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Is Artificial Intelligence a job creator or job destroyer?

by tbhdesk

Assessing the possible impacts of AI on the job market

Artificial Intelligence remains to be one of the most significant creations in recent history.

Since the industrial revolution, the rate of advancement has sky-rocketed. Today, we are on the verge of a new revolution which has been catapulted by new and imminent technology.

Now, imagine a world where, without lifting a finger, you can create a brand new car from scratch, where you can create a software to run errands for you, write a report for you, and even create someone you can talk to for hours; where a machine can clean your house, protect your house, and even build your house.

We are living in that world. The world of the future, the world of artificial intelligence.

To begin with, it is expedient to explain what artificial intelligence comprises. It is defined as “the theory and development of computer systems able to perform tasks normally requiring human intelligence, such as visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making, and translation between languages.” This label was first brought up by John McCarthy in 1956, where he presented the idea of developing a new programming language which would render intelligence to machines.

Bangladesh, a rapidly developing country, has been embracing technological advancements to accelerate economic growth and improve various sectors. AI adoption is gaining momentum, primarily driven by the government’s Digital Bangladesh initiative and the increasing digitalization of industries.

Machine learning, natural language processing, and robotics are among the AI applications being researched and deployed in industries such as manufacturing, healthcare, agriculture, and finance.

A growing apprehension amid the technological revolution is mounting in today’s worlds. Revolutionary technology threatens jobs like never before. It has been predicted by some analysts that more than half the job profiles in today’s world could be outmoded in the near future by artificial intelligence — thus surfacing the prevalent issue of unemployment and underpaid workers.

Unlike many prior instances of progress, today’s cutting-edge technology poses a danger to the jobs of workers in all fields of expertise and education. However, it is anticipated that many lower levels of the occupational hierarchy will see the impact more quickly, which could exacerbate inequality.

In the sector of engineering, artificial intelligence is taking over in a significant approach. AI is currently at the forefront of industry pursuits. The IoT (Internet of Things) technology’s gathering of big data in recent years has sped up the development of AI and other information search and analysis tools.

Many facets of manufacturing will undergo a transformation as a result of these developments in big data processing, which will lead to the development of “smart factories” with completely automated and intelligent manufacturing cycles. (Kim 2021)

To simplify further, a few examples of AI in the manufacturing sector are autonomous vehicles, robotics, steel making, semiconductor industry, and car manufacturing.

The adoption of AI technologies does have the potential to disrupt certain job sectors in Bangladesh. Repetitive and routine tasks that can be automated by AI systems may lead to a decline in demand for low-skilled and manual labour jobs. For instance, industries such as manufacturing and customer service centres might experience workforce reductions as AI-driven robots and chatbots replace human workers. This displacement can result in short-term job losses and the need for re-skilling or up-skilling to adapt to changing job requirements.

With the capability of doing a hundred men’s jobs in a much faster and efficient way, companies are shifting to the use of AI technology. The idea of intelligent augmentation serves as the foundation for the most successful AI systems. They perform simple calculations and analysis, free up skilled operators from laborious chores, ingest data, classify and order information, run simulations, and finally, human operators will make the final decision. (Katalinić and Buchmeister 2019).

In an AI future, jobs that require human creativity and managerial skills will enjoy the highest job security. This is our competitive advantage as people. Those who understand how to work with others while using AI tools to increase organizational effectiveness will create the most value.

One of many examples of AI taking over human jobs is autonomous driving. In most of the countries in Asia, chauffeurs create a large part of the demographic. With advancements in autonomous vehicles, the job prospective of millions of chauffeurs will come to and end.

AD is an up and coming research area which is well connected to AI. The main objectives of AD consist of road detection, lane detection, vehicle detection, pedestrian detection, drowsiness detection, collision avoidance, and traffic sign detection (Ullah 2019). With these technologies in hand, the cars will be able to drive themselves to any destination you like without even touching the steering wheel.

However, in the case of Bangladesh, this seems a little far fetched, and this is due to the culture of driving in Bangladesh; maintaining lanes, changing lanes, jaywalking, and potholes are just the tip of the iceberg. For the traffic rules of Bangladesh to improve this drastically, it will take a long time, thus making autonomous driving inconsequential as of now.

On the other hand, AI adoption also presents significant job creation opportunities in Bangladesh. As AI technologies become more prevalent, there will be a growing demand for skilled professionals to develop, implement, and maintain AI systems. Specialized roles such as AI engineers, data scientists, AI trainers, and ethical AI experts will be in high demand. Additionally, new job roles might emerge, combining human creativity and critical thinking with AI capabilities, leading to the creation of hybrid job roles that complement AI technologies.

Automation risks destroying a wide range of jobs are now established across the global economy. As AI systems become more advanced, another wave of migration happens with near certainty.

It can be a depressing image. But here’s what we missed: Many new jobs will also be created — jobs that look nothing like the jobs that exist today. This process has been going on for decades. New technology not only takes over the jobs for the current working class but instead creates new jobs.

For instance, throughout the final half of the 20th century, the application of robots in the automobile industry gained popularity. It was initially used to carry out straightforward, repetitive tasks, which helped boost productivity, standardize production quality, and keep costs under control. With the tagline “Handmade by Robots,” the Fiat engine maker launched this TV commercial in 1979 while manufacturing his Strada hatchback. They were among the first workers replaced by robots in assembly line duties like welding and painting. A person was present to oversee the machine, though.

As technology advanced, increasingly sophisticated operations, like replacing a car’s windshield, were added to the list of jobs that robots can now perform. In factories, it is frequently utilized to convey large and hefty products.

Over the next decade, a non-negligible proportion of newly created jobs will consist of entirely new occupations or vacancies in existing occupations that are changing significantly in terms of job description and qualification requirements.

These emerging professions may hold out new and attainable opportunities for people in terms of the path to social mobility and economic prosperity. The development of the Fourth Industrial Revolution will hasten the creation of new jobs.

The World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report 2018 found that the transformation of the labour market brought about by the Fourth Industrial Revolution will create 133 million new jobs globally from 2022 to 2026, while we estimate that 75 million jobs could be lost. Of that total “turnover,” all-new roles accounted for 16% of all jobs in 2022, a proportion he estimates will rise to 27% by 2026.

To navigate the changing job landscape, re-skilling and up-skilling programs are crucial for the workforce in Bangladesh. Initiatives must be undertaken to equip individuals with the necessary skills to work alongside AI systems effectively.

Collaborative efforts between the government, educational institutions, and the private sector can facilitate training programs that focus on AI literacy, data analytics, programming, and critical thinking. By investing in human capital, Bangladesh can empower its workforce to adapt to the evolving job market.

The adoption of AI has the potential to drive economic growth in Bangladesh. AI technologies can enhance productivity, efficiency, and innovation, leading to increased competitiveness in global markets. As industries become more AI-driven, new business opportunities may arise, attracting investment and creating jobs in high-tech sectors. Consequently, AI can contribute to economic diversification and reduce the country’s reliance on traditional labour-intensive industries.

AI will soon take over many jobs that employ over millions of people around the world. And it will specifically affect the working class more than anyone. Nevertheless, with new technology always comes new jobs that one cannot even imagine doing now.

The future is uncertain. But fear, illusion and panic should not be driven to premature and adverse official intervention. When real problems with technical unemployment arise, there are more conventional means by which they can be mitigated.

The impact of AI on employment in Bangladesh is a complex issue. While AI has the potential to create new job opportunities, it may also lead to the displacement of certain roles.

To harness the benefits of AI and mitigate any negative consequences, a comprehensive approach is required. This includes investing in skill development, promoting innovation and entrepreneurship, and formulating policies that encourage responsible AI adoption.

With careful planning and proactive measures, Bangladesh can leverage AI as a job creator and drive sustainable economic growth.

Sadwaan Rabb Majumder is an aerospace engineering student and a freelance contributor.

Source: Dhaka Tribune.

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