Artificial Intelligence and the Future of the Job Market
As much progress as technology can enable, there’s often a social downside that might not be so evident at first. The dawn of the industrial age brought automation to the workforce and allowed businesses and the economy to grow to sizes no one ever imagined possible. But the efficiency came with a radical shift in employment as less and less workers were needed. Employees had to adapt their skills in order to adapt to the new paradigm.
There’s a similar change on the horizon today. Technologies like IoT have already begun showing us what the future could look like with smart grids, self-driving cars and a slew of other advances. While these technologies promise to advance economic growth, it’s very likely there will be consequences. Already, there is a concern that self-driving cars could spell the end of the trucking industry, meaning that thousands of truck drivers could be out of a job within the next decade.
But none of that compares to the impact artificial intelligence could bring.
The Economic Impact of A.I.
It might sound like something out of science fiction, but artificial intelligence is not only real, it’s happening all around us. A form of AI exists in a number of things we see on a daily basis – and no, I’m not talking about Siri. Streetlights are being engineered to “learn” traffic patterns based on the time of day and day of the week in order to determine how long a red light or green light should last. Social media sites like Facebook use a type of AI to track our internet habits in order to custom tailor the advertisements we see on our feeds. But this technology is still in its infancy. There are much bigger possibilities.
What happens when AI becomes something that we can’t live without? Machines that are able to operate autonomously and even self-repair or identify problems before they exist are less than a decade away from being implemented in the workplace. Server and cashier jobs could be easily replaced by AI, making unskilled labor a thing of the past. Anyone without a skill won’t be able to find employment at all.
But even in skilled positions, we could see AI taking over. Power grids, transportation and even media could all theoretically be run by AI programming. Scientists have already developed a machine that can learn art styles and paint a completely original picture without any human input. The future of the workforce is rapidly changing and the economy will likely undergo extreme volatility once these implementations begin to take root.
What the world might look like post-AI is a matter of debate and speculation, but one thing is certain: these changes are happening. There may come a point in which we’ll need to radically change the workforce paradigm. Concepts like basic universal income are already being discussed. Until these things become a reality, it might be a good idea to brush up those resumes and start adding to your skill set in order to stay competitive.