Automation has great potential in applications (and creating jobs) across industries
Machines can lift heavier loads, undertake more perilous tasks, and do so around the clock in comparison to human labor. Guided by AI-driven systems, automation will provide new levels of efficiency which will have a substantial impact on optimizing processes and ensuring better service delivery across industries. Manufacturing defects can become a thing of the past. Automated logistics can ensure faster movement of products and raw materials. Self-driving cars and drones can revolutionize the transportation and delivery services, creating greater convenience across the board for customers and suppliers alike. To identify how best to integrate these new technologies—an army of AI experts would be required to use human judgment, creativity, and programming skills. According to the World Economic Forum, automation and AI-related opportunities will be amongst the highest employment generating avenues between 2015 and 2020.
The development and adoption of these technologies will see the emergence of massive opportunities for human programmers with skills in automation and AI. Human AI and automation experts are likely to find work initially in high-tech companies working on the technology; subsequently, as the technology hits the market in greater force, they will find openings just about everywhere. From programming shop-floor robots and even cleaning robots, these programmers will be expected to adapt this emergent technology into fields as diverse as retail, manufacturing, finance, transportation, entertainment, healthcare, e-commerce, and agriculture. The development and emergence of allied technologies and applications of AI and automation—self-driving cars, drones, flying vehicles, big data analytics—also hold the promise to create thousands of jobs for these professionals. AI has the potential to contribute up to USD 15.7 trillion to the global economy in 2030—more than the current output of China and India put together.
Automation can help unlock human potential
According to a report by McKinsey on automation, it is anticipated that automation and AI will increase global productivity by 0.8-1.4% between 2015 and 2065. For comparison, the steam engine only added 0.3%, and the much-touted ‘information age’ IT industry only added around 0.6%. Researchers at Capgemini found that out of the 1000 organizations surveyed, 4 out of 5 companies that have deployed AI have created more jobs, and 2/3rds of these companies have seen no reduction in overall jobs due to AI. A Deloitte study of automation in the UK indicates that automation replaced 800,000 workers in the UK, and then created 3.5 million new jobs. A study by the Progressive Policy Institute showed that while e-commerce created 400,000 new jobs, it replaced only 140,000 brick-and-mortar retail jobs.
For professionals across the globe, automation will represent an opportunity for them to evaluate their industry, identify its weaknesses, and design and create automation-reliant systems to make them better, and add more value across the board for companies and customers alike. Such professionals will be able to leverage their experience and insight into their field of work to create perfect, sustainable systems that will bring the efficiency of automation into the industry while improving their income manifold. However, to leverage the automation wave will require these professionals to reskill themselves in relevant, automation focused technologies. Fortunately, online learning organisations of renown have tapped into this coming demand and are offering professionals the opportunity to learn these cutting-edge technologies at their convenience, enabling them to take advantage of automation in greater measure than others and improving their value in the job market considerably.
With so much evidence in favor of choosing automation technology as a career option, professionals mastering this technology today will be hailed as the creators of a technologically-enabled future. Who knows, they might one day even be counted amongst the pioneers of the dawn of humankind’s bright future.
The author is MD India, Udacity