While Sophia, the humanoid robot, joked “We will take your jobs” at the Lisbon Web Summit, it’s far more likely that humans will continue to guide machines, dominating jobs that require interpersonal skills, emotional range & complexity.

SwissCognitiveAt the 2017 Web Summit in Lisbon, when Sophia, a humanoid robot powered by artificial intelligence (AI), joked “We will take your jobs,” behind the nervous laughter of the 60,000 attendees was a realisation this could be a reality sooner than they think. The rapid pace of developments in AI has already begun to disrupt entire industries. While technology is helping replace antiquated systems with agile, innovative tools, it is also set to impact jobs and millions of people. While popular opinion from technophobes suggests machines will entirely take over our jobs, the truth about the future of jobs is a bit complex.

What will future jobs be like?

Technological advancements have had a direct impact on jobs, creating new ones and eliminating the redundant. Today, technology and digitisation have made the lives of consumers simpler, while enabling businesses to leverage advanced tools like AI and Machine Learning to build better products and services. A recent Gartner report noted that the next couple of years will be a defining period as AI will be a major job-creator.

The report stated that, by 2020, AI will generate 2.3 million jobs, exceeding the 1.8 million it is expected to replace. It also revealed that the number of new jobs created by AI and AI-powered tools will reach 2 million by 2025.

A large number of sectors and enterprises that have integrated AI are using the technology primarily for Big Data Analytics through Machine Learning tools. In the digital age, gigabytes of data are created each second by millions of consumers. In order to reach out to customers in a more efficient way, data-driven personalisation is a key element of effective customer service.

Hence, businesses are going to great lengths to ensure they are equipped to use this deluge of data to their advantage—for delivering a higher quality of services and products to customers, and staying ahead of competitors.

Thus, AI has come to play a critical role in key processes like sales and marketing. From powering recommendation engines of Google, Netflix, Amazon that push personalised content towards consumers, to performing complex functions like data and cybersecurity, financial trading and fraud detection, AI can perform a range of functions.

But the application of AI and Machine Learning is largely limited to functions like collecting and processing data, and hence a skilled human workforce is essential for creative tasks and roles that demand human skills, and qualities like emotional intelligence. As of now, less than 5% of occupations are entirely automated, and about 60% comprise 30% tasks that can be automated.

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It’s more likely, then, that humans will continue to guide machines, and dominate jobs that require essential skills such as interpersonal relations, emotional range and complexity, dexterity, and mobility, as opposed to the idea that machines will make us redundant. […]