The Impact of AI on Jobs: Some Non-Linear Thinking

Ray Le Maistre
10/25/2019

It's always the elephant in the room when the topic of artificial intelligence (AI) is raised, whether in small or large groups of people -- the impact on jobs.

That's pretty much the case for any industry vertical, including telecoms -- here's a selection of Light Reading coverage of the topic from the past year or so:

So how should we be thinking about this topic in a non-sensationalist way? Mark Beccue, principal analyst and member of the Artificial Intelligence and User Interface Technologies team at market research firm Tractica (a sister research outfit to Light Reading), has answered this question in a very insightful article that highlights the need to focus on non-linear, abstract thinking: Crucially, he notes that such thinking is not limited to a niche set of jobs.

Check out his article, Outsmarting AI for Jobs.

Beccue will also feature in the line-up at the forthcoming Telco AI Summit Europe in London if you wanted to join me in asking him more about this vital topic.

— Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

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auburnsleep
auburnsleep
11/28/2019 | 8:55:07 AM
Re: AI is remarkable
The truth is AI is gonna replace humans if not in masses but definitely to a huge extent and humans need to be careful about it.

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raytseng
raytseng
10/30/2019 | 8:07:11 PM
Article misses the point. ML is already impacting jobs.
This article has a good head line, but other than posing the question, doesn't offer much real insight. It also misses some big trends. For example:

 

1. Trucking is the #1 job in 29 US states:

https://www.rtsinc.com/articles/why-trucking-still-america-s-number-one-job

Autonomous driving is not about short distance (ie Uber), it's about replacing the truck drivers!

https://www.theverge.com/2019/1/11/18174275/daimler-tesla-self-driving-trucks-tusimple-ces-2019

... so what's the impact of 2-3 million truck drivers out of a job? this doesn't count the support network such as truck stops, motels, diners along the long haul routes.

 

2. RPA is the fastest growing segment in Enterprise software in 2018:

https://www.gartner.com/en/newsroom/press-releases/2019-06-24-gartner-says-worldwide-robotic-process-automation-sof

These guys are not getting billions in funding to replace low end jobs. They are after repetitive knowledge work in HR, marketing, accounting across the corporate landscape. These are traditionally good jobs already moving to lower wage countries. Soon even those countries will not be able to compete so both the original segments AND the outsourcing industry will be heavily impacted.

These are just a couple of glaring examples where the sensationalism is not far fetched. It's just missed the fact that AI doesn't have to be HAL2000 to have a huge impact on jobs. Even relatively unsophisticated ML will decimate jobs within the next 5-10 years.
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write my essay
10/28/2019 | 2:40:57 AM
AI is remarkable
I am an essay writer and used to get loads of client queries mainly asking to write my essay in a very short deadline. Students used to have anxiety issues while completing and delivering their essays to their teachers in short deadlines. They lacked poor writing skills and feared to lose grades. Now essay writing tools such as essaybot, MyEssayBot powered by AI have been introduced which not only saves time of students but also helps us to manage our workload. So I think AI has a lot of benefits in modern era.
DHagar
DHagar
10/25/2019 | 7:15:04 PM
AI Jobs & Non-Linear Thinking
Excellent thoughts and article, Ray.

I believe the issue truly is that we have to view it in a different context (ie non-linear).  I believe it is a new way of working and processes that require human capabilities, augmented by technology.  It will be a new ("hybrid") capability rather than an "either/or".
iainmorris
iainmorris
10/25/2019 | 8:15:26 AM
Some Linear Thinking
I disagree with some of the research that Mark highlights. I really don't think you can make a blanket assessment that manual jobs are more susceptible to automation than other types of work. For instance, some accountancy roles are clearly at risk and that profession has already undergone major changes. Similarly, a lot of the work done by paralegals to pull out documents containing similar references is the sort of thing that machine-learning systems can do. By contrast, it's actually quite hard to develop technology that would, say, clean a bathroom or office as effectively as a person. Yuval Noah Hariri and Martin Ford are two authors who have written about these dynamics in recent years.

Yes, we should not perhaps sensationalize, but nor should we downplay the risks and pretend that automation and AI isn't a major societal and ethical issue. There is already far too little serious attention paid to that by governments and organizations. I see parallels with the climate change debate. Greta Thunberg could be accused of sensationalizing that, and some of the points she makes are questionable, but at least she has got people talking about it - something long overdue.
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