November 14, 2023

Working Hard or Hardly Working?: How Artificial Intelligence is Impacting Today’s Industries

With such a cacophony of anxieties and headlines surrounding the topic of AI in the workplace, you may be asking: “How is AI being used in the workplace and is it really affecting jobs?”

Noah Cecil

In the last couple of centuries, humanity has seen a rapid advancement in technology that has opened all kinds of doors for industrial innovation. 

Doors that led to machine-driven factories, increasing productivity and simplifying manual labor. Doors that have opened to the discovery of electricity: the invention of telephones, light bulbs and fuel-powered engines. Doors that have made way for the transition from analog machinery to digital technology, introducing the world to personal computers and the internet.

Each door has led to a further evolution of industry, bringing us to our present moment of industrial revolution: the integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI).

With every disruption that comes with innovation, there tends to be controversy met with a change to the status quo. With the arrival of machine-led factories in urban cities, there was less of a demand for specialized labor in rural, agricultural communities. The development of personal computers raised alarm on if such technology would replace critical thinking or take away jobs. Similarly, with the normalization of AI, you may be hearing rumblings of students using artificial intelligence to write their essays, or even see headlines of Hollywood writers going on strike to insure job security from the threat of AI generated scripts. 

With such a cacophony of anxieties and headlines surrounding the topic of AI in the workplace, you may be asking: “How is AI being used in the workplace and is it really affecting jobs?” 

In today’s blog, I’m here to shed some light on these questions.

The Role of Artificial Intelligence in Common Industries

The concept of “Artificial Intelligence” can be quite a broad term that’s been developing for decades since first being theorized in 1950 by Alan Turing, and becoming an official field of study by 1956 –– the name being coined by one of the field’s founders, John McCarthy.  

While the perception of Artificial Intelligence tends to fall in the science fiction realm of sentient machines replacing human ingenuity, AI has a versatile range of uses that more commonly cuts down on menial or repetitive tasks, monitors risk assessments or assists in quality assurance.

CEO of tech company LeewayHertz, Akash Takyar, lays out a comprehensive list of common ways Artificial Intelligence is applied to a variety of major industries that includes:

  • Automation: companies are able to use AI to improve efficiency and productivity through the automation of repetitive tasks, such as data entry. 
  • Personalization: this is something commonly seen in online shopping where AI uses data based on customer behavior and preference to provide personalized recommendations and shopping experience.
  • Image and Video Analysis: AI is able to analyze all kinds of data, including images and video. From this kind of data analysis, AI is able to make possible the applications of object recognition, classifying images and improving video surveillance.
  • Natural Language Processing (NLP): NLP is a powerful application that uses AI to translate languages, generate language (automated writing), summarize text, conduct sentiment analysis (help identify the emotions behind written customer feedback) and overall assists in company communication. ChatGPT is a popular example of this kind of application.
  • Risk Assessment and Fraud Detection: AI serves as a helpful tool for recognizing patterns, spotting anomalies within those patterns and identifying early warning signs for risk prevention or fraud protection. 
  • Data Analysis and Decision Support Systems: AI algorithms are able to pull from a complex network of vast data, finding patterns and insights that assist companies in informed decision making. 
  • Customer Service and Engagement: Rather than being put on hold until the next representative is available, customers are able to receive immediate support from AI-powered, virtual assistance who can answer questions. 
  • Research and Development: AI data processing assists in data analysis, scientific research and simulation modeling, boosting innovation in a number of industries.
  • Marketing and Advertising: With AI’s advanced analysis of data based on consumer behavior and preference, as well as being able to identify trends through pattern recognition, marketers are able to use this analysis to optimize marketing campaigns.

How Much is AI Being Used in the Common Workplace?

It’s clear that Artificial Intelligence is a versatile tool for a variety of applications, which can be used across many different industries. 

According to Forbes, some of the major industries that AI assists in today are: ecommerce, education, finance, healthcare, marketing, social media and even agriculture! Although AI has uses in a variety of industries, some jobs have more exposure to AI than others. 

Rakesh Kochhar of Pew Research Center reports an analysis of government data on what kind of jobs are exposed to Artificial Intelligence, showing:

  • As of 2022, 19% of employed Americans work jobs that have the most exposure to AI; I.E., a substantial amount of the job’s duties could either be replaced or assisted by AI. 
  • Higher-paying jobs that prefer a college education and skills in analytics tend to have high exposure to AI. 
  • On the other hand, 23% of employed Americans work jobs that have the least exposure to AI; a substantial amount of the job’s duties have a further chance of being affected by AI. 
  • As for the remaining percentage of employed Americans, “six-in-ten in all, are likely to have varying levels of exposure to AI.”  

For a more in-depth look at what kind of jobs typically qualify as “high exposure,” “medium exposure,” or “low exposure” to Artificial Intelligence, the Pew Research Center provides an informative graphic that breaks that down here

Did You Know Even Pastors Have Some Exposure to AI?

No, this doesn’t mean pastors are now using AI to write automated sermons, or look to AI to make decisions on how to guide the Church rather than seeking God. Instead, pastors are able to make the sermon writing process easier with AI-powered sermon preparation tools

With this kind of technology, pastors can generate sermon outlines, find relevant verses or stories in the Bible for a given topic, conduct research, develop character studies and even come up with modern day examples of biblical teachings. 

Will Artificial Intelligence Change the Job Market?

How does the revolution of Artificial Intelligence affect the job market?

In his same report of job exposure to AI, Rakesh Kochhar makes a distinction between past industrial disruptions and the innovation of artificial intelligence: “Historically, changes in technology have often automated physical tasks, such as those performed on factory floors.” Dissimilarly, “AI performs more like human brainpower and, as its reach grows, that has raised questions about its impact on professional and other office jobs (...).”

According to Divya Bhati of India Today, a “new report by McKinsey Global Institute” predicts a potential impact on the American job market by 2030. This prediction claims that:

“(...) all jobs requiring some kind of automation, such as data collection and repetitive tasks, will be replaced by AI to make work more efficient. Employment sectors that will be impacted more by this AI transformation will include office support, customer service, and food service employment.”

The report goes on to explain that this change will push job seekers to explore different areas of employment. While some jobs may show a decrease in employment, the job market is projected to show an increase of demand for “STEM, creative, business, and legal professionals” –– expecting the demand for STEM jobs to show a 23% increase by 2030. 

Final Thoughts on AI and Industry

No one fully knows how AI will change the future of industry, but we can expect there to be a shift in the demand for certain jobs and skill sets. While the integration of Artificial Intelligence may limit certain job opportunities, it opens the door for potential, new careers.

Ideally, the use of Artificial Intelligence in today’s world should make the workplace more efficient –– rather than replace the role of human workers altogether. 

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