Artificial intelligence, or AI for short, has created quite a buzz in the last decade and the noise has suddenly increased manifold in the last year or two. A research report titled “The Future of Employment” from the University of Oxford Martin Institute in 2013 estimated that half of all US jobs could be made obsolete in the coming years. Some people have gone further to state that almost all jobs which require repetition and number crunching could become fair game for AI and be liable for replacement. What’s different about the current wave of automation is that the combination of advanced mobile robotics and sensors and sophisticated machine learning algorithms and neural networks will allow for the automation of both cognitive and manual, repetitive and non-repetitive tasks.
As always, it is not all doom and gloom and many point out the benefits of AI and how it could be tailormade to become an intelligent assistant to humans in areas where human skill and intuition is required and become the work-horse for laborious and dangerous jobs which people may not want to do.
For example, AI and robotics are already making headway in the healthcare fields with the likes of the DaVinci surgical robot, allowing trained surgeons to deftly manipulate robotic arms to perform pinhole surgery which sometimes allows patients to recover much faster and with lesser complications than traditional surgery.
As is the case in many areas of the economy, artificial intelligence is having a dramatic impact in developing countries and promises to change their economies drastically.
For example, in India, the information technology boom which started in the 2000’s has created thousands of jobs and helped propel the Indian economy to become one of the fastest growing countries in the world. In the heydays of the IT boom, outsourcing companies were hiring thousands of graduates straight out of college providing them salaries which only graduates from top schools were able to garner.