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Can AI create more jobs than it destroys?

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Amidst the buzz and excitement around Artificial Intelligence (AI), there is simultaneous discussion on the possible consequences of AI. One of them is concerns of job loss. A very real issue, the fear of losing a job to a robot is making the policy think tank NITI Aayog to emphasise on the importance creating new employment to absorb those rendered redundant by automation.

The idea is to create a framework that will allow us to not only enjoy the advantages of AI in areas such as health, farming, education, infrastructure and transportation but to also look at “skilling and reskilling of workforce.”

If a report of the World Economic Forum is anything to go by, we have less to fear from automation than some might think. The Swiss think tank predicts that robots will displace 75 million jobs across the globe by 2022 but generate 133 million new ones – a “net positive”. The report says advances in technology and computing will free up workers for new tasks. Having said that, WEF also urged governments to prepare strategies for workers who are likely to lose their jobs to machines.

NITI Aayog too is focused on formulating a safety net that would allow resources to be retrained and their skills updated. In a strategy paper, it stated: “…promotion of job creation in new areas like data annotation needs to be identified and promoted, as these would have the potential of absorbing a large portion of the workforce that may find itself redundant due to increasing automation.”

Meanwhile, some industry experts and avid technology bloggers are optimistic and feel automation will lead to future jobs such as AI-assisted Healthcare Technician, Ethical Sourcing Officer, AI Business Development Manager and others.

Also Read: Drive business with Artificial Intelligence

It’s likely that the fourth industrial revolution will favour those with strong digital skills, as well as capabilities like creativity and teamwork, which machines find it harder to replicate, according to an AI leader at multinational professional services firm PwC.

India too, with its strong focus on science and technology, is preparing to leverage the power of this technology to gain a global advantage.

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