A serial entrepreneur and visionary, Manish Gupta’s key to phenomenal growth and success rest on leading innovation, customer, and performance-driven organization. With extensive experience in the IT consulting sphere, he strives to add value to his clients by providing them quality IT services and solutions leveraging their on-site- offshore methodology, global delivery model, and best breed of professionals. Manish’s vision is to create the world’s largest and most trusted Quality Assurance and software testing organization with a focus on innovation, quality, and satisfied employees and clients.
The pandemic has accelerated digitalization, the fourth industrial revolution is set in motion and we’ve stepped into the era of intelligence where heavyweight words like artificial intelligence, robotics process automation and machine learning have become common parlance. Being an integral and evolving part of the technical world, especially software testing, I find myself amidst this rising curiosity about AI and the future of mankind and work. While there is ample optimism with respect to the possibilities AI can bring, it’s still shrouded by fear, of losing jobs, rise of robots, end of the manually-run world panic. I can assure you that are not going to happen.
The dystopian, super intelligent AI-dominant worlds of sci-fi films like ‘Minority Report’ and ‘iRobot’, is not exactly where we are headed. Agreed, AI is rapidly becoming a part of our lives with driverless cars, drones, robotic surgeries, chatty chatbots, smartphones and smart homes, virtual assistants like Siri and Alexa, self-checkout at stores, etc. And yes, it will, massively impact the workings of the world. As a result, instead of job displacement, there will be job repurposing and creation. Instead of loss of work, there will be a shift in nature of work.
The use of AI in multiple sectors of business has grown by 270% in the last four years. Where the World Economic Forum Future of Jobs Report does mention 85 million jobs being replaced by machines with AI by the year 2025, it also, in a reassuring voice state creation of 97 million new jobs by 2025 due to AI.
In the last five years alone, AI has spiked demand for positions like machine learning engineers, robotics engineers, and data scientists. It has become an indispensible part of our lives, driving emerging technologies like big data, analytics, robotics and IoT. AI’s presence and influence has permeated into all sectors of work.
The AI Presence in various fields
Take for example healthcare – studies have found that nearly 20% of fatal illnesses go misdiagnosed or undiagnosed. Although still in the early stages, the presence of AI in healthcare accelerates and streamlines disease diagnosis and drug discovery and improves accuracy. AI robotics-enabled surgeries saves time as a doctor can perform multiple procedures in parallel, sitting somewhere remotely. AI-powered apps help users measure and manage stress and gain access to psychotherapy. The big data analysis further helps in creating better patient experience. The future will see a rise in demand for AI-assisted healthcare technician jobs.
Companies are fast pumping millions of dollars into AI-driven self-driving cars, trucks, trains (Europe already has it running), airplanes, in automation of transportation sector, in enabling access control with facial recognition tools and streamlining basic work with virtual assistants.
Huge AI investments are being made in education, retail and BFSI. Imagine drones delivering your products at home, digitized textbooks with virtual tutor assistants in the field of education, facial recognition to gauge student emotion and comprehension, more nuanced chatbots for better user experience. Google has an AI assistant that can place human-like calls to make appointments. You name the area and there is a use case for AI application.
To top it all, AI is automating the very roots of AI – Software development. There are platforms that help you create software applications without writing any code. Or AI-driven test automation tools which bring in human-like decision-making abilities that ultimately help in releasing high-quality software in less time.
The AI Shift
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the simulation of human intelligence in machines that are programmed to think like humans, mimic their actions. AI is being encouraged to perform all the jobs that are repetitive and time consuming in nature, in the process killing those jobs that are monotonous and not adding any value to human beings.
AI, ML, automation reduces the tedious manual work, providing room for growth and innovation. This in turn leads to a shift in jobs, not the end of employment. It will also encourage humans to divert their energies to higher-value tasks, to invest time in more creative, strategic and entrepreneurial activities.
The nature of work continues to evolve with AI stepping into work sphere: it’s the age of reskilling and up skilling. Scaling of business as a result of AI will translate to a whole new generation of AI savvy workforce.
The new job opportunities will be in the field of AI data analytics and engineering. The future will create massive vacancies for AI and machine learning engineers, AI application designers, for AI trainers, academia to support technical education, policy makers to introduce and integrate curriculum and legislations on emerging technologies, technically trained staff in areas of retail, transport, BFSI (Banking, Financial Services and Insurance), tourism, innovators and ideators who can leverage the technology further. With increase in AI implementation, AI maintenance work force including AI developers and engineers will be in demand.
The AI Effect
Businesses are leveraging AI technology to scale phenomenally – from marketing, strategizing, automating to decision-making, data collection and analysis, knowledge and innovation management. AI application is transforming the way we work, and hence it’s crucial to empower and educate the workforce along with it too, to make an effort to understand emerging technologies. In their book, “The Work of the Future: Building Better Jobs in an Age of Intelligent Machines, MIT professors David Autor and David Mindelland principal research scientist Elisabeth Reynolds write how technologies are changing the face of the world, and right now, while it’s impacting change, is far from replacing humans.
Technology by and far lacks emotional intelligence, common sense, the unpredictability of human nature, social quotient and creative skills – the element of innovation, dream, passion comes from humans. According to them, specialized AI systems tend to be task-oriented, it can simplify and speed up the task at hand, but its ability to adapt to entirely novel situations is still an enormous challenge and a key reason why companies will have to continue to rely on humans for a variety of tasks.
The future, therefore, belongs to companies that operate in collaboration with AI, and using AI to complement the worldly human intelligence. AI, as an enabler, would save humans from the tedious repetitive work and improve the quality of life (and jobs). I can see tremendous opportunities within my little world of software testing by bringing in AI – lesser real-world software issues, more user-centric applications with better user experience, faster time-to-market, higher quality work profiles for engineers, to name a few.