Contrary to the popular belief that Artificial Intelligence (AI) will cut physical jobs, a new report by Gartner on Wednesday said by 2020, AI will create 2.3 million jobs, while eliminating 1.8 million.
The number of jobs affected by AI will vary by industry. Through 2019, healthcare, the public sector and education will see continuously growing job demand while manufacturing will be hit the hardest. Starting in 2020, AI-related job creation will cross into positive territory, reaching two million net-new jobs in 2025, the report by the research and advisory company said.
“Many significant innovations in the past have been associated with a transition period of temporary job loss, followed by recovery, then business transformation and AI will likely follow this route,” Svetlana Sicular, Research Vice President at Gartner, said in a statement. AI would improve the productivity of many jobs, eliminating millions of middle and low-level positions, but also creating millions more new positions of highly skilled, management and even the entry-level and low-skilled variety.
“Unfortunately, most calamitous warnings of job losses confuse AI with automation – that overshadows the greatest AI benefit – AI augmentation – a combination of human and AI, where both complement each other,” Sicular added. IT leaders should not only focus on the projected net increase of jobs.
With each investment in AI-enabled technologies, they must take into consideration what jobs will be lost, what jobs will be created, and how it will transform how workers collaborate with others, make decisions and get work done, the report said. Gartner also predicted AI’s impact on the workplace. It said that by 2022, one in five workers engaged in mostly non-routine tasks will rely on AI to do a job.
“Using AI to auto-generate a weekly status report or pick the top five e-mails in your inbox does not have the same wow factor as, say, curing a disease would, which is why these near-term, practical uses go unnoticed,” added Craig Roth, Research Vice President at Gartner.
“Companies are just beginning to seize the opportunity to improve non-routine work through AI by applying it to general purpose tools.” Through 2022, multi-channel retailer efforts to replace sales associates through AI will prove unsuccessful, although cashier and operational jobs will be disrupted, the report said, adding that in 2021, AI augmentation will generate $2.9 trillion in business value and recover 6.2 billion hours of worker productivity.
According to Mike Rollings, Research Vice President at Gartner: “Rather than have a machine replicating the steps that a human performs to reach a particular judgment, the entire decision process can be re-factored to use the relative strengths and weaknesses of both machine and human to maximise value generation and redistribute decision making to increase agility.”