Last Updated 27 May 2020

Automation and Artificial Intelligence

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Automation is on an increase across all technologies and fields. This increase has led to the transformation, and the future role people play in Global workforce.

The rise of artificial intelligence will result in the need for new skills and roles. Some Skills and roles may disappear and others will evolve. Some industries may need more people and others may need less or none. The balance in human workforce will be impacted hard. Non-availability of required skills & re-skilling will disrupt the workforce in all industries. Organizations and people would need to adjust to this change.

While machines need to be built and maintained, artificial intelligence leads to job loss due to the skill gap and jobs eliminated by machines.

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Impact of Artificial Intelligence on the Workforce

Automation & Artificial intelligence will result in improvement of productivity and economic growth, but millions of people may need to switch occupation or upgrade themselves to stay in the global workforce.

Automation will have a far-reaching impact on the global workforce. By 2030 at a 15% midpoint level of automation adoption, 400 Million workers will be displaced by adoption of automation. According, to a 2-year independent study by the McKinsey Global Institute (Dec 2017). It is estimated that in 60% of the occupation almost one-third of the activities could be automated.

A SurveyMonkey poll on AI conducted for USA TODAY also had overtones of concern, with 73% of respondents saying that would prefer if AI was limited in the rollout of newer tech so that it doesn't become a threat to humans. USA Today. (Jan. 2, 2018). Unfortunately, with the pace at which automation and artificial intelligence are growing, 3 to 14% (75 to 375 Million) of the workforce will need to change their occupational category.

Historical data on the technology shift

"Innovation has generally liberated humans to be more productive," says Rep. John Delaney.

"Similar to the personal computer in the 1980s, AI will reshape our personal and business lives in such a dramatic manner, most companies today cannot comprehend the full impact,' said Anand Rao, PwC US Data & Analytics Innovation leader.

Fear of technology advancement had always been there. From the textile revolution in 1811 with the advent of personal computers in 1980 world leaders and the Global workforce are worried about technological advancement. "The major challenge of the sixties is to maintain full employment at a time when automation is replacing men." President Kennedy (1961).

Although there had been concerns, every time a technology shift has happened more jobs had been created than lost. When a workforce is shifted from the usual mundane jobs, they have focused on more creative and productive areas, resulting in the advent of the human race.

The past may not be an exact reflection of present or future. The advance of automation and artificial intelligence could be far reaching. A robot that could just build is different from a robot that could design and build.

Artificial intelligence, Skill Gap & Workforce Transition

To be successful in an automated world, Man & machine need to work together. One cannot replace the other. This would require new and niche skills with exceptional leadership skills. However, However, "77% of CEOs say they see the availability of key skills as the biggest business threat." USA Today. (Jan. 2, 2018). According to an EY poll, 80% of the organization recognize the shortage of required talent to drive Artificial Intelligence adoption as the top challenge.

Technology and Innovation along with the on demand human capabilities like leadership, creativity, problem solving, and passion will make organizations thrive in the market. Eventually an automated world is a possibility, however in the process will create major ripples in the workforce. The change would go beyond Man versus Machine and require re-learning and retooling.

Impact on society

Large corporations like Apple, Amazon, and Facebook had refused to comment on Artificial Intelligence. However, they do have people tasked with monitoring Artificial Intelligence. Microsoft had announced that they have created a review board called Aether - AI and Ethics in Engineering and Research. USA Today. (Jan. 2, 2018).

Trusting and allowing Artificial Intelligence to control, drive cars and aeroplanes, and automated trading may eventually lead to AI taking control of learning and updating themselves resulting in an uncontrolled growth of machines. A study by McKinsey Global Institute (Dec 2017) suggests countries like China, India, USA and Germany will have more percentage of work activities displaced by automation.

A 38 % of automation achievement would throw some western democracies to authoritarian policies to control the civil chaos as suggested by Brookings institution. Calum McClelland (2018). Governments and policy makers should handle this situation carefully.


Even if we successfully transition, we would lose all jobs to artificial intelligence and automation. Being creative and keeping us educated will give a good chance in this changing world.


  • Artificial intelligence: Doomsday scenario - or age of wonder? - USA Today. (Jan. 2, 2018)
  • You can't have a machine age without humans - PwC report - ENP Newswire. (Mar. 1, 2017)
  • AI creates jobs, yet talent crisis remains, according to EY poll - ENP Newswire. (May 1, 2018)
  • Jobs lost, Jobs gained: workforce transitions in a time of automation - McKinsey Global Institute (Dec 2017).

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