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AI poses no threat to IT careers

A SolarWinds survey reveals that IT professionals are more concerned with cyber security than losing their jobs to artificial intelligence

IT professionals remain unfazed by any existential threat that artificial intelligence (AI) may pose to their careers, a survey has found.

Just 18% of respondents in the survey commissioned by SolarWinds were concerned about the impact of AI on job security – far lower than the growing concern over cyber security that was cited by 91% of respondents.

Patrick Hubbard, principal evangelist at SolarWinds, said the risk of IT professionals losing their jobs and having their desks stripped from them remains low. However, the march of automation into the lives of IT professionals continues apace.

“In virtualisation management, where you might be managing tens of thousands of virtual machines, the level of automation is already an order of magnitude higher, and it’s higher again with containerisation,” Hubbard said.

“To IT administrators, that’s helpful. So when you ask, ‘Are you threatened by automation?’, they will say no. But the automation is replacing a full time job.”

New jobs, however, are emerging, according to companies already implementing AI.

In a Capgemini survey of almost 1,000 organisations which are implementing AI, either as a pilot or at scale, 83% of respondents said AI had generated new roles in their organisations. Among those that had deployed AI at scale, 63% said that no job had been axed.

Nevertheless, AI technologies are being rolled out in Australia with the capacity to significantly disrupt traditional roles.

For example, NAB, one of Australia’s largest banks, is testing a digital virtual banker service for business customers who can expect instant responses to more than 200 common queries its human employees have traditionally had to address. In the pilot deployment, a human bank worker will only be involved if the robot is unable to answer a customer’s question.

Antony Cahill, NAB’s chief operating officer, said: “Our research shows that two-thirds of Australian SMEs [small and medium-sized enterprises] cite dealing with administrative tasks as taking a lot of effort, and our customers desperately want to spend more time on their business and less time on administrative tasks.”

He also said NAB would continue to extend the capacity of the robot to support business customers.

Read more about AI in Australia

At UBank, NAB’s digital-only subsidiary, a robot has also been deployed to guide people seeking mortgage or personal loans through the application process before escalating the request to a human teller to finalise the application.

Capgemini’s survey reveals that banks, telcos and retailers are leading the charge in AI. A separate insurance report from the firm also revealed that 60% of insurers are using some form of robotic processes to lower claims and premiums.

Australian enterprises were second only to India’s in terms of their appetite for AI. Other countries surveyed were France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, UK and US. 

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