The optimists argue that there is nothing to worry about. AI will not take jobs away. It will actually create them. According to Gartner, Inc., a business consulting firm, AI will create 2.3 million jobs and eliminate 1.8 million jobs by 2020. That is a net gain of 500,000 jobs. Moreover, it forecasts that there will be as many as 2 million net new jobs by 2025.
Researchers for Gartner argue that significant innovations that have occurred in the past has led to a transition period in which jobs are lost temporarily. They argue that a recovery usually follows. They conclude that will be the case as AI expands into the greater economy. The warnings of job losses are due to forecasters confusing AI with automation. They note that AI will lead to more of a combination of human and AI, so that one complements the other.
Gartner’s researchers conclude that:
- In 2021, AI growth will produce $2.9 trillion in business value and recover 6.2 billion hours of worker productivity.
- By 2022, one in five workers who perform tasks that are not routine will depend on AI to do their jobs.
- Through 2022, attempts by retailers to replace sales associates with AI will fail because research shows that consumers would rather interact with salespeople than AI especially in specialized trades including home improvement, drugstores, and cosmetics. Research shows that knowledgeable salespeople make more of an impact on customer satisfaction than AI. However jobs involving checkout and operations will be lost.
Meanwhile, the pessimists are saying that AI will replace workers period.
Gallup, a business analytics firm, concludes that Millennials are most vulnerable to the threat of AI. It warns that 37% of Millennials are at risk of redundancy. Moreover, that segment will be caught up in jobs that will become automated by 2055 or earlier.
The previous generations will have relative job security because of the important positions they hold within their companies. Their rate of redundancy is expected to be about 32%. In short, it will be easier to replace younger workers than older ones who hold management or executive jobs. In fact, these senior employees are probably the ones who are involved with deciding to implement AI in the business. They certainly won’t replace themselves.