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No, AI Isn’t Coming For Your Job

September 8, 2023
September 8, 2023
Data Science & Machine Learning in IoT Hero Image
Data Science & Machine Learning in IoT Hero Image
September 8, 2023

It’s a natural human trait to approach the unknown with a healthy dose of skepticism. That’s why AI tends to make people uneasy — it’s still widely misunderstood, evolves rapidly, and demonstrates almost infinite, yet-to-be-discovered potential. But is AI really the threat that alarmist headlines would have us believe? 

The short answer is no. It’s high time we navigate the intricacies of AI predictions, debunk a few misconceptions, and demystify the fears that surround this topic. AI isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, so it’s imperative that we perceive AI as an elaborate ecosystem teeming with reciprocal advantages and opportunities rather than a hostile entity.

Moravec’s Paradox

To begin, let’s take a look at what’s known as  Moravec’s Paradox. This theory, attributed to the AI prodigy Hans Moravec, underlines a peculiar fact: high-level reasoning requires less computational power than ‘basic’ sensorimotor tasks do. 

In simpler terms, this means the tasks that humans find effortless are significantly more challenging for our silicon-based peers. AI can trounce human opponents in chess, perform calculations at extraordinary speed, but request it to maneuver through a bustling room, or recognize a familiar face in low light? That’s where it falls short. This is because these tasks are the result of millions of years of evolution. They’re so embedded in our biology that they appear instinctive.

infographic illustrrating Moravec's Paradox

Take another example: picking up a penny that’s lying face down on a table. Certainly not impossible for a robot, but definitely computationally intensive, and in comparison, a young child could effortlessly perform this task.

What does this denote for job security? For starters, it means that occupations involving intricate sensorimotor skills like carpentry, surgery, or hairstyling are less likely to be substituted by AI than roles involving data sorting or similar tasks. 

Additionally, “This is the dawn of unbridled creativity. AI is a tool to unleash us to be super creative,” says Carol Reiley, AI roboticist and entrepreneur. Yes, an AI can crunch actuarial tables and more quickly process insurance claims, but we’ll see expansive growth in fields requiring creativity. Both Product and Digital Designers now also have generative AI tools like MidJourney and DALL-E that help them rapidly ideate, prototype, and push their own creativity to new levels.

Let’s flip the script on the “AI is here for our jobs” narrative. Consider this perspective:  AI isn’t targeting your job, it’s targeting your tasks. The routine, the monotonous, the systematic. By automating these elements, AI creates an avenue for you to engage in more meaningful work — tasks that necessitate human connection, creativity, empathy, and the uniquely human sensorimotor skills.

Let’s take it one step further. Instead of viewing AI-related competencies in job descriptions as an imposing obligation, can we view them as a golden opportunity for employees to upskill and progress their careers?   AI is already prevalent, and the time is ripe to demystify it and regard it as a fundamental tool in our professional toolkit.

Take prompting, for instance. AI-powered prompting technology is revolutionizing sectors from customer service to sales and marketing. But why confine it there? Could we imagine a scenario in which prompting becomes a tool for professionals in general to enhance their productivity?

Imagine a project manager utilizing AI prompting to manage tasks, optimize workflow, or predict project risks; a teacher leveraging AI prompting to personalize lesson plans based on student performance data; a marketer utilizing AI prompting to craft compelling narratives or forecast market trends. The potential is truly limitless.

Not a Threat, But an Opportunity

This brings us to the heart of the matter. Incorporating AI into job descriptions isn’t about setting a daunting standard or instilling fear. On the contrary, it’s about acknowledging the reality of our professional landscape and equipping employees with the tools needed to thrive in it.

Bringing AI into the fold denotes a shift from viewing it as a menace to perceiving it as a collaborator in our professional growth. By learning to navigate and exploit AI tools, we can enhance our unique human skills, liberate ourselves from routine tasks, and introduce an efficient dynamic to our roles.

Undeniably, this integration is not without its own challenges. It will necessitate concerted efforts from both employers and employees to learn, train, and strategize for a “new normal.” However, the potential rewards could be revolutionary.

As Roy Amara, the esteemed futurist and technologist, once said, “We tend to overestimate the effect of a technology in the short run and underestimate the effect in the long run.” So, why not welcome the long run and tap into the undervalued potential of AI to reshape our work and ourselves?

AI doesn’t signify the demise of jobs, but instead marks a shift in the roles and skills that will be in demand.  The digital revolution birthed roles like ‘Social Media Manager’ and ‘UX Designer’ — roles that were unthinkable a few decades ago. In the same vein, the age of AI will likely spur a similar emergence of new, yet unforeseen roles. It’s not a question of job loss; it’s a matter of job evolution.

Still, the transition into the age of AI requires accountability from employers and professional leaders. The bar for keeping great people engaged has risen, as evidenced by a recent stat published by The Muse: “80% of Gen Z and Millennial employees said it’s acceptable to leave a new job before six months if it doesn’t live up to your expectations.” Our responsibility is to ensure that our teams are motivated, provided a path for growth, and equipped with the necessary skills to navigate this brave new world of work. We must invest heavily in upskilling, retraining, and fostering a culture of continuous learning.

So, no — AI isn’t coming for your job. It’s coming to change it, to evolve it, and hopefully, to improve it. Our challenge is to ensure that we’re prepared to meet that change and seize the opportunities it brings. As the late, eminent physicist Stephen Hawking once said, “Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change.” Let’s prove him right.

If you’re interested in learning more about AI innovation and how to stay ahead of the curve, schedule a time to speak with our AI & data science team.