Over the past few years, there’s been quite a bit of chatter over the jobs that artificial intelligence (A.I.) will destroy. However, it’s also worth examining the human jobs that A.I. will help grow—many of them in tech.
The World Economic Forum, which regularly analyzes the potential impact of A.I. on the economy and unemployment, has a new report that examines how the COVID-19 pandemic could accelerate the automation of many jobs and tasks. As part of that analysis, it also looks at the longer-term impact of A.I. on the international job market.
“Just a few decades ago, the internet created similar concerns as it grew. Despite skepticism, the technology created millions of jobs and now comprises 10% of US GDP,” read the report. “Today, A.I. is poised to create even greater growth in the US and global economies. Sixty-three percent of CEOs believe A.I. will have a larger impact than the internet, according to PwC’s Annual Global CEO Survey.”
The World Economic Forum’s report believes that A.I. and automation will power the creation of 97 million new jobs by 2025, particularly in the following categories:
- Data analysts and scientists
- A.I. and machine-learning specialists
- Big Data specialists
- Digital marketing and strategy specialists
- Process automation specialists
- Business development professionals
- Digital transformation specialists
- Information security analysts
- Software and applications developers
- Internet of Things (IoT) specialists
None of these are surprising; all involve the analysis and wrangling of massive amounts of data and/or code. Increasingly sophisticated automation and analytics tools could make all of these technologists more effective at their jobs—for example, a machine-learning tool for cleaning data sets could make data analysts more efficient at crunching that data for actionable insights. It’s a similar principle at work in marketing and cybersecurity, where A.I. could help parse out what’s useful from an endless tide of data. More effective employees, in turn, are always in demand.
It seems likely that more and more companies will also want these developers and specialists to build tools and apps that heavily leverage A.I. Without A.I., many of these companies may find themselves at a competitive disadvantage vis-à-vis rivals willing to pour resources into the development of solid A.I. practices.
Meanwhile, those A.I.-driven forces could take away as many as 85 million jobs, with the following categories especially hard-hit:
- Data-entry clerks
- Administrative and executive secretaries
- Accounting, bookkeeping and payroll clerks
- Accountants and auditors
- Assembly and factory workers
- Business services and administration managers
- Client information and customer service workers
- General and operations managers
- Mechanics and machinery repairers
- Material-recording and stock-keeping clerks
“The rapid pace of technological change requires new models for training that prepare employees for an A.I.-based future,” the report added. “True upskilling requires a citizen-led approach focused on applying new knowledge to develop an AI-ready mindset. Employers should view upskilling and reskilling as an investment in the future of their organization, not an expense.”
Some 50 percent of employees may require some degree of “reskilling” over the next five years. And that’s not just technical skills; mastering “soft skills” such as communication and empathy can give you an advantage in a crowded job market, especially if you’re applying for any job that requires managing teams and/or conveying information to stakeholders throughout an organization.
Over the next few years, it’s likely that a broad array of tech jobs will ask for some kind of A.I. and/or machine-learning knowledge—this isn’t something restricted to data analysts and other specialists. According to Burning Glass, which collects and analyzes millions of job postings from across the country, here are the percentages of popular technology jobs that ask for machine learning skills:
If you’re new to A.I. and machine learning, there are a variety of “crash courses” and training videos that can quickly bring you up to speed on the fundamental principles. There are also a growing number of certifications in TensorFlow, AWS machine learning, and other core A.I. platforms.