A More Positive Stance on the Impact of AI and Human-Machine Collaboration on Jobs

Technology has traditionally been seen as an asset for aiding human development and augmenting our capabilities. At the dawn of the fourth industrial revolution, many people are asking themselves if technology will displace large numbers of people in the workplace. Several media articles have been published recently on the topic, with some proposing very negative views to this effect.

Personally speaking, I have a more positive outlook on what the evolution of AI means for employment opportunities of the future. It is also important to note that many big name analysts and consulting firms such as Accenture agree that AI will bolster the need for human-related jobs, forecasting a 10% increase in job creation for those companies with the vision to boost AI investments. Indeed, emerging technologies such as AI have been around for a while now, and thus far we have seen that any job losses were more than offset by the new jobs they have in turn created. Current levels of unemployment in both the UK and the USA are at record low levels.

In today’s increasingly digital world, we will see a massive increase in automation driven by robotics and machine learning, and this will certainly have a negative impact on low skilled manual labour. In parallel, though, this will be accompanied by an increase in demand for highly skilled workers to maximise the benefits of the digital age as its capability grows. After all, it is humans, not technology, who will continue to provide innovative new ways of working, strategic thinking and brainstorming. This will clearly lead to increased demand for highly skilled people, and we may run the risk of skills shortages unless we can more quickly upskill or reskill the workforce. The fast and ever-increasing pace of the digital world means that lifelong learning and continuous change will be the defining features of employment going forward.

So where will the new jobs come from?

It is safe to say that by 2030 there will be new types of roles which are as yet unknown. In their Realizing 2030 survey about the future of technologies and human-machine partnerships, Dell Technologies and Institute for the Future estimate that 85% of jobs in 2030 haven’t been invented yet.

Job growth will be seen in such areas as:

  • Software and application development to leverage the digital age
  • Roles involving Control, Quality and Auditing of new digital assets
  • Functions like data scientists and big data analysts needed to generate insights from the vast amounts of data produced

What’s more, the digital age will lead to a more service-oriented economy, and many service jobs will be created via these new digitally enabled services.

The digital era will allow for more home and remote working, thereby driving more demand for the tourism industry and creating more jobs in this sector as more and more people will work from ‘second homes’, occasionally or frequently.

Hence I remain confident that we can create the necessary jobs for tomorrow’s tumultuous times, provided we have the foresight to equip people with the skills necessary to prosper in the digital age.