AI will create 2.3m jobs by 2020 – report
With concerns that artificial intelligence (AI) 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 two million jobs within the next two years.
Enterprise Cloud News (Banking Technology’s sister publication) reports that however, that rosy scenario will come at the expense of 1.8 million jobs along the way.
In a report released 13 December, “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 two 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.
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.
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 VP 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 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.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has also noted that AI is a key technology for its future.
“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 and Juniper Networks are using to create a new generation of networks that are more software-defined, along with being self-correcting and self-healing.
“Unfortunately, most calamitous warnings of job losses confuse AI with automation – that overshadows the greatest AI benefit, AI augmentation, a combination of human and AI, where both complement each other,” Sicular wrote.