They are touted to be replacing humans and they are pretty fast and efficient. The not so secret robots are slowly taking over many of the tasks that were once done by humans. Take big factories for example. Their floor operations are now staffed by robots. Assembly lines at manufacturing units, cashiers in banks, and even stock markets are run by robotic programs now.

With automation, the buzzword, is robotics about to steal all our jobs? What does this trend augur for our careers? With robots even performing surgeries, for sure they are a tremendous force to reckon with. Some experts have opined that around half of all the jobs that humans do now can be automated. In absolute terms, this amounts to close to 5 million jobs that will be off-limits for us, humans by the year 2020.


Why is Artificial Intelligence all the rage?

The most visible impact that Artificial Intelligence and automation have brought in is in productivity. Typically, this has significantly impacted jobs that were repetitive. Now machines are trained to learn activities and algorithms guide machines to mimic current processes that happen under human supervision. When algorithms run systems, they tend to be a tad faster than the time taken for the same task by humans. Also, they result in lesser errors, little to no downtime as machines do not get tired, unlike humans, and therefore there are visible improvements in efficiency as well as productivity for the enterprise.

The future of jobs

Does this mean that we would be without any viable job opportunities? Probably not, as history has taught us. When the industrial revolution happened, well a lot of manual jobs were definitely lost, but mechanization did create a lot more opportunities too. It is said that the advent of technology has created more jobs than they could destroy. Robotics and artificial intelligence too may be the next harbingers of a sea change in the way we work, going forward.

While the industrial revolution saved us from having to manually handle a lot of dangerous tasks, artificial intelligence would take the burden out of executing repetitive, monotonous work. So, thinking ahead, what could perhaps be the possible opportunities for us? There could be many, for instance, someone has to code the robots and the artificial intelligence applications, someone needs to monitor whether the robotic processes are executing appropriately, and then someone needs to properly design the workflow that should be automated. There will definitely be the need for someone to build those machines, for someone to design appropriate test scenarios and so on.

What Skills?

What does this imply for us and how could we be better equipped to handle these scenarios of the future. There is no doubt that the level of expertise required of these jobs would be higher and with specialized expertise, the pay would in all probability be more. But, the requirement right now is to develop those skills that would equip us to take up those jobs of the future. For one, mathematics and engineering will be driving the change.

New innovations require the development of the powers of critical thinking. So, alongside our engineering, science and mathematical skills, there is a need to brush up on soft skills. Most importantly, this would include the ability to communicate effectively and to stay passionately curious about evolving challenges.

New skills that industry is looking forward to including deeper skills in industry domains and technical skills to translate that knowledge to identify, develop, and implement appropriate solutions. The quantum of the opportunity can easily be gauged in that industry biggies are predicting that there would be a mammoth 20 to 50 million new jobs will be in the offing in AI itself. That’s a massive number and a huge opportunity.