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Will AI create more jobs than it destroys?

The technology is expected to wipe out millions of jobs, but surprisingly create many more by 2020.

By April Slattery

Over two million jobs could be created by artificial intelligence (AI) by 2020, outnumbering the number of jobs lost to the technology, according to Gartner.

In a recent report, Gartner revealed that by 2020 AI is expected to create a total of 2.3 million jobs, but destroy 1.8 million jobs. Though the latter is a significant amount, in the long term more jobs can be created and enhanced by the technology across the job ladder, according to the analyst firm.

AI implementation will affect every industry, with manufacturing expected to be hit the hardest by the technology. However, through 2019 healthcare, education and the public sector are expected to see significant job growth as a result of implementing AI.

“Many significant innovations in the past have been associated with a transition period of temporary job loss, followed by recovery, then business transformation and AI will likely follow this route,” said Svetlana Sicular, research vice president at Gartner.

Using AI could improve the productivity of a vast amount of jobs, with the success rate being much higher the majority of the time in comparison to humans making it inevitable that many companies will turn to technology to better production.

Will AI create more jobs than it destroys?

AI jobs in healthcare are expected to grow significantly by 2020.

The majority of jobs lost are expected to be through middle and low-level positions, but in turn it could create more positions across highly skilled, management roles and potentially the entry level setting.

AI offers many potential benefits for business owners, from costs to productivity and efficiency as leveraging the technology, along with such things as robotics, can optimise those repetitive jobs and reduce labour costs.

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Gartner’s report finds that although Ai is seen predominantly to take over repetitive tasks by 2022, one in five workers will engage in mostly non-routine tasks, relying on AI to do a job. Applying AI to less routine work is more likely to be as an assistant to humans rather than replace them as combinations of the two will perform better than one working alone.

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“Using AI to auto-generate a weekly status report or pick the top five emails in your inbox doesn’t have the same wow factor as, say, curing a disease would, which is why these near-term, practical uses go unnoticed,” said Craig Roth, research vice president at Gartner.

“Companies are just beginning to seize the opportunity to improve non-routine work through AI by applying it to general-purpose tools. Once knowledge workers incorporate AI into their work processes as a virtual secretary or intern, robo-employees will become a competitive necessity.”

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