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article imageAutomation is not eating jobs, states Gartner

By James Walker     Oct 3, 2017 in Technology
AI will have created more jobs than it's destroyed within the next three years, according to leading research firm Gartner. The company has found that AI will push 1.8 million people out of work by 2020 but end up creating over 2.3 million new roles.
The discovery contradicts many previous assumptions about AI's impact on employment. TechRepublic reports Gartner revealed the findings during the company's Gartner Symposium conference this week. It said that AI will drive a net jobs increase of 500,000 positions before the end of the decade.
Gartner didn't explain its methodology or elaborate on how it determined its figures. However, the company's claims do align with other recent reports on the effect of AI on the jobs market. The technology isn't yet eradicating human work, even though a net fall in jobs seems to be the logical consequence of an efficiency drive.
The critical word when considering AI's impact on workplaces is "augmenting." The vision being pitched by tech firms and AI innovators currently sees AI work alongside humans. The machines handle the mundane day-to-day tasks while allowing humans to continue leading the real productive work. AI extends human capabilities, increasing productivity in a manner that enables business growth and higher employment.
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Gartner's study suggests this vision is being implemented. In some cases, people currently employed in administrative roles are losing their positions to AI. Automation isn't taking over though. Instead, it's bringing new opportunities to workplaces by streamlining inefficient processes. This allows new employees to be hired to companies, often to more fulfilling positions.
Previous reports have revealed other ways in which AI can create jobs. Last month, the Progressive Policy Institute explained how automation is opening new roles by changing the way in which people spend their time.
Tasks which were formerly "unpaid household hours," like taking a product home from a store, are now completed by salaried members of the economy. Your decision to purchase a new item from Amazon could harm local retailers but on a national level it opens new roles in the forms of warehouse pickers, packers and drivers.
During the conference, Gartner stressed the importance of people to digital disruption and automation. Gartner research chief Peter Sondergaard said the "secret to digital is analogue," before explaining "it's people." The company sees AI as a way to "scale" human talent, not as an invasive alternative. Individuals might lose their current roles but globally more employment options will be available.
More about Automation, Ai, Artificial intelligence, digital disruption, Employment
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