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No, AI won’t steal your job. Here’s why.

Findings by Cognizant show that digital technologies will result in 13% new job creation, mitigating the 12% of job replacement these technologies will cause.
Read time 4min 00sec

If you don’t believe our world of work is changing, you must either have your head stuck in the ground or have seen one too many conferences cancelled due to the coronavirus. 

The platform economy is alive and well, and has shaped our personal and business lives for at least the last decade. Up until recently, platforms have been built on the foundation of SMAC technologies – Social, Mobile, Analytics and Cloud – to great effect. One only has to look at the world’s most valuable companies, including Apple, Amazon, Alphabet and Alibaba. These companies have fully embraced the SMAC stack and have created levels of economic value, the likes of which have seldom been seen in history.

However, change has arrived and for companies to remain competitive, SMAC no longer fits the bill. 

Today, organisations are pivoting their businesses around ABEQ: artificial intelligence, blockchain (or distributed ledgers), enhanced reality and quantum computing. Of course, the most divisive of these technologies is artificial intelligence (AI). Business leaders, politicians and modern-day soothsayers are all weighing in on the impact of this technology, with many believing AI will replace vast swathes of the modern workforce, leaving us with a ruling elite. 

One just has to look at the media to realise the state of paranoia. The percentage of jobs feared to be lost in the face of AI range from 25% to 47%. Even at the lower end, these estimates would cripple global economies and would lead to mass unemployment and, potentially, global unrest. However, how accurate are they?

We at Cognizant’s Center for the Future of Work (CFoW) believe that many of these studies fail to realise one key element that has defined all three of the last industrial revolutions. New technologies lead to new job creation. Our findings indicate that digital technologies will result in 13% new job creation, mitigating the 12% of job replacement these technologies will cause. In addition, 75% of jobs will remain but be drastically enhanced by man-machine collaboration. Yes, the disruption of these jobs will cause short- to medium-term impacts to many workers, but it is far from the doomsday scenario painted by many futurists.

The next question is: What will these new jobs be? Cognizant’s CFoW sought to understand exactly that and studied the latest macro-, micro- and socio-economic trends, resulting in two reports: 21 Jobs of the Future and 21 More Jobs of the Future

These two reports name the exact jobs that will likely emerge in the future, and provide a timescale and tech-centricity of when and how these jobs will occur. 

Spoiler alert: Not all jobs of the future will require massive technical expertise. Instead, jobs will pivot around three core pillars that are currently shaping modern society: coaching, caring and connecting. Here’s why:

  • Coaching
    We as businesses and individuals need to be coached on how best to use and benefit from the new breed of platforms we interact with. In addition, many of these systems of intelligence themselves need to be coached.
    Job of the future: Algorithm bias auditor
  • Caring
    The current and future digital systems to affect our world are ultimately built for the improvement of humanity. Businesses and public institutions need to ensure that this remains the case. In addition, the first person to live to the age of 150 has, according to scientists, already been born. While this is great news, it does mean that our future healthcare services will be put under extreme strain as a result of an ageing population.
    Job of the future: AI-assisted healthcare technician
  • Connecting
    As previously mentioned, 75% of current jobs will be enhanced by digital technology. We will need people on the ground to match man and machine together within job roles.
    Job of the future: Man-machine manager

Ultimately, it is very easy to be caught up in the dystopian fear of the unknown future. However, we need to have a fascination with the unknown instead.

About the author
Micheal Cook is senior manager responsible for developing thought leadership in Cognizant’s EMEA Center for the Future of Work, a full-time think tank of Cognizant Technical Services. Now based in London, Michael was born in Johannesburg and obtained both his bachelor's degree in Economics and Econometrics, and his postgraduate qualification in International Trade and Development, from the University of Johannesburg.

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