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Robots To Take Some Jobs In Next 2-3 Years

Technology is mostly complementary with automation. This means that as technology advances, so does automation, which makes the lives of people easier. However, as everyday tasks become easier to accomplish with a few clicks or a simple swipe on a smartphone, jobs become scarcer. For instance, some restaurants have started using iPads as self-ordering kiosks to cut the costs of hiring actual human servers.

Mark Cuban, who is a self-made billionaire and one of the hosts of Shark Tank predicts that there will soon be more robots and less humans in the workplace.

“We’re about to go into a period with artificial intelligence, machine learning, deep learning, those things where we literally are going to see a change in the nature of employment,” said Cuban. “Pay attention to the number of jobs in those companies two and three years out. I guarantee they are going to be 30 and 40% lower.”

Artificial intelligence as an essential driving force to a company’s competitiveness

A recent report published by Tata Consultancy shows that artificial intelligence is now a necessary investment if companies want to become a more competitive workplace. Today, about 2/3 of IT departments are adopting AI mostly to detect security risks and deliver automation.

Tata Consultancy’s report asserts that AI will have a dramatic impact on business by 2020, which mirrors Cuban’s prediction. The report entitled, “Getting Smarter by the Day: How AI is Elevating the Performance of Global Companies,” reveals that 84% of the 835 executives that were surveyed from the U.S., Europe, Asia-Pacific, and Latin America see AI as essential to competitiveness. Half of the respondents said that technology is important in transformation.

U.S. companies are the leading investors in AI, with each company in the survey spending over $90 million per annum. Huge AI investments are followed by Europe, with spends over $73 million, and Asia-Pacific companies, which are at $55 million each.

“As companies begin to gain a better understanding of AI’s application for business, they will realize the significant impact of this transformative force,” said K Ananth Krishnan, the Chief Technology Officer for TCS. “This is reflected in our Global Trend Study, which shows that forward-thinking companies are beginning to make major AI investments. Given the increasing digital disruption across every industry and the public sector, AI should become a key and integrated component of an organization’s strategy.”

Today, AI is widely used by companies to help customer service representatives (CSRs) quickly resolve problems and anticipate future customer purchases. Automation is also being depended on to secure mass transactions done at financial establishments, and sort out on-board processing to help human resource professionals with hiring employees.

Job reductions?

Perhaps the scariest thing about automation is the fact that companies will be looking for less manpower. Business executives that were surveyed stated that net reductions are estimated to be between 4 and 7 percent by 2020. Companies with the biggest revenues and savings from AI see the need for at least twice as many new jobs in each sector by 2020 because of AI.

As AI becomes more mainstream, investments in the technology sector are expected to skyrocket. TCS’ study clearly shows a direct connection between business services and investments in AI. Companies that are looking to make product and service improvements, as well as cost reductions in manpower are now spending five times more on technology compared to before when automation wasn’t as widely offered by tech companies.

Human touch still needed in automation

From Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) to airport passport scanners, automated systems are now shaping the economy. While many business professionals like Cuban say automation spells the impending doom for factory workers, drivers, and fleet managers, some economists are skeptical that robots will completely take over the workforce.

An article by Telogis, suggests that automated systems cannot account for the complexity of human behavior. It will probably take many more decades for companies to completely eradicate the need for human judgment in situations that call for it. For example, self-driving cars are yet to be equipped with the acute decision making of a human. Automotive companies are making it seem like self-driving cars are within arm’s reach but in reality, the innovation still faces a myriads of problems, from giving licenses to people who can use them to avoiding potential road accidents that may occur when human error is present.

One of the biggest obstacles of automation in self-driving cars is non-verbal communication. For example, humans communicate their intent to do things on the road via actions such as changing lanes or making a sudden stop because of an obstacle on the road through subtle communications if they have technical failures (hand signals, eye contact, etc.) that computers would have difficulty interpreting. What if all of a sudden, two cars decide to enter your lane and a motorcycle cuts you up? Computers aren’t able to react quickly enough to sudden changes, especially if a driver’s tail lights are broken and the driver would need to make hand signals to communicate. This may not be a normal scenario in first-world countries but in developing and third-world nations, hand signals when changing lanes are standard practice. That being said, self-driving cars won’t replace drivers anytime soon.

Students explore the social impact of artificial intelligence

At Tulane University, students are trying to explore the extent of AI’s impact on society. The researchers believe that the world does not fully understand yet AI’s implications and complexities.

“When you speak to Apple’s Siri or Amazon’s Alexa to retrieve info, or use Facebook, you’re actually engaging with artificial intelligence,” said Shawn Rickenbacker, a Favrot Visiting Chair in the Tulane School of Architecture.

Just like many economists, the students believe that today’s AI still has a lot to learn about human behavior despite the fact that the technology can stimulate human functions for problem-solving issues.

“The class examines real-world AI models such as targeted Facebook ads,” adds Rickenbacker. Students also study associated data decision trees to understand algorithms methodology.”

To understand the impacts of AI better, the students take a cross disciplinary approach by engaging in technological issues, and using design to tackle problems. Students contributing to the study have various backgrounds in health sciences, architecture, psychology, and economics.

Robots will certainly replace some humans in the future but that doesn’t mean the world is ready for a complete takeover. Humans are still necessary in order to maintain smooth automation jobs, and make sound judgments in cases that machines can’t properly interpret.