Artificial Intelligence: A Boon or Bane for Employment

Artificial Intelligence is the simulation of human intelligent behavior in machines that after simulation begin to think like humans and start making rational choices. Encyclopedia Britannica defines Artificial intelligence (AI) as ‘the ability of a digital computer or computer-controlled robot to perform tasks commonly associated with intelligent beings.’ This term is frequently applied to the project of developing systems endowed with the intellectual processes that are characteristic of humans, such as the ability to reason, discover meaning, generalize, or learn from experience

. This displays that machines have the potential to slowly replace human labor and soon millions of robots will take the place of humans. The Economist Magazine reports that by 2022 about 75 million jobs will be lost due to the penetration of AI. Elon Musk, founder of Tesla and SpaceX has already termed AI as ‘Biggest Threat’ to humanity. Therefore, the question arises that if AI is a boon or bane for job employment in the future.

The answer is that it is a boon because robotics and AI are creating manifold more jobs than it is destroying. Throughout history, one phase of employment transitioned into new. This resulted in changing the roles of human beings but did not make them irrelevant or jobless. When agrarian societies became dominated by technology, humans entered industries. Later, when machines took human roles in industries, humans diverted their attention towards the services sector. Consequently, humans always remained relevant in the job market as they are the controllers of every technology.

Several manifestations showcase that Artificial Intelligence technology is not bane for human employment, an upsurge in Man-Machine hybrid is one of them. Increased proliferation of robots and machines in various sectors of life has resulted in man-machine duo. This has clearly shown by an article of the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), USA that how humans used Artificial Intelligence (AI) algorithms to diagnose COVID’19 infection in a matter of a few minutes. This duo is here to stay in the future because both humans and machines are dependent on each other.

AI has brought a boom in the robotic industry that is paving the way for more employment generation for humans. Thousands of humans are employed by tech giants all over the world for innovation in the robotic industry. This can be gauged by the increasing number of innovation expos all over the world. In Pakistan, the yearly IDEAS expo displays innovative defense projects.

According to CNBC news, Mark Zuckerberg -the founder of Facebook, has already announced that his company will start hiring individuals on the basis of skillset under the ‘Skill Economy’ concept for boosting innovation in AI sectors. Therefore, reskilling and upskilling would be a tool to make space in the upcoming job market. Therefore, AI is modifying human roles without posing threat to job employment.

AI has brought a revolution in online freelance work all over the globe. Extreme digitization and automation have reduced humanly work in the industry. There has been seen a spike in freelance work because it has diverted the attention of humans from hectic industrial labor to cozy ‘Work From Home” mantra that is reinforced by the COVID’19 pandemic. The Hindu reports that India witnesses a 46pc increase in new freelancers from Q1 to Q2, 2020.

Similarly, in Pakistan trend of freelance work is also on a spike. Freelancer Income Report 2020 states that about 90pc Pakistani under the age of 35 are opting for freelancing as a profession. Imagine, if there would not have been an artificially intelligent platform like Upwork, Fiverr and, these employment opportunities would be a distant dream for millions all over the world. AI has open new horizons of employment opportunities for humans without risking several job roles.

AI has changed the roles of humans in the employment market along with offering new job opportunities in various new sectors. Previously, the work of humans was quite burdensome that could damage health. At present, laborious work is done by machines due to AI. In 1928, The New York Times published an article named ‘MARCH OF THE MACHINE MAKES IDLE HANDS’, but that era between Industrial revolution 2.0 and 3.0 did not curtail down the employment for humans. In 1967, Automated Teller Machine (ATM) was invented but employment in the bank sector was not reduced, rather it changed human roles from counting money to customer facilitation in various areas. Now, if robots or machines are packing materials in factories then humans are indulged in logistics and Quality Assurance of products. Thus, AI is modifying the roles of humans in job sectors and is not bane for human employment.

AI has changed the nature of jobs and the role of the workforce. It has diverted human efforts from laborious tasks to cognitive work. If machines by AI are running factories then humans are still their controllers. Software that is the brain of the machine is still developed by humans and their upgradation is in hands of human beings. Stephen Hawking said about AI that it can serve as the best or worst thing. Hence, by upskilling and reskilling humans can take much out of the world of AI to assume changing roles in the future.

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