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Artificial intelligence (AI) has been around longer than most people realize. The intent behind much of AI is to free us from mundane repetitive tasks, giving us more time to grow our intellects and businesses, with more interesting, evolving actions. We want what we want when we want it. AI offers us that access with speed and accuracy when we need it.|
In London, self-driving robots deliver food. In Pasadena, California, a robot named Flippy can cook it. Last fall, an autonomous train made its way across the Australian outback for the first time, and Zhuzhou, China, began testing a trackless and driverless train that navigates city streets by means of lines painted on the road. From writing articles for The Washington Post to creating music, artificial intelligence is everywhere. And its adoption is rapidly becoming necessary for businesses to stay competitive.
How does this affect human employees? As co-founder of a company that utilizes artificial intelligence to provide customer support solutions, I believe that low-skilled jobs are most likely to be affected and most chances of being automated. White collar jobs are also at risk though with AI taking a bigger role in the financial industry.
But despite all this, the future for human employees may be much brighter than many recent predictions. While AI destroys jobs, it also creates them. And according to a report from the research firm Gartner, artificial intelligence is currently creating more jobs than it destroys, with a net increase of over two million jobs by 2025. This includes not only the obvious jobs such as software engineers but also low-level jobs such as training AI to recognize objects or human activity and many others.
AI may destroy jobs and it may create them, but it’s not always about man versus machine. AI can be at its best when it helps humans to perform jobs. For example, last year, Walmart announced it was beginning tests of shelf scanning robots at 50 locations. These robots are not intended to replace human workers but to make them more efficient. The robots free employees from the tedious task of walking the aisles looking for out of stock products and allow them to focus their time on filling the shelves, replacing items left in the wrong place and fixing problems that the robots notify them of. The goal here is to reduce the number of times a customer looks for an item only to discover an empty shelf.