How Artificial Intelligence will Change Jobs

We have talked a lot during 2014 – early 2015 about the “dangers” that artificial intelligence may be bringing. Many prominent people in the industry have pronounced in favor or against artificial intelligence development, all of them insisting on the importance to set up the framework and take the technological advancement into account for social, legal and economic future planning.

The same question has been raised once again in Brennan White’s article for Forbes[i] earlier this week. White’s message is underlining the same issue – whether we want it or not, artificial intelligence is already here. Sure, we do not see the armies of robots walking everywhere; still the life of most people is unimaginable without learning algorithms that decide on our short-term future. Our online purchasing decisions depend often on Google or Amazon search results; intelligent software is scanning through the received résumés impacting hiring decisions; for some people their dinner menu depends on what their Fitbit or other health-tracker is telling them regarding their calorie consumption. On the other hand, there are larger-scale changes brought by the artificial intelligence penetration – “as AI rolls out, certain specific jobs will be put at risk, but many more will be created”[ii], and when it is not about job cuttings or creation, it’s about changing the nature of jobs.

A great example of this comes from the area close to me – machine translation in relation towards the human translations. I remember having talked with translators ten to five years ago – they were all opposed to machine translation as a threat replacing their work. Here we are now with machine translation used widely and being an integral part of localization process. We are living in the global world and each product needs to be multilingual when it comes to the market; traveling has become natural and instant and automatic translation solutions are perceived as help.

Still, translators are there and do have as much work as before. Though the nature of their work is changing, and instead of producing literal translations, they need to become experts in their domains, for example in medical translations or in legal documents, where pure machine translation based on statistics and algorithms may not be exact enough and the cost of risk is extremely high. Also, human translators need to be there to back machine translation supplying universal logic and cultural knowledge, determining context better and rectifying inaccuracies. It is now widely recognized in the industry that “for professional services a person can work with such software in order to become more efficient”[iii].

A little bit different trend can be observed in the field of finance, where technical jobs are emerging and growing. According to Adam Jackson, managing director of Astbury Marsden “banks are stepping up their hiring of technology staff as they either look to replace staff poached by fintech businesses or battle to keep and support their best technology talent”[iv] with the development of big data analytics and use of intelligent algorithms. And, once again, it’s only one of the sector. Legal attorneys are training IBM Watson technology to be able to use its predictive and cognitive analytics functions in their fields[v]. Even HR has been impacted by intelligent technologies that analyze the cultural fit and suggest the best candidates for C-level positions[vi].

One can deduct from these cases that a crucial role should also be played by education, as many specialties should be taught with the impact of artificial intelligence in mind. As we can see, the jobs are not entirely taken on by the machines or algorithms so far, but the nature of jobs is changed. Fine-tuning of the intelligent algorithms, knowledge transfer, context definition – these functions are still dependent on human experience and control.

And to sum up, it seems important to repeat that the penetration of intelligent machines into people’s life has a great impact on all levels and should now be considered by the governors, social scientists and economists, as it cannot be ignored any longer.

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[i] Artificial Intelligence Is Already Here, But Is Your Business Ready For It? by Brennan White, April 6, 2015, online, accessed April 6, 2015

[ii] Artificial Intelligence Is Already Here, But Is Your Business Ready For It? by Brennan White, April 6, 2015, online, accessed April 6, 2015

[iii] Are Apps Replacing Professional Translators? by Simon Davies, March 29 2015, online, accessed on April 6, 2015

[iv] Big Data And Tech M&A Boom Push Up MBA Jobs In Financial Services by Seb Murray, April 3, 2015, online, accessed April 6,2015

[v] Legal profession considers finer points of artificial intelligence by Yamri Taddese, Law Times, April 6, 2015, online, accessed on April 6, 2015

[vi] Hiring C-Suite Executives by Algorithm by Sarah Green, Harvard Business Review, April 6, 2015, online, accessed on April 6, 2015