Tue. Oct 20th, 2020

It is evident to say the modern information technologies and the advent of machines powered by artificial intelligence (AI) have already strongly influenced the world of work in the 21st century. Computers, algorithms, and software have helped simplify everyday tasks. (IBA Global Employment Institute, Gerlind Wissskirchen, Blandine Thibault Biacabe, Ulrich Borman Annemarie Muntz, Gunda Niehaus Guillermo Jimenez Soler  Beatrice von Brauchitsch April 2017)

Looking at the experiences of the past to the future, some thoughtful questions arise; what will the future world of work be like, and what amount of time will it require to get there? Will it be a world of work where employees spend less time working and likewise earning a livelihood? Furthermore, while also alternatively, is mass unemployment, mass poverty, and social distortion.  One thing is clear, that the new technical developments will have a fundamental impact on the global labor market.

The digitalization of the labor market has a widespread impact on intellectual property. Furthermore, it has an impact on information technology, product liability, productivity, efficiency, and precision of everyday tasks.

Life has come a long way and humans have played a huge role in different facets of development to advance the course of a better life.

When we look back in time in the era of the First revolution and Second, Third, and Fourth industrial revolution, we come to understand the progress attained. The first revolution being the era of coal, water, and steam. It brought about the steam engine and innovations which enabled large scale manufacturing of goods and products. Some examples are textiles, paper, and glass. People flocked to cities to work in factories under low wages and in very terrible conditions.

The second industrial revolution came with many inventions of electricity, and this enabled mass production. For instance, dating from the 1800s to the early 1900s, this phase marked the emergence of the internal combustion engine and likewise the automobile. This period saw an increase in the use of steel. Furthermore, eventually the discovery of petroleum, and the productivity of electric current.

THE ADVANCEMENT OF LIVE IN RELATION TO AI

Innovation has always been a primary source of competitive advantage for companies in essentially all industries and environments. This goes a long way to drive efficiency and productivity. AI has helped a wide range of tools to help people rethink and function differently. Mostly in the workplace and how we do things. From how we integrate information, analyze data, and use the resulting insights to make credible decisions.

AI is a technology that has great effects on transforming every walk of life. It has given precision and accuracy in health care, national security, criminal justice, and productivity in the workplace. In this article, it’s aimed to highlight the pros and cons of artificial intelligence in the workplace using different hypothesis and case scenario.

WHAT IS ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE?

Artificial intelligence (AI), sometimes called machine intelligence, is intelligence demonstrated by machines, unlike the natural intelligence displayed by humans and animals.

Wikipedia

The name behind the idea of AI is John McCarthy, who began research on the subject in 1955. He assumed that each aspect of learning and other domains of intelligence can be described so precisely that they can be simulated by a machine.

According to the IBA Global Employment Institute research, it states that artificial intelligence describes the work processes of machines that would require intelligence if performed by humans. The term intelligence thus means investigating intelligent problem-solving behavior and creating intelligent computer systems.

ECONOMIC IMPACTS OF ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

Taking a look at the five categories of economic artificial intelligence as highlighted by the IBA Global Employment Institute research which cuts across different strata of life and these are seen in the fields of; deep learning, Robots, Dematerialization, Gig economy, and Autonomous driving. 

Deep learning; this machine learning is based on a set of algorithms that attempt to model high-level abstractions in data. Unlike human workers, the machines are connected the whole time. If one of the machines makes a mistake, all autonomous systems will keep this factored. They will avoid a repeat of the same mistake the next time.

Robots (Programmed Machines): this works with high precision and accuracy during the task, as a result of advancement in technology. With the likes of creative solutions and 3D printing and self-learning ability in the process, robots may replace humans.

Dematerialization; the automatic use of data processing and data recording has paved way to do off with traditional back office. Such activities are no longer required in demand. An autonomous software data collating system will collect all necessary information and send it to every area where needed.

In addition data storage devices like CD, DVDs, flash drives are being replaced by cloud storage services. Soonest the traditional booking of tickets and check-ins at the workplace or in a Hotel will become digitalize and also the transactions in physical cash will no longer be in much use as more smartphones create many more possibilities.

Engagement – economy:  the rise of self-employment and flexible work mode will be advanced as many work modes will not require physical presence. There are more and more independent contractors and employers who advertise jobs for individuals to work remotely. Likewise, the use of physical job interviews may not be required. It can be done via Apps like Zoom, Google meet, Microsoft Team, and Skype.

Self- driving:  the future holds so much possibility in terms of self-driving cars, and automobiles. This self-governance uses censors and navigating without human inputs. Taxi and Truck drivers will become obsolete. The same applies to delivery drivers if the distribution will be done by drones in the future.

It can also be recalled that in the 1800s, machines helped in the production of goods and services and the essential invention of the steam engine. However, the result led to a replacement of many employees that led to social unrest in the first industrial revolution. Steam engines were introduced for the first time in the factories in the UK; they were a great driving force for industrialization.

The second revolution saw the beginning of electrification. The end of the 19th century brought in the assembly line in the automotive industry.   It helped accelerate and automate production processes. The term Industry 2.0 is characterized by separate steps being executed by workers specialized in respective areas. Serial production was born. At the same time, automatically manufactured goods were transported to different continents for the first time. This was aided by the beginning of aviation

The third industrial revolution began in the 1970s and was distinguished by IT and further automation through electronics. As a result, when personal computers and the internet took hold in working life, it meant global access to information and automation of working steps. Human labor was replaced by machines in serial production.

In the fourth industrial revolution, we will see more of the technical integration of the cyber-physical system (CPS) into production and logistics. Furthermore, use of the internet of things and in the connection between every object and in the industrial processes. This will likely, lead to fewer requirements for human handling and processing. According to the IBA publication, this advancement includes the consequences for a new creation of value, business models as well as downstream services and work organization. CPS refers to the network connections between humans, machines, products, objects, and ICT (information and communication technology) systems in the place of work. Within the next five years, it is expected that over 50 billion connected machines will exist throughout the world. The introduction of AI in the service sector distinguishes the fourth industrial revolution from the third.

AI is a branch of computer science and is concerned with the construction and deployment of intelligent agents as computer programmers and with understanding the behavior of these artifacts.

J.Felman, in International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Science, 2001

With the possible values AI comes with, there are some whose opinion is concerned about the safety and application in our daily lives and how it is going to affect the workplace.

Elon Musk is one of his tweets raised concerns on his fears for artificial intelligence. Speaking at MIT in 2014 according to vox.com, he called AI humanity’s biggest existential threat and compared it to summoning the demon.  

In context, it is a concern on accountability on the part of the organizations whose workings deal with AI. If AI must be put in use, it should be done with caution and with high enough regulated standards According to a Forbes publication on the negative impacts of Artificial Intelligence written by Bernard Marr it stated that Artificial Intelligence (AI) is doing a lot of good and will continue to provide many benefits for our modern world, but along with the good, there will inevitably be negative consequences. The sooner we begin to contemplate what those might be, the better equipped we will be to mitigate and manage the dangers.

THE IMPACT OF ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE ON THE LABOUR MARKET

 It is no doubt that both blue-collar and white-collar sectors will be affected. The faster the process of the division of labor and the more single working or process steps can be described in detail, the sooner employees can be replaced by intelligent algorithms. It is assumed one-third of current jobs requiring a bachelor’s degree can be performed by machines or intelligent software in the future. Individual jobs will disappear completely, and new types of jobs will come into being. It must be noted in this regard, however, that no jobs will be lost abruptly. Instead, a gradual transition will take place. It has already commenced and differs from industry to industry and from company to company

Owing to the great number of emerging multidisciplinary support alternatives due to AI and machines, the requirements for future employees will change. There will be hardly any need for employees who do simple and/or repetitive work. The number of factory workers is constantly decreasing, and humans are even more becoming the control mechanism of the machine. The automotive industry, where many production steps are already fully automated, is the pioneer in this respect.

 The lower the demand for workers, the higher will be the companies’ demand for highly qualified employees. According to common belief, better education will help.

EXAMPLES OF ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE REPLACEMENT IN THE WORKPLACE

The Hong Kong restaurant has automated the cooking process of its food via a robot. Once an order is placed, a mechanical arm delivers prepared ingredients to automatic stir-fry machines. This has replaced the need for human chefs. This method and approach will, however, standardize the seasoning of food and make its taste the same at all times.

The world of football, FIFA is organizing the possibility of getting rid of linesmen and other officials on match day and replace them with the robot. Many football fans are still VAR skeptics and with such development. It could lead to loss of jobs for linesmen and other football officials.

THE PROS OF ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

  • With the advancement of life and the introduction of artificial intelligence, this will lead to more powerful and more useful computers especially in precision and accuracy in a job.
  • Artificial intelligence will help in solving new problems
  • Better handling of information
  • AI would have a low error rate compared to humans, if well coded.
  • AI robots won’t be affected by a hostile environment, which makes it able to compete in dangerous tasks and endure problems that would injure or kill humans.
  • Will have better standards in organization and proper management.
  • Will help carryout complex task without any feeling of tiredness

THE CONS OF ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

  • AI, replacing jobs with robots can lead to severe job loss and a high rate of unemployment
  • Machines can easily lead to destruction if put or controlled in the wrong hands in the workplace.
  •  Running with installed robots in the workplace still requires manual labor attached to them. Training these employees on how to work with the robot will definitely cost so much.

MY OPINION

Artificial intelligence will play a huge role in the advancement of life and in the aspect of achieving complex tasks giving huge accuracy to job descriptions with a standardized result. Irrespective of the introduction of artificial intelligence in the workplace, it will be of great value to have involved the human-robot control such that humans are not completely replaced. Robots can be used to carry out complex jobs and job descriptions with a hazardous threat to life and safety.

Artificial intelligence should be used for complementary services in the workplace. This can also reduce the working hours of humans within the workspace. In order to adapt to the new workspace, there is a need for employees to learn new skills that will position them employable.

CONCLUSION

All being said, the pros and cons being evaluated, with the hypothesis of this research it is up to the reader and their perspective. From every indication, artificial intelligence and robots will improve the way we work. However, there should be a balance in the opportunities available between humans and robots.

Sources:

Sources: AI-and-Robotics-IBA-GEI-April-2017

Wikipedia, Forbes, (IBA Global Employment Institute, Gerlind Wissskirchen, Blandine Thibault Biacabe, Ulrich Borman Annemarie Muntz, Gunda Niehaus Guillermo Jimenez Soler Beatrice von Brauchitsch April 2017)

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