Truth About Loss Of Jobs From Automation

Representative Image - Sakshi Post

Malathi Boggavarapu & Phani Madhavi

Job loss has been a trend which has been fluctuating across the decade due to various reasons starting from global conflicts to recessions. As we enter into the digital era, the new threat which is showing up is job loss due to “Automation”. Unlike earlier automation through computerization and Information technology which resulted in the generation of jobs, the upcoming rapid automation empowered with Artificial Intelligence (AI) shows a negative trend in the future job market.

What could be the reason?

The earlier automation eliminated repetitive and low-value jobs and in turn generated high-value jobs which generated abundant opportunities for highly skilled knowledge workers. But what is the issue with the upcoming Automation?

The answer to that is the upcoming automation empowered by Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning can replace jobs which need human intelligence. This will eliminate jobs of high skilled workers too. At the same time, it also eliminates low skilled and repetitive jobs. Analyst reports say that AI and Automation will take away 800 million jobs by 2030. This covers a huge spectrum of jobs starting from high skilled jobs to low skilled jobs.

Having said that the impact of AI enabled rapid automation will eliminate a significant amount of jobs, which are the Industry sectors which are likely to face a substantial impact? Is it only the IT Industry? The answer is a big “NO” as the impact can cut across many other sectors which employ masses as on date. Some of them to name are as follows.

Finance Industry

The Finance industry covers multiple portfolios such as Banking, Insurance, Investments etc. Currently it employs a huge mass of people doing repetitive jobs. In other words it has a huge work force which work like robots. Deutsche Bank CEO John Cryan mentions in one of his public address,

“In our bank we have people doing work like robots and Tomorrow we will have robots behaving like people. It doesn’t matter if we as a bank will participate in these changes or not, it is going to happen.”

Increased processing power, cloud storage and other developments are making many tasks possible that once were considered too complex for automation, according to Cryan. This indicates that many of banking positions such as Tellers, document verification clerks, loan assessment staff will be replaced by AI enabled applications which will have the capability of decision making and learning.

National Australia Bank(NAB) has announced that it is planning to cut 12% of workforce in favour of AI and digital systems in the next 13 years. The major focus of the bank is to replace customer support staff and and digital channels that eliminate in-branch jobs.

Manufacturing Industry

The manufacturing industry is the birthplace of Industrial Automation where repeated tasks were replaced by semi-automatic and automatic machines. Modern manufacturing facilities are enabled with digitally controlled equipment, which is still not a threat to the job market. The major cost incurred by this industry is in consumption of utilities and other material which are not a part of the end product along with other overheads on running support functions. AI enabled Automation is a real boon for the manufacturing industry by which many positions such as heavy equipment control such as Industrial Boiler control and many similar areas can be replaced with IoT based control systems by which a number of staff required to handle these systems are rapidly eliminated.

Other areas where AI enabled Automation can replace manual labour can be quality control where quality inspection will be performed by AI enabled Robots which not only results in improved productivity but also shows good results in proper defect identification by which the objective of quality control is achieved at high precision at low cost.

What should you do if you are in/related to Manufacturing Industry and how can you safeguard your job?

For an in-depth analysis of your portfolio and securing your job, email us: Why us: We’re a team of professionals collectively close to 100 person-years of experience in the IT industry and have seen through the ups and downs of IT and various industries interlinked to IT.

Defense

IoT enabled Mini drones with wireless video coverage capabilities, loaded with ammunition can replace soldiers which could save a huge cost to the government in eliminating the cost of training, employing, maintaining and also spending in disablement and death benefits. It also saves a huge infrastructure cost and provides more effective results as drones have a better possibility to reach the enemies destination if any complicated terrain such as a river or a valley needs to be crossed.

Security checkpoints can be replaced with robots instead of manual security checking process by enabling robots with the intelligence to identify any security threats and further learn to improve on its performance based on previous happenings.

The overall reduction in direct workforce as mentioned above eliminates jobs for support personnel involved in general supplies, pantry maintenance, health and hygiene and the list goes on.

Healthcare Industry

A typical example of replacement of jobs in healthcare industry through automation is the AI enabled App which is being developed by UK National Health Service(NHS) to automate it's NHS 111 non-emergency helpline. This App has been developed by Babylon Health, a UK based startup specializing in remote healthcare applications. The App is capable of taking text inputs from users and performing triage for urgent but non-life-threatening conditions. This App is expected to be accessed by 1.2M+ people in North Central London. This is expected to bring in huge cost savings to UK NHS by replacing armies of people who are currently sitting on phones at high cost.

Telemedicine is an effective solution for reaching interior villages and has it's own impact on jobs like paramedics. Digital instruments such as Thermometers, BP monitors enabled with IoT can not only reduce the number of paramedics required but can also reduce ambulance usage. This will have a direct impact on jobs for ambulance drivers and automobile maintenance workers.

Mass Transportation Industry

Mass transportation such as Railways and Shipping in one big industry which employs people in masses. The major workforce in this industry are not the navigators (i.e, chauffeur, Pilots or helmsmen) but the major workforce encompasses the support functions such as travel ticket validation, security and so on. RFID enabled tickets coupled with biometric scanners may eliminate the need of the whole lot of staff involved in travel ticket validation and AI enabled security devices can significantly reduce the need of staff involved in surveillance.

Education Industry

The education industry has been seeing a great demand for quality teaching professionals for many decades. In the recent past, there has been a mild shift in the trend where online and distance learning has been diluting the demand of highly skilled teaching professionals to be replicated in multiple geographic locations in order to enable physical presence for universities which operate in multiple geographies globally. Teleconferencing aided with new technologies such as Virtual Reality and Augmented reality enables omnipresence of high skilled teaching professionals. Further development of building AI enabled virtual robots which can teach will also eliminate the job of high skilled teaching professionals.

Tourism Industry

Tourism Industry is unique of it's kind where it employs many people both directly and indirectly. The indirect jobs includes some of the jobs in the transportation industry as well. The impact of automation can be both on direct and indirect jobs as discussed below.

Direct Jobs: Many direct jobs such as tourism package advisors and travel agents will be replaced by AI enabled tools. IBM’s Watson tool is typical example which is helping the travel company to automate many of its functions by which many jobs are being replaced.

Indirect Jobs: Some of the petti jobs dependent on the tourism industry are Tourist Guides, Cab Chauffeur etc. Autonomous vehicles are of a great threat to the Cab Chauffeur’s jobs. Similarly AI enabled apps and Chatbots are a threat to the Tourist Guides jobs.

Transportation and Logistics Industry

Transportation and logistic industry depend more on human service as on date to perform shipments. AI enabled applications couples with delivery drones can reduce the manpower requirement for delivering light weight consignments. In December 2013, the DHL parcel service subsidiary of Deutsche Post AG tested a "microdrones md4-1000" for delivery of medicine. Such experiments can result in more innovation which will revolutionize the mode of light weight parcel delivery. In 2017 drone delivery startup Flytrex deployed a commercial drone delivery route in Iceland's capital, Reykjavik.

( Malathi Boggavarapu is a Software Professional who has been working on various technologies in Sweden.

Phani Madhavi, a Certified Scrum Master and a Six Sigma Black Belt, delivered several critical and time-sensitive projects in some of India's best IT firms)

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