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  • Keean Gorakshakar

AI and Unemployment - A Questionable Connection

AI is rapidly establishing itself as an innovative technology with the ability to revolutionise different sectors and cultural standards. While AI has obvious advantages, such as enhanced efficiency and better decision-making, its widespread use raises worries about its influence on employment. Artificial intelligence has had its implications on the workforce by evaluating both the problems and possibilities it brings for individuals, corporations, and governments.

Organisations have to perform hundreds of tasks daily. AI enables businesses to automate their routine operations, freeing the workforce for more critical tasks. This especially applies to the customer support department. Instead of manually answering every customer query, employees can use AI-powered chatbots for quick and ready answers and focus on complex support cases while not paying too much heed to the situation.

While the pros offered by AI in the workforce are immense, do they really outweigh the cons? The number one concern is privacy, it's something we are all entitled to but are not receiving through both our fault and the introduction of social media and websites which accumulate your data. AI technologies often collect and analyse large amounts of personal data, raising data privacy and security issues.

Another one of the key concerns regarding AI is its ability to automate jobs that were previously performed by people. Manufacturing and retail. However, there may be concerns about ethics, and trust when relying heavily on AI in critical areas, necessitating a careful balance between human and AI involvement. For example, many times there are defects in forms which may lead to the leakage of personal data.

Apart from taking jobs it also generates new career prospects in domains such as data science and AI development. AI can also impact job quality and satisfaction. For example, in sectors like healthcare, AI can assist medical professionals in diagnosing and treating patients, reducing their workload and stress.

An example of a company that has successfully integrated AI into its business is UPS. The global shipping & logistics company has been leveraging AI to optimise its delivery routes, saving them millions in fuel costs. Using AI to analyse factors such as traffic, weather, and package volume, UPS has significantly reduced the time and distance their delivery trucks travel. This has not only saved them money but has also reduced their carbon footprint.

Till about a couple of months ago, the whole discussion regarding machines taking away human jobs was centred around automation and robots/humanoids. The arrival of ChatGPT and other generative artificial intelligence models to take up menial jobs.

In my opinion, it will be a while before they are implemented into mainstream occupations, although it may have a wider range of knowledge compared to humans, it doesn’t have the human touch and play of emotions when it comes to markets with clientele. The morality of replacing a human with AI at the cost of their livelihood for no fault of their own is definitely an aspect where I doubt humanity would lapse. I would like to conclude with a quote, further establishing the consequences of AI on employment - “If people trust Artificial Intelligence to drive a car, people will trust it to do your job.”

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