Gartner says AI will create more jobs than it eliminates…by 2020

It has often been the dividing line when it comes to artificial intelligence infiltrating the workplace; will it create more jobs than it takes away? Gartner has come out on the optimistic side of the coin in its latest analysis – at least by 2020, anyway.

The new decade will be a ‘pivotal’ turning point in AI-related employment dynamics, the analyst firm argues, as 2.3 million jobs will be created through the technology’s advances in 2020, compared to eliminating 1.8 million. By 2025, Gartner predicts, the net difference in jobs will be positive to the tune of two million.

Sure, automation will take a lot of the dull, menial tasks many employees have to do to begin with, but Gartner argues that by 2022, one in five workers engaged in predominantly non-routine tasks will rely on AI do to a job. AI applied to non-routine work ‘is more likely to assist humans than replace them as combinations of humans and machines will perform more effectively than either human experts or AI-driven machines working along will’, as the analyst firm puts it.

Gartner has other predictions too; by 2021, AI augmentation will generate almost $3 trillion in business value, at a bonus of 6.2 billion hours in worker productivity. Yet not every project will be successful; retailers’ efforts to replace sales associates through AI will be on the whole unsuccessful, although some disruption will take place in cashier and operational jobs.

Generally, executives are being optimistic about the future of AI. Speaking to this reporter in June, Melissa di Donato, chief revenue officer at SAP S/4HANA Cloud, put it this way. “What we want to do is be able to allocate the mundane tasks to machines and machine learning technology, whilst taking the people and making them much more impactful on the business… giving them strategic roles, high impact roles, roles that can touch customers and service customers in a way that a machine can’t,” said Di Donato. “It’s a relocation of intelligence, if you will.”

The good news here is that Gartner believes this course of action can be undertaken. “AI can take on repetitive and mundane tasks, but the symbiosis of humans with AI will be more nuanced and will require reinvestment and reinvention instead of simply automating existing practices,” said Mike Rollings, research vice president at Gartner.

“Rather than have a machine replicating the steps that a human performs to reach a particular judgement, the entire decision process can be refactored to use the relative strengths and weaknesses of both machine and human to maximise value generation and redistribute decision making to increase agility,” Rollings added.

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