Is AI taking over my job?

Zasti

May 5, 2021

Since I am in the AI field, this is a question I get asked frequently. This reminds me of an incident that happened when I was a kid. My dad was a Divisional Clerk in Income Tax Department of India. He is a prime example of a carefree guy and I have never seen him worried (and it inspires me even today). One day, I saw him walking home very worried and he was silent the whole evening. Here is an excerpt of the conversation with him:

Me: Dad, what’s wrong? Why are you so worried?

 

Dad: Our department has introduced something called “Computer” and it’s processing calculations in 5 mins what typically takes my team 3–4 hours. Everyone is scared and they are saying all of us will lose our jobs in the next 3–4 years.

 

Me: Can’t you get another job?

 

Dad: I have spent all my life in this field and it’s difficult to move to a different career, you won’t understand it.

 

Me: What are you guys going to do about this?

 

Dad: We are planning a STRIKE till this monster called Computer is removed from our office.

Many years later, he retired from the same Income Tax department happy and content. He did not lose his job, rather he learned to use the computer and used it to enhance his career.
But let’s also look at the impact of the technology revolution between1970 to 2011 (which is similar to AI revolution now):

  • The largest employer of the labor force was Agriculture and Farming. This has declined by around 90% today!
  • The weaving sector has seen a steep decline of 70%
  • The muscle sector (e.g.: washing clothes) saw a steep decline of around 83%
Having said that, the other side of the revolution :

  • Healthcare sector saw an increase of 900% in job opportunities
  • There was around a 500% increase in the education sector, and
  • 160% increase in care workers
I can go on and on about it, you get the drift.
An interesting point to ponder is food prices, which have become cheaper, prices of home appliances and automobiles have become cheaper, travel cost is almost cheaper by 50% (leading to more savings)… This has lead to a huge increase in entertainment and leisure spends, which created new job categories (e.g. Digital Marketing) across the globe! Even in agriculture and farming, we have fantastic examples of farmers who have adopted the new-age technology and are reaping huge benefits.
Interesting graphics from CNN that predicts job impact due to AI:
I would like my thoughts with the excerpt of a conversation I overheard during my local train travel, between an elderly gentleman and a new recruit of an automobile company.

Recruit: Sir, should I be worried about the AI Robots that are being commissioned at our plant?

 

Senior: Hmmm, I was worried 20 years back when they brought in new machines, we thought we would all lose jobs, we produced less than 10,000 cars a year then and now we do more than that in one day and I am still there, am I not? You should not scared of the Robots rather you should be scared of human complacency of not learning and adapting.

What do you guys think? Are we going to lose our jobs to AI?

Footnote 😉

Jobs of 2050 (Ref.: Vulcan Post)

  1. Medical Roboticist
  2. Custom Implant Organ Designer
  3. Cyber Security Specialist
  4. Simulation Engineer
  5. Construction Specialist
  6. Genetics Counsellor
  7. Transportation Engineer