Around the world innovation

WEF: AI and robots will take millions of jobs – but create even more


Artificial intelligence, robots and algorithms will take over a lot of jobs that are being managed by people today, but they will create even more. The net gain is expected to be 58 million in 2022, according to the World Economic Forum. It is usually said that artificial intelligence, AI, and robotization are a threat to jobs done by humans. Automation makes people simply switch to software and robots. But a big report from World Economic Forum, WEF, presents a significantly brighter picture of the future labor market – and it shows that new technology creates significantly more jobs than it is destroying, at least if we’re looking at the next five-year period. This spans the entire spectrum of the labour market, but the finance sector is specifically interesting to watch.

It’s natural. People fear uncertainty and the unknown. Even though technicians enjoy automated software, artificial intelligence and robotization are expected to remove 75 million jobs by 2022. The fearful are looking at this figure and thinking to themselves: Ha! Told you so! But that’s not the end of the findings by the WEF as they are also expected to have created 133 million new roles in companies around the world. In total, Gartner analysts estimate that, from 2022, AI will annually generate more jobs (2.3 million) than those which disappear (1.9 million). In the recent documentary Do You Trust This Computer which features insight from Elon Musk and other industry leaders, it presents a harrowing picture that our competitive role in the job market is doomed. These recent expectations from the World Economic Forum will perhaps change the opinions of a few pessimists but let’s see.

What about the finance sector? Do banks actually need manual labour of any kind? The effect of the need for labor in banking and finance is an open question and depends on what strategic decisions are made, and how fast it is possible to train and switch labor into new ways to organize and run a bank. Some of us have even had poor experiences when meeting bank employees face-to-face, so does the face of banking really need to be human? Could a digitally made apparatus be presented as the face instead? There are great opportunities here, but determination will be required. Banks will have to choose. They need to make choices without having any cards on the table.

For some, decisions will lead to better business and more jobs, for others, development will be driven to another direction. The most important thing is that the thinking and implementation processes starts, and that you think about AI as an obvious and integral part of business development. That digital giants like Amazon, Google and Facebook invest a large part of their development budget in AI-related projects says a lot about the importance that they attach to the new technology. The fact that AI is included as a priority area should apply to all operations with most of its business and business concept in digital environments. This also applies to anyone who needs to understand and make decisions about investments based on innovation and business development in a digitized economy. Instead of seeing AI as a robot that takes our jobs, we should look at how AI can be used to complement and streamline our intelligence. AI can support our analyses and decisions and simply make us smarter and even more creative in some ways. AI can not set goals, but can help us reach them in ways that we didn’t think was possible before. There is no reason that people should act and perform tasks that are better managed by AI, that’s only a question about the access to finance these mysterious technological entities – but the future will make it cheaper and more accessible just like any market. 

Already in 1989, science fiction author Isaac Asimov wrote in the compilation Robot Visions: “In a properly automated and educated world, then, machines may prove to be the true humanizing influence. It may be that machines will do the work that makes life possible and that human beings will do all the other things that make life pleasant and worthwhile ” 

AI will develop the need for labor in three main branches.

The first, and where we have already come a long way, is within automation. AI systems are good at quickly handling large amounts of data and complex calculations. Repetitive, and monotonous volume data with recognizable patterns can be replaced by AI, thus releasing more time and labor to handle more complex tasks that need the human feel. This is, however, something that can be taken further. When AI starts to mimic human behaviour in a robotic form, will such tasks also gradually be replaced? When they have developed flexible limbs and bodies that would allow them to even excel human ability. Until that day, let us wait. But some of the human characteristics will be hard to replace. It is about tasks that require human abilities such as wisdom and etiquette, ability to convey reasoning, intuition, creativity, empathy and the ability to create relationships. Automation replaces tasks that AI does faster, more efficiently and / or does not require much training. But automation also requires qualified human labor to implement, develop and maintain the AI ​​solution.

The second branch is about how AI is involved and provides support in our processes and decisions. This is not a question of replacing human labor by AI, but about a form of cooperation; AI augmentation – the interaction between man and machine where both parties complement and reinforce each other’s abilities and strengths. AI will then become a resource for strengthening and refining knowledge and decision making, and streamlining momentum and processes.

There are examples where customers perceive that analyses and decisions are taken too quickly to be well-founded, and where the bank has slowed down response time for a decision. A little further ahead, we will be used to complex decision making based on extensive financial analyzes, if not in real time, so very quickly. How well these analytics and decision making tools become, will distinguish financial players. Customer service is a volume data area where the AI ​​implementation has already come a long way. Basic customer service with clear volume issues, an AI assistant can take care of, but for more difficult cases, the human administrator is linked. AI can assist people with faster cognitive processes such as analyzing and categorizing a customer based on tone and word selection, then directing it to a suitable agent based on non-traditional factors. For example, AI can make an initial assessment of the customer’s commitment and emotional status.

The third branch is how AI manages brand new services, professions and industries required to develop, implement and maintain AI and AI collaboration for automation and augmentation. Accenture recently conducted a study of how big companies are looking at the needs of labor linked to AI. The report identifies three categories of new professions that will require human skills – trainers, explainers and sustainers. Common to these new professions is that they help the work of the machines to be effective, relevant, responsible, ethical and fair. AI systems are largely based on self-learning algorithms, but we should remember that the systems can not imagine themselves (like a human being). AI do not know about what’s right or wrong. Could we ever teach or program it? That is a question that only time can answer.

On that note, we should understand that AI comes with its dystopian aspects and makes us feel smaller in a world that just keeps growing. Competition is becoming more fierce and with the addition of AI and robotics, it adds another layer of concern. Let us wait, but let us wait in preparation. 

Evolvera – Always changing, always evolving…

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