The rise of the machines is coming. Automation, robotics, machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) are all being used by many businesses around the world. There has been a logical fear that any or all of these will become job eaters in the future, that millions of people will have to learn new skills to stay employed in the years to come.
What if, despite all of these job-killing fears, they actually prove to be jobs-makers?
Dun & Bradstreet conducted a survey of attendees at the recent AI World Conference and Expo, and respondents from 40% of the organizations said that their companies actually are adding more jobs as a result of deploying artificial intelligence in their businesses. That may not make for a majority of firms, but only 8% of the organizations had indicated that they were cutting jobs after deploying artificial intelligence. Of the “other” respondents, 34% reported that job demand is staying the same and 18% said that artificial intelligence has had no impact on their workforce.
There also appears to be a learning curve when comes to using AI and interpreting the results. Dun & Bradstreet’s survey noted that 46% of respondents said that they have at least some difficulty understanding how their AI systems arrive at their conclusions. And only about one-third of respondents said that they fully understand how their AI systems have come to their conclusions.
Organizations are most likely (62% of respondents) to use AI for analytics. Another 52% said AI will be used for automation and 42% for data management. Dun & Bradstreet showed that another 29% are using AI for back-end systems improvements, and 23% were using AI for consumer-facing chatbots.
There are going to be continued hurdles when it comes to implementing and using AI in businesses. The two top takeaways from the survey were a lack of internal human expertise and also a lack of data. Other challenges in launching AI were listed as technology infrastructure, a hesitation from the decision makers, a lack of budget allowance, regulatory challenges and lacking a strong digital base.
According to Dun & Bradstreet’s report:
The survey also found that the number of businesses deploying AI is expected to increase. Nearly half (44 percent) of businesses are in the process of deploying the technology, while one in five businesses are fully deploying it within their organization and an additional 23 percent are in the planning phase of implementing. Only 11 percent are not deploying AI at all.
Anthony Scriffignano, Ph.D., chief data scientist at Dun & Bradstreet, said:
Businesses often look to AI to provide answers to more complex questions, but because AI models have been trained by humans, this approach often results in the potentially misleading reinforcement of existing knowledge, especially when the right steps are not taken in advance. This underscores the need to have conversations about diversity of thought and methodology so that the technology can be more valuable to the enterprise.
It is always important to consider a source and the actual sampling of any survey. Dun & Bradstreet said that this survey was conducted at the AI World Conference and Expo from December 3 to December 5. There were 100 100 respondents who are said to be business executives from Global 2000 organizations that are working in AI and machine learning.
It seems hard to imagine that artificial intelligence, particularly when considering the automation included, will be a net job creator over time. Still, that’s what appears to be the case so far. We will have to wait and see how all this turns out as the people hired to use AI start to understand more about the results and how it all really works.