline from being 15.4% of the workforce to 9% (a 6.4% decline). However, emerging professions — i.e., those that will become newly enabled by emerging technologies (things like process automation specialists and IoT specialists, for example) — will grow from 7.8% to 13.5% (5.7% growth).
In all, the WEF estimates that while, by 2025, 85 million jobs may be displaced by a shift in the division of labour between humans and machines, 97 million new roles may emerge that are more adapted to the new division of labour between humans, machines, and algorithms — a 12 million net increase of jobs.
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