As Artificial Intelligence becomes more mainstream and applications spread to more businesses and areas of business, there is a mounting fear that jobs will be destroyed in the process. This mindset causes many to resist the idea of AI’s rise, but it shouldn’t – it’s possible, perhaps even likely, that AI will actually create jobs on net.
Indeed, a recent report by Gartner indicated that while AI could eliminate 1.8 million jobs, it may also create 2.3 million jobs in the process. That’s a net job creation of 500,000 jobs.
The restructuring of the ‘modern,’ AI-driven economy could be messy. It will almost certainly not result in those net 500,000 arriving immediately, and it may take years to develop a workforce with an entirely new set of skills. But for those who are game and willing to learn, the future is bright.
In the immediate future, there are four professions in particular that could see an immediate and voluminous boost, as more companies adopt AI and as it envelops more aspects of the economy more quickly. Here they are:
1) Data Scientists — these are the people who analyze data to help companies work more efficiently and make smarter business decisions. In the past, data scientists had to manually analyze huge data sets to arrive at conclusions, but now AI can do much of the heavy lifting for them. But the AI cannot necessarily arrive at the action items businesses should take once the data is analyzed – a data scientist can. This profession is essentially part mathematician, part computer scientist, and part visionary. For data scientists, AI is like having an assistant on steroids. According to IBM, demand for data scientists could soar by 28% by 2020, with annual demand for new data scientists hitting 700,000 per year.
2) Data Labeling Professionals — if there is a “blue collar” job that could emerge from the revolution in AI, it could be in the field of data labeling. These people are needed to take raw data, clean it up, and organize it before feeding it to the machines. This allows businesses to train the AI to perform new tasks.
3) AI/Machine Learning Engineers — these are experts in computer science who generally have strong coding abilities. 10 years ago, these computer scientists would generally just find work in the field of academia, but oh how things have changed over the last few years. Now, with every type of industry looking to integrate AI into business functions, this is one of the more highly sought after professions in the field. Going forward this is not likely to change.
4) AI Hardware Specialists — much like data labeling professionals, this profession may also be considered a “blue collar” job in the AI field. There is surging demand for the hardware that powers AI, such as GPU chips and hardware architecture that mirrors the design of neural networks. This could lead to a revolution in the ailing manufacturing industry, with a pivot to high tech manufacturing.
AI is likely to result in new industries, sales opportunities, and efficient production systems that will allow companies to scale and contain costs like never before. This will actually help create jobs in the long run, even though in the short run it could destroy many in its path. For new workers entering the workforce, it is more essential than ever to have technical training in computer science and technology to be equipped to find success in the new economy. Changes are happening fast.