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CAN ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE CAUSE UNEMPLOYMENT?

INTRODUCTION

Artificial Intelligence (hereinafter referred to as AI) has gained increased attention from the research community in recent years. It has claimed to offer transformation in various sectors and industries. Most people are not familiar with the concept of AI. People are not sure how AI is going to affect them. To comprehend the concept of artificial intelligence we may refer to the definition of AI by John McCarthy. He defined AI as “the science and engineering of making intelligent machines”.[1] Moreover, the concept of AI has evolved over the period. Today, we may define it as the ability of machines to replicate or enhance human intellect, such as reasoning and learning from experience.[2] An apt example of AI would be Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa. They are applications powered by AI that are natural language processors and are capable of receiving and replying to questions. Additionally, they are also proficient in learning from every human interaction. A human living in the 21st century cannot help but wonder whether the world would be overtaken by robots. Could the fictional world as depicted in the movies The Matrix’ and ‘I Robot’ become a reality? With Sophia, the first artificial intelligence humanoid robot, Sophia and ChatGPT, an artificial intelligence chatbot already in play, the future world seems impossible to envision. At this junction a question may arise – ‘Are people afraid of AI because it might eat up their jobs?’

RELEVANCE AND APPLICATION OF ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE IN DIFFERENT DOMAINS

The contemporary world is AI-driven because it knowingly or unknowingly has become a part of our lives.  Undoubtedly, it has made our lives easier and worth living. Social Media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat contain billions of user profiles that are efficiently organized and managed by AI. Moreover, entertainment services such as Netflix and Amazon use AI algorithms that support recommendations for programs and shows. Agriculture is also applying AI in crop monitoring, agricultural robotics, and predictive analysis. Various industries are currently working to develop self-driven cars that can make our journeys safer and more secure. We can see AI’s application in the finance industry as well for automation processes, chatbots, adaptive intelligence, algorithm trading, and machine learning. AI machines can also play calculated games like chess, where the machine needs to think of a large number of probable outcomes. Likewise, healthcare industries are applying AI to make a better and faster diagnosis than humans. AI can help doctors with diagnoses and can inform when patients are worsening so that medical help can reach the patient before hospitalization.[3]

IMPACT OF ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE ON THE HUMAN SOCIETY

With its application in different fields can we say that AI will replace human labour and lead to mass unemployment? Today we see that traditional teaching methods are supported by AI-powered tools. This enhances the overall teaching experience. However, in the imminent future, there is a possibility that the teacher and professors be replaced by hyper-personalized and realistic android machines like Sophia. Moreover, AI-powered tools being easily accessible virtually, could, to some extent, substitute traditional teaching. In the medical industry, AI-powered machines can diagnose diseases from radiology scans with a hundred percent accuracy and reduce the chances of false diagnoses caused by human error. For performing surgeries, again, androids powered by AI may be used which may affect the jobs of surgeons to a large extent.

Labor-intensive jobs like working in a factory, transporting goods, and driving vehicles might also be affected by automated AI machines in the near future. For instance, the automobile manufacturing company Tesla has already introduced an automatic driving car that is powered by AI. Moreover, advanced chatbots can replace customer service representatives. For instance, one-to-one booking of tickets has become outdated today. This is because people do not have the time and patience to stand in queues when using an application or a bot could do the same thing.

The job of data analysts and coders is time-consuming and requires accuracy. AI-powered bots and software can finish the same tasks with greater efficiency.  Such bots are capable of analysing complex and large data sets without errors. Tools like Code Interpreter, developed by OpenAI, can easily perform tasks similar to those of Data Analysts.[4] There exists an industry devoted to marketing products and services through online articles, social media posts and other e-content. Digital marketers provide such marketing services to both large and small corporations. However, the emergence of AI has hampered the scope of work of digital marketers. For instance, Jasper is an AI-based application that generates relevant articles, personalized emails and timely updates with the push of a button.[5]

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE VIS-À-VIS UNEMPLOYMENT

AI is the reality of the world and is here to stay. We must try to enforce it and at the same time, we must not let it make vital choices for us because AI as a machine can never possess human qualities of compassion and wisdom. Though AI functions as a human being, it is still a machine and a tool. Now the question is – ‘Can AI replace human beings?’ Its emergence has arisen fear in the minds of humans. Nearly 69 percent of jobs in India are under threat from automation, as the country, with its relatively young workforce, is set to add 160 million new workers over the next 20 years.[6] However, in the longer run, there is a probability that artificial intelligence will increase employment opportunities by creating jobs. The World Economic Forum concluded in October 2020 that while AI would likely take away 85 million jobs globally by 2025, it would also generate 97 million new jobs in fields ranging from big data and machine learning to information security and digital marketing.[7]

CONCLUSION

There is intense deliberation about AI in the technologically advanced world. There is no doubt that the application of AI will bring additional effectual results than human labour single-handedly. Every aspect has its pros and cons. But the wisest of people will utilise these in balance to get the greatest results. Thus, in the future, we must adapt to such developments to survive.  To answer the question ‘Can AI cause unemployment?’, I believe it is a myth. In the forthcoming days, more jobs will emerge than what exists today, thus employing a larger size of the human workforce. AI can be regarded as an advanced technological form of a computer. Earlier in 1822, when the first computer was invented, people felt threatened by it. A thought of school believed that computers will eat up the jobs of humans. This controversy has evidently been proven wrong today, as millions of job opportunities emerged after computers were popularized. Similarly, AI and the human workforce will coexist in the future.

Author(s) Name: Anoushka Singh (Government Law College, Mumbai)

Reference(s): 

[1] ‘Artificial Intelligence Definitions’ (Stanford University, September 2020) <https://hai.stanford.edu/sites/default/files/2020-09/AI-Definitions-HAI.pdf> accessed 17 July 2023

[2] Kumar Abhishek, ‘Introduction to Artificial Intelligence’  (Redgate, 10 May 2022) <https://www.red-gate.com/simple-talk/development/data-science-development/introduction-to-artificial-intelligence/#:~:text=Artificial%20intelligence%20(AI)%20is%20the,many%20other%20products%20and%20services.> accessed 19 July 2023

[3] ‘Application of AI’ (JavaTPoint) <https://www.javatpoint.com/application-of-ai> accessed 18 July 2023

[4] Zain Raza, ‘Will AI replace Data Analyst Jobs?’ (LinkedIn, 21 May 2023) <https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/ai-replace-data-analyst-jobs-zain-raza/> accessed 18 July 2023

[5] Dave Roos, ‘8 Jobs AI Will Replace and 8 Jobs It Won’t (Yet)’ (HowStuffWorks, 6 June 2023) <https://electronics.howstuffworks.com/future-tech/jobs-ai-will-replace.htm#pt2> accessed 17 July 2023

[6] ‘69% jobs in India under threat by automation in 20 years: Reports’ (Business Standard, 8 August 2022)

<https://www.business-standard.com/article/current-affairs/69-jobs-in-india-under-threat-by-automation-in-20-years-reports-122080800263_1.html> accessed 17 July 2023

[7]  Ethan Ilzetzki and Suryaansh Jain, ‘The impact of artificial intelligence on growth and employment’ (CEPR, 20 June 2023) <https://cepr.org/voxeu/columns/impact-artificial-intelligence-growth-and-employment#:~:text=The%20World%20Economic%20Forum%20concluded,information%20security%20and%20digital%20marketing.> accessed 17 July 2023