By Joseph Waring

AI to create better jobs as robots handle manual work

AI will eliminate many low-skill and low-paid jobs over the next decade, but as it becomes more prominent in the workforce, human capital can be unleashed to focus on less manual and more innovative tasks, according to David Leaser, senior programme executive for innovation and growth initiatives at IBM.

Leaser spoke to Mobile World Daily ahead of his presentation in a session on reskilling for the robots.

He said distinctly human skills, like creativity, originality, analytical thinking and innovation, will rise in importance, while memory-related tasks and manual work will be performed by robots.

“AI technology is going to eliminate some jobs, create new jobs and make most jobs better,” he said.

Leaser cited data projecting 54 per cent of all employees will require significant reskilling and upskilling by 2022. Of these, about 35 per cent are expected to require additional training of up to six months, about 10 per cent will require reskilling lasting six to 12 months, while 10 per cent will require additional skills training of more than a year.

This will require employers to develop robust workforce development strategies to retain their best employees, he said.

A report from the World Economic Forum predicted machines and algorithms in the workplace will create 133 million new roles, but cause 75 million jobs to be displaced by 2022. That means AI could create 58 million net new jobs in the next few years.

Leaser insisted: “There are going to be plenty of opportunities for those who reskill.”

Roles like data entry clerks, assembly and factory workers, postal service clerks, cashiers, bank tellers, mechanics and telemarketers will likely become redundant or automated. The US White House predicted 83 per cent of US jobs where people make less than $20 per hour are now, or soon will be, subject to automation.