Artificial intelligence (AI) has been a staple of science-fiction stories for as long as the genre has existed. But in 2018, sci-fi is becoming a reality. AI is an area of computer science aiming to build software and hardware that replicates important human mental faculties, ultimately thinking and reacting like a human. Crucially, AI is designed to learn and evolve on its own, rather than strictly taking instructions like traditional software.
Experts agree that AI’s effects will be widely felt, regardless of industry. IT professionals, who will be interacting daily with the technology as they teach and maintain these programs, are on the front lines of developing and propelling the technology forward, and therefore stand to intimately witness the impact first hand. While it seems obvious that IT professions will impact AI, the less often asked question is: how will AI impact the IT profession and the job market at large?
AI and Jobs: A Bright Future?
Most fears about AI stem from automation – that the technology will render some jobs, like truck-driving, accounting, and vast swaths of the manufacturing sector, obsolete. While it is true that, for example, self-driving trucks will remove the need for truck drivers, multiple recent studies have found that AI is actually set to create more jobs than it eliminates. A study of automation in the UK from Deloitte, the prominent consulting firm, found that AI made 800,000 jobs obsolete, but created 3.5 million new ones, averaging $13,000 more in pay.
Many of the new jobs are in data, whose symbiotic relationship with AI has allowed both to grow in tandem. AI makes it feasible to gain valuable insights from massive amounts of raw data that would be too much for human analysis on its own. This, in turn, has created entirely new fields and jobs that no one would have imagined 10 years ago.
What Kind of Impact Can We Expect?
Experts agree that, while the world should prepare for wide-ranging economic, social, and societal consequences, there will likely be far more positive effects than the movie Terminator would lead you to believe. AI may be able to learn on its own, but it is not wholly autonomous. IT professionals will be responsible for programming the parameters of AI’s behavior, ensuring it completes its assigned (and, with the advent of AI ethicists, principled) functions.
A computer may have the potential to perform certain tasks, but it is limited by its operator’s ability – AI is no different. Each technician’s unique talents will be the keys to unlocking AI’s potential, giving companies the opportunity to innovate beyond using it for basic, automated tasks. Skilled IT workers will help companies maximize the technology’s positive benefits (for example, using AI’s strength for spotting patterns or trends to predict locations of disease outbreaks) and minimize dystopian-future-esque outcomes. Here at Tickeron, we have developed AI for similar purposes – to identify trends and patterns in the capital markets and to use historical and accumulated data to create probabilities of what might happen in the future. Our hope is that the technology can arm everyday investors with more data, which in our view means investing smarter.
The ongoing development of AI applications will no doubt continue to inch towards center stage, and the global debate over how far AI can and should go will be a world-shaping one. IT professionals will be on the front lines of this evolution, and if there is to be a bright future for AI, IT professionals will play crucial role in making it so.
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