Will AI Become our Friend or Foe?

Quickly becoming one of the largest talking points across the business world is what impact will AI have when it comes to employment? And is it our friend or foe? We take a closer look.

When viewing the figures released by the World Economic Forum, it seems likely that AI is more likely to help us rather than hinder us. Through research, they determined that almost 133 million jobs globally are likely to be created by the introduction of machines and AI. Compare this to the 75 million it could be likely to displace instead, and it might be enough to settle some growing fears about its impact. AI’s introduction has also been likened to the Industrial Revolution, a period which helped to create new jobs and development of the wider world.

Is Automation the Bigger Concern?

There have however, been discussions on the potential risk of automation to human employment instead. The initial findings on AI’s involvement in today’s society were gathered together from a survey taken by company executives. The executives represented 15 million workers across 20 different nations and were discussed during the annual Davos gathering, an event which gathers together key business leaders and politicians.

At the event, the topic of automation was raised, as of which, Klaus Schwab, chairman of the WEF, stressed that employment gains from technology were not a “foregone conclusion”. Further to this, the report detailed several urgent challenges that workers will require ‘re-skilling’ to protect some roles that are currently at risk of being replaced by automation.

Could Machines and AI Replace Human Workers?

And his words could prove to be significant indeed. According to a recent study by the Fabian Society and the Community trade union, more than 6 million workers were quoted to be expressing concern that their jobs could soon be replaced by machines over the next decade. Automation has already been introduced into several business structures, including online retailer Shop Direct. With their plans to relocate to a new distribution centre, the company stated that it could see 2,000 human controlled jobs disappear due to new automation processes.

In an article created for Forbes, Grace Totoro explains how workers can work towards become part of the automation solution, and not the problem. In it, she explains that: “Possessing soft skills that require some form of internal or external customer interface and emotional intelligence are harder to replace because they need personal contact to be effective.For now, it’s a matter of attitude and changing the way we look at work. Become part of the solution, not the problem. With a forward-thinking mindset, individuals who embrace the new economy will be more valuable to companies and therefore more employable than those who keep fighting the system and trying to avoid change in any form.”

Totoro then provides a point of optimism for those concerned about AI and automation arriving in their workplace. “Those who know and convey their value and demonstrate their impact will become the smart solution that will surpass the robot’s qualifications.”

Are you worried about the possible effects AI and automation might soon have on your place of work?

Or are you ready to embrace this new technology to help you further develop in your chosen career?

Be sure to tweet us at @OfficeSuppBlog with your thoughts or leave us a comment below.

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