Artificial intelligence (AI) sounds exciting, but for workers in certain industries, the technology could bring bad news.
A new report from Forrester Research, Inc. (NASDAQ:FORR) said that within just five years, “intelligent agents” will eliminate a huge amount of jobs in customer service, trucking, and taxi services. The emerging technology of robots and other forms of artificial intelligence will result in a total loss of six percent of jobs. (Source: “AI Will Replace 6 Percent of Jobs in Five Years, Says Report,” CNBC, September 12, 2016.)
“By 2021, a disruptive tidal wave will begin,” wrote Brian Hopkins, vice president of Forrester Research. “Solutions powered by AI/cognitive technology will displace jobs, with the biggest impact felt in transportation, logistics, customer service, and consumer services.”
The report noted the recent emergence of intelligent agents, such as Apple Inc.’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) “Siri,” Amazon.com, Inc.’s (NASDAQ: AMZN) “Alexa,” and Alphabet Inc’s (NASDAQ: GOOG) “Google Now.” AI-powered chatbots like the one in Facebook Inc’s (NASDAQ: FB) “Messenger” have also become popular among users.
These digital assistants and chatbots, which are powered by artificial intelligence, are already quite advanced. They can listen to you, understand your needs, and even make decisions for you.
The report suggested that Facebook and Google have been hiring talented programmers to help them expand their data banks to improve their algorithms. These algorithms, which can already take images and videos and convert them into insights, could power all kinds of new services.
Forrester predicts that AI-based services and apps will revolutionize a number of industries. For instance, self-driving cars could reshape both the auto and transportation industries. In the process, there will likely be a redistribution of jobs.
This is not the first time researchers have predicted job losses due to the rise of artificial intelligence. Researchers at the World Economic Forum estimated that these innovations will lead to a total of 7.1 million jobs being lost during the 2015-2020 period. Two-thirds of these jobs will be “concentrated in the Office and Administrative job family.” (Source: “The Future Of Jobs,” World Economic Forum, January 18, 2016.)