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AI Will Create 2.3 Million Jobs by 2020 – Report

With concerns that artificial intelligence will make human employment obsolete in the coming decades, research firm Gartner is looking to counter that narrative with a new report that finds AI will actually create more than 2 million jobs within the next two years.

However, that rosy scenario will come at the expense of 1.8 million jobs along the way.

In a report released December 13, Predicts 2018: AI and the Future of Work, Gartner analysts estimate that AI will likely create about 2.3 million jobs between now and 2020, along with eliminating some 1.8 million.

It won't be until 2025 that AI strikes a balance and creates 2 million net-new jobs.

The public sector, along with healthcare and education, will see the most gains from AI, with manufacturing taking the biggest hit, with many middle- and low-skilled jobs falling by the wayside. (See Will AI Create More Jobs Than It Destroys?)

The job creators
(Source: Pixabay)
The job creators
(Source: Pixabay)

Gartner has been fairly bullish on the benefits of AI, especially when it comes to automating many routine IT tasks. At its annual Symposium & ITxpo earlier this year, analysts spoke of using AI and machine learning to overcome the skills gap that many enterprises are facing, especially when it comes to security. (See Will AI Solve the IT Jobs Shortage?.)

The key to AI, Gartner notes, is using it to augment human tasks by eliminate routine work, which can then open up new areas and actually create new job opportunities. By 2021, Gartner estimates that AI augmentation will generate about $2.9 trillion in business value and recover about 6.2 billion in worker productivity.

"For the greatest value, focus on augmenting people with AI," Svetlana Sicular, research vice president at Gartner, writes in the report. "Enrich people's jobs, reimagine old tasks and create new industries. Transform your culture to make it rapidly adaptable to AI-related opportunities or threats."

Some tech firms are already there.

Earlier this year, Salesforce.com Inc. began rolling out a series of machine learning and AI features into its core CRM and sales products that eliminate the more mundane and routine tasks salespeople face. (See At Dreamforce 2017, Salesforce Doubling Down on AI.)

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Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) CEO Satya Nadella has also noted that AI is a key technology for Redmond's future. (See Microsoft Serving a Slice of AI With Everything at Ignite.)

"Companies are just beginning to seize the opportunity to improve nonroutine work through AI by applying it to general-purpose tools," Craig Roth, another Gartner analyst, notes in the report. "Once knowledge workers incorporate AI into their work processes as a virtual secretary or intern, robo-employees will become a competitive necessity."

The Gartner report did make a distinction between AI, and how it can augment human tasks, and automation, which companies such as Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) and Juniper Networks Inc. (NYSE: JNPR) are using to create a new generation of networks that are more software-defined, along with being self-correcting and self-healing. (See Automated Service Provisioning: Getting It Right.)

"Unfortunately, most calamitous warnings of job losses confuse AI with automation -- that overshadows the greatest AI benefit, AI augmentation, a combination of human and artificial intelligence, where both complement each other," Sicular wrote.

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— Scott Ferguson, Editor, Enterprise Cloud News. Follow him on Twitter @sferguson_LR.

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Phil_Britt 12/27/2017 | 7:16:44 AM
Re: When is the Singularity? Though I agree, I still think something will be missing without the full human element. I credit a lot of my success to my first grade teacher -- 55 years ago.
Phil_Britt 12/27/2017 | 7:15:20 AM
Re: Times of change I agree...I'm near the end of a journalism career and I when see some 40 years younger striving to enter the field, I cringe. When I started, a low-paying newspaper job was still enough for the basics of life and a little extra (if you were frugal), but publications have been shedding jobs for years and cutting pay for incoming reporters. Not a field I would enter today. 
Susan Fourtané 12/27/2017 | 5:50:00 AM
Re: Times of change You can’t do anything about the people who refuse to believe in change and refuse to change, or refuse to learn new skills to adapt. Those people should think of the many careers and jobs that existed in the past and no longer exist.
Susan Fourtané 12/27/2017 | 5:39:09 AM
Re: When is the Singularity? PhilBritt — That’s a good point. Roboteachers are going to become a reality. You’ll see.
Phil_Britt 12/27/2017 | 12:36:07 AM
Re: Times of change Even if there was such a list, some people won't believe it. In "coal country" (WVA, PA), there are still former coal miners refusing retraiing because they expect their coal jobs to come back. Even without environmental considerations, natural gas is more economically feasible -- the coal jobs aren't coming back. 

Of course, it can be tough to realize a career you've planned and trained for no longer exists.
Phil_Britt 12/27/2017 | 12:32:18 AM
Re: When is the Singularity? AI couls be a necessity in the U.S. as pay rates for teachers in many areas continues to stay low, the cost of education to get a teaching job continues to escalate and some districts have a hard time hiring and retaining educators.
Susan Fourtané 12/18/2017 | 10:15:34 AM
Re: When is the Singularity? Are you talking about Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP)? NLP has been used and it’s still in use in education. Perhaps not as a mainstream method, but it was not forgotten. Students today do a lot of learning without the help of a human teacher. Many times you will find that —precisely for what you said about students spending more time with learning devices/applications/programs— the role of a human teacher is rapidly changing. You probably know that there are many recorded cases of students whose knowledge is superior to that of their teacher. Humans can’t absorb the amount of knowledge at the speed a machine can. So, when artificially intelligent robots evolve a bit more, there will take over the role of human teachers, and human teacher will have a different role. I commented more about this below, if you want to read it. :).
kq4ym 12/18/2017 | 8:47:10 AM
Re: When is the Singularity? I can remembrer way back in the 1960s when "programmed learning" was going to take oer the educational system with what seems now very primitive systems of printed instructional material using branching in response to student's answers to lead students along without the aid of teachers. But, who knows where technology will lead in coming years as students spend more and more time in front of device screens.
Susan Fourtané 12/14/2017 | 5:04:01 AM
Re: When is the Singularity? Do you remember when I said that AI is going to replace teachers? Gartner seems to agree. Because it’s logical. Human teachers will see a change in their fuction. Perhaps as guides or something similar. Learning is going to be mostly virtual using AR, VR, MR with an AI lead. Human teachers could become emotional trainers, virtue guides, character developement guides. But they will not be in charge of knowledge-based education. Wait and see.
Susan Fourtané 12/14/2017 | 4:54:18 AM
Times of change I think there has to be learning process between now and 2020 to prepare toward that exchange in jobs. Is there a list of the jobs that will be lost somewhere? That would help people prepare and work on learning new skills to be ready for the new jobs that will be created. Those who are not prepared for the change might experience difficult times. Who is taking care of this?
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