More efficient, accurate and expendable; it’s no wonder the idea that artificial intelligence (AI) will supplant the human workforce has gained so much traction in movies and real life. However, with many firms looking to boost recruitment as a result of AI investment, maybe it’s time to see it as an employment opportunity rather than a threat.

Though AI-based technology and algorithms in the workplace look set to displace certain jobs through automation, it is expected to create some 133 million new roles by 2022, according to a ‘Future of Jobs’ report from the World Economic Forum (WEF).

The human specialists

The WEF report points to increasing opportunities in data analytics, software development and social media management, as well as ‘essential human’ roles such as development, marketing and customer service. Not only does the future promise more work for humans, the specialist nature and the quality of the work stands to improve significantly too.

Despite the growing sophistication of AI modelling, it is unable to understand the nuances of human communication and innovation. Furthermore, the additional computation and automation that AI brings, necessitates more maintenance, upgrades and fixes. Therefore, as companies rely more and more on their AI technology, they will need new specialists in data science, engineering and mathematics.

John Hawksworth, chief economist at PwC, noted that advances in computing boosted productivity, reducing prices and increasing spending levels, “which in turn creates demand for additional workers.”

A 2018 study by the International Federation of Robotics found that less than 10% of jobs are fully automatable, leaving 90% requiring human intervention.

Making work a better place

As well as unlocking countless new careers, AI is key to improving staff efficiency, productivity, satisfaction and safety.

AI-powered 3D applications offer a profitable shift for companies by introducing a higher degree of accuracy to workplace planning, particularly in production. They can also be used to develop a healthier – and therefore more productive – working environment.

Tracking and analysing customer data is essential for almost every business these days. AI-based technology can do the labour-intensive task of gathering the necessary data from a wide variety of sources, leaving the key, high-level decisions to staff.

AI can even be used to support the staff recruitment and training process, by quickly, accurately and objectively analysing key employee benchmarks, which would otherwise take HR teams days to review and measure.

In a world where cybercrime looms over everything and everyone, security is fundamental. Powerful new AI tools can monitor and defend against data breaches, often more effectively than human agents. It’s this robust level of security that safeguards businesses and therefore jobs.

Safety-first approach

Safety is one of the biggest benefits of AI in the workplace, especially in physically demanding environments. Unlike their human counterparts, automated AI-based systems do not suffer tiredness or stress, key contributing factors to workplace errors and accidents. AI is also more suited to investigating and negotiating dangerous situations, in the form of drones on construction sites, for example.

Where staff are essential in the field, the data from their wearable technology can be tracked by AI to significantly improve their safety. It can be used to do everything from tracking worker location and issuing alerts on environment hazards to reducing the risk of musculoskeletal injuries and improving staff training.

Forging a future in AI

The true value of AI is only just beginning to be harnessed by employers. As more and more companies adopt it, the greater the demand will be for specialists in this field.

Exploring topics from systems engineering to natural language processing, an online MSc in AI from the University of Bath will help you develop the specialist skills to support a career in this rapidly evolving area. As well as the core technical aspects of AI, the course is underpinned by the contemporary ethical implications of the field, a factor often overlooked in the past as companies sought more sophisticated AI.

Whether your interest in AI lies in the technical or the theoretical, this course will equip you with the practical knowledge you need to help shape AI into a positive force for human development and progress – in the workplace and beyond.

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