AI is Changing the Nature of Work
Thu, October 21, 2021

AI is Changing the Nature of Work

AI can both take away and create jobs / Credits: petrmalinak via Shutterstock

 

Artificial intelligence is changing the way industries are operating. While it brings countless benefits to us, AI remains to be highly criticized nowadays as it threatens to take jobs away from people. A 2018 Pew Research Center survey revealed that 65% to 90% of those surveyed in advanced economies believe that machines will probably or definitely take over many jobs done by humans. 

However, recent reports show that AI could also create jobs. For instance, a report from the World Economic Forum predicted that there will be over 133 million new jobs created globally over the next five years because of AI. Nonetheless, Daniela Rus, Director of the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL), believes that digital transformation "is causing massive polarization in the labor market.” Rus added that the biggest impact would be felt by middle-skilled workers because automation can reduce the labor needed for things like office work and even sales. 

Rus stated that companies should focus on reskilling today’s workforce. According to PCMag, an American computer magazine, it’s important to have soft skills more than hard skills because they play a huge role in retraining efforts. Rus emphasized that AI has the potential to improve our lives and open the doors to more opportunities. “If we make the right decisions, we can make sure the benefits are distributed widely across our workforce and across our planet,” she added. 

Erik Brynjolfsson, Director of the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy (IDE), added that AI and automation have brought new issues about privacy and security, algorithmic bias, and jobs. But these issues aren’t new. These started as far back as the First Industrial Revolution. The main reason we still made progress is that people still worked on addressing these issues, which accelerated the problems even more. 

“We need to reinvent our skills, organizations, institutions, and metrics to keep up with accelerating technology,” Brynjolfsson said.