Blogpost by Evan Beck
It is the year 2035...
You just finished attending your 15-year high school reunion. You are cruising along the highway in your economy model Tesla, as your partner is dozing off in the reclined passenger seat. Sleep looks nice, especially after a full night of chatting (more like gossiping...) with your old classmates about where the prom king and queen are now, how many kids you all have (or don't...), and a little more close to home...who lost their job to another robot. As you are reminiscing and dozing off, the lights on Electric Highway pass by constantly charging your car, you press autopilot and let Elon drive you the rest of the way home...
Just as you are about to safely fall asleep in your car, like many late nights driving back from the city, you drive by an illuminated billboard advertising, "Human Help Wanted!". Odd...then BAM! You jolt awake! It is the year 2020, you aren't in your economy model Tesla, your high school reunion is still many years away (sooner than you think!), but unfortunately...you do still fear your job will be taken by robots...I'm here to tell you that you do not have to worry about your job being taken by the newest version of Sophia. Well, you don't have to worry as long as you follow this simple guide.
I think that the future won’t be dystopian in nature, and as a society, we can harness the power of AI to become better versions of ourselves, live more fulfilling lives, and solve the biggest problems that humanity faces. For the purpose of this blog post, let's just stick to the more pressing matter of trying to coexist with AI without losing our jobs. In this post written with the help of Addy, my own personal research assistant, I will go over what the experts are forecasting about the impact of AI on job displacement/replacement and highlight what skills you will need to either improve or learn to stay relevant.
What the experts want you to know...
It is no surprise that experts are trying to accurately estimate the impact of AI and automation on our economy. You have experts from major consulting firms like PwC and McKinsey, researchers from Pew Research Center, countries that make up the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD), and many more people and organizations across the world, all throwing their hats in the ring to come up with accurate assessments and come up with potential solutions. A Pew research found that "Americans are roughly twice as likely to express worry (72%) than enthusiasm (33%) about a future in which robots and computers are capable of doing many jobs that are currently done by humans." [8*] Although there is a negative sentiment about a future where AI is capable of these things, the future may not be as bleak as some may think.
Understanding the potential global impact of automation is important since nearly every country's economy is intertwined, and almost no single country operates in a silo. McKinsey, a renowned consulting firm estimates that "worldwide by 2030 automation will only displace 15% of workers, and at most 14% of the global workforce will need to switch job categories, even though 60% of jobs will be susceptible to automation." [7*] Despite the potential susceptibility to automate jobs, it looks like just because a job is very likely to be automated, it doesn't mean that it will be.
Typically, the jobs that rise to the top-of-mind that will be automated are cheaper low-skilled jobs; however, this isn't necessarily the case. A study out of Oxford says that this is because, "while cheap labor jobs in restaurants, services, and manufacturing have the highest automation risks, they may have much lower automation penetration. Upgrading infrastructure, especially hardware, is sometimes just not worth the cost." [7*] The following are some costs associated with the adoption of AI for businesses.
Common Costs for Adoption of AI:
· Legal and Regulatory hurdles [11*]
· Acquiring the technology [7*]
· Integrating the technology into current business practices/processes [7*]
· Overcoming social and cultural norms [11*]
I think the most likely case for automation is that jobs will not be destroyed completely in a short period of time. Instead, we will see iterative replacements of jobs over a longer period of time (decades) due to the scalability issues of these systems. Additionally, we would be seeing people needing to learn how to use complementary AI tools or work alongside AI systems, to help them become more efficient at their current jobs. This is because we are still far away from artificial general intelligence (AGI), which would match humans in all cognitive areas. Erik Brynjolfsson and his colleagues at MIT and Carnegie Mellon University, explain further what machines can learn and what it means for occupations and the economy in their study. News like this is encouraging, it means that you will have plenty of time to learn new skills so that you can stay competitive in the labor market. What skills you ask...well let me tell you!
Skills you need to develop...
Over the next ten years, AI will cause a massive disruption by forcing businesses to restructure their workforce, redesign jobs, and retrain their employees. In just the next two years, "jobs that directly support AI development could account for less than a fifth of in-demand positions, while 60% could require interpersonal, creative or decision-making skills." [9*]. This means that although technical skills will be required to build the AI systems, we will increasingly need humans to manage the machines and focus more on the tasks that machines can't accomplish. We are slowly becoming cyborgs, that is pretty cool right!?
So what should one do in the following years to ensure you have a place alongside AI? Currently, AI is a very critical technology that is extremely powerful but needs to be created and utilized correctly. This means that "employees can play a vital role in identifying opportunities, training models and algorithms, and taking a leadership role in determining if the systems are delivering business value in an ethical way." [8*] "This is a great strategy for the short term but to stay relevant in the long term, an individual will need to essentially be for a lack of a better term "more human".
The following are some soft skills you will need to develop to stay competitive: [8*]
· social interaction
· creative thinking
· decision-making with complex inputs
Although all of these skills are important, there is one skill that will ultimately govern who is able to compete in this new age. That skill is adaptability. Adaptability has been a table stake for all living creatures since the dawn of time. So why should the future be any different?
In regard to adaptability, Richard Agu mentions that, "Workers who have the temperament and fortitude to quickly learn new menu screens, who can find information quickly, and the like will fare well." [11*] Applications will continue to be developed at an accelerated pace as companies find new ways to utilize AI. This cutting-edge technology will need to be packaged intelligently and made accessible to everyday people.
Our team at Addy recognizes this, and that is why we take great care to make our natural language processing technology easily accessible. This is because we want to provide everyone with the ability to quickly find valuable information, speed up their ability to understand vast topics, and then allow them to easily transfer that knowledge to paper.
Now I’m no expert like Erik Brynjolfsson, nor do I have the resources of PwC at my disposal…but what I do have is Addy. I have always been passionate about how technology can impact and change our lives for the better. Addy allowed me to quickly find key pieces of information that I could use to help write this blog post. I was able to aggregate hundreds of search results, quickly get an overview of the outlook of AI, and easily locate what the experts are saying about this subject.
- I built multiple models using the search queries you see above. This allowed me to cover multiple perspectives efficiently, by having Addy read the information for me while I continued to research and learn about these topics.
- I was able to quickly recognize important people and organizations. I am then able to click and highlight these entities to have Addy take me to where they are located in the results.
While I was quickly becoming an “expert” on this domain, I highlighted and clipped quotes from the real experts, and Addy saved all these quotes with sources right to our built-in workbench. No more Crtl-C, Ctrl-V! I was able to tag each quote with my own taxonomy, and quickly organize them into groups. This allowed me to drag and drop the quotes I needed right into my blog as I was writing it, all the while giving credit to original authors. (Auto-citations coming soon!)
- I thought the OECD looked interesting, so I clicked on this organization to find out more about it.
- Thought this quote was important and decided to clip it. Addy then saves it to the Workbench so I can refer to it and possibly use it later in my post. This feature allows me to quickly procure a lot of relevant information as I am reading.
- The clips are stored right alongside your workspace, so you can highlight, and drag n’ drop the clips right into your paper.
- When you save clips, you can tag them at the same time to help you efficiently organize your information. Addy will group all tags together automatically.
- It is important to come up with your own taxonomy so you can organize relevant information easily. You can click on a tag to quickly view all clips you tagged with this term. Allowing you to quickly read all information and choose the best clip to use in your paper.
The only thing that Addy didn’t help me with was my tendency to procrastinate (Sorry John! *Our CEO*). But Addy allowed me to complete this blog post much faster than expected. Saving me extremely valuable time, especially as an employee who wears many different hats at our startup. If you want to save time and dip your toes into learning how to utilize AI, start a free trial of Addy today. You can try Addy for two-months, with no card info required. We want to give you the tools to be successful in this new age of AI, without making you pay unless you find value. The trick is, we know you won’t be able to live without Addy!
Click here to start your Free 2-Month Trial!