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Enterprises are increasing the human workforce while deploying AI

Artificial intelligence is creating more jobs than it replaces, according to a study of businesses using the technology

Artificial intelligence (AI) technology is currently creating more jobs than it is replacing at large enterprises, with 40% adding human jobs as they roll out AI.

Only 8% of enterprises surveyed by Dun & Bradstreet at a recent conference on artificial intelligence said they were cutting jobs as a result of AI, and 34% said demand for people remained unchanged.

The survey, which had 100 respondents, was conducted at the recent AI World Conference and Expo in US city Boston.

It found that most companies had move beyond awareness and early-stage adoption of AI, to implementation and determining what value the technology provides, with 20% at the stage of full deployment. Only 11% said they were not deploying AI, while the rest were at different stages.

But major challenges remain, with a shortage of human expertise and data the two biggest hurdles to further implementing AI, with 28% citing this for both.

“Data is the foundation upon which any technology – especially AI – can be built,” said Anthony Scriffignano, chief data scientist at Dun & Bradstreet.

“As data continues to be produced and stored in exponentially increasing quantities, we will begin to see AI systems adapt and improve, which is inherent to the value of AI”
Anthony Scriffignano, Dun & Bradstreet

“If you have a faulty data foundation, you will likely have a faulty technology approach yielding faulty insights,” he added. “As data continues to be produced and stored in exponentially increasing quantities, we will begin to see AI systems adapt and improve, which is inherent to the value of AI.”

Other challenges anticipated for 2019, in order of severity, are technology infrastructure; hesitation from executive decision-makers; lack of budget; regulatory challenges; and the lack of a strong digital base.

The main uses of AI in the organisations were analytics (62%), automation (52%) and data management (42%). Another 29% were using the technology for back-end systems improvements and 23% for consumer-facing chatbots.

A separate survey of 2,000 UK-based respondents, carried out by OpenText, revealed that 42% of Brits believed their jobs could be replaced by a robot by 2066, while 25% thought this could happen within the next 10 years. Of the 25-34 year olds surveyed, one in 10 believed their role could be replaced by a robot as soon as this year.

“We should stop viewing AI as an existential threat to employment. Collaborative robots will allow for greater efficiency while also taking some of the day-to-day strain off employees”
Mark Bridger, OpenText

But Mark Bridger, senior vice-president for Europe at OpenText, said the disruption to jobs caused by AI was not something we should fear.

“We should stop viewing AI as an existential threat to employment,” he said. “Collaborative robots – or ‘co-bots’ – will allow for greater efficiency while also taking some of the day-to-day strain off employees.”

Last year, Gartner said AI technology would begin to create more jobs than it replaces in 2020, with two million more jobs created than replaced by AI by 2025.

Read more about artificial intelligence in the enterprise sector

Read more on Artificial intelligence, automation and robotics

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