AI and Automation: How Will It Affect The Future of Work?

Category Business

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Three University of Cincinnati professors discuss how advances in artificial intelligence and automation will change the way people work, which jobs will be obsolete, and the value of human workers. Automation and augmentation of existing tasks are two main ways AI can be used, and access to data is becoming more pervasive. It is possible to use AI to make art, but what it means to create is a question best left to philosophers.

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For decades, advances in technology have changed the ways people work, and now artificial intelligence could be the next big disruptor.Three professors from the University of Cincinnati's Carl H. Lindner College of Business discuss how artificial intelligence and automation will change the way people work, what types of jobs will be lost to artificial intelligence and the value human workers still provide.

Advances in AI technology will result in jobs in two main ways; automation or augmentation of existing tasks

The professors are: .

Chen: In general, AI can be used in two ways. One is automation. That is, we use AI to replace some human beings for certain tasks. The other way is augmentation. We use AI to augment human beings' intelligence and ability to finish some tasks. When we talk about augmentation, it is not to replace human beings. It is rather to complement. People and AI can collaborate together and do some tasks better. People often think these are two separate things: You can use AI either for automation or for augmentation. But in fact, when you zoom out across time and space, these two are not necessarily separated. They are actually intertwined with each other and interdependent.

AI can become more powerful with access to more data

Fry: What history suggests will happen is we'll find a new equilibrium where in general people are more productive. However, that doesn't mean it will be good for everyone. Because of automobiles, horse and buggy manufacturers, they had to find something different to do. There certainly will be certain people, certain job classes or industries that may be obsolete. There will be others where certain parts of their jobs will be aided by AI, so you can spend more time doing something that takes more thought whereas the routine things can be done with AI.

AI algorithms are becoming increasingly sophisticated for tasks that require understanding and creativity

Froehle: Information automation, it's a continuation of the mechanical automation that has transformed nearly every business that makes anything since the 1860s. The big difference is that we are starting to see it affect white-collar jobs, jobs that process information rather than physical goods ... so-called "knowledge-work." .

Fry: We have a long history of disruption and automation, everything from [Johannes] Gutenberg and the printing press to the industrial revolution and the internet. What is different about this is that this does a much better job than previous attempts at generating what seems to be new content. You can ask a question that's potentially never been asked before, and it gives you an answer that seems quite reasonable. The same with art; you can go to other places and say make a picture in this style, and it does it. I think that's what people are really caught off guard by. Now it seems like AI can create, not just automate.

AI technologies have existed for a long time, what has changed is the availability of data

When we talk about artificial intelligence being able to 'create,' how real is that? .

Fry: We could talk to some philosophers about that: What does creation mean? The algorithms it's using have been around for a while in some form but there definitely have been updates to the underlying algorithms it's using. What has changed is the availability of data. It can scrape the web and get all sorts of stuff.

AI is being used more often as a tool for automation

If you think about what it means to create, if you're an artist and you're painting a picture, your data point is some kind of aesthetic notions that you have been carrying around for years.

Froehle: And now instead of using those aesthetic notions in a painting, you're using them to train a neural network, to basically create something similar. AI is definitely a tool. It's being used as a tool to automate. And people are learning how to shape AI to their own needs.

AI can used to replace human beings and for tasks of augmentation with collaboration

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