As artificial intelligence takes jobs away, it also creates even more new jobs.

The emergence of A.I. can be unsettling. We see predictions that it will take over many jobs and could even turn against us due to the:

  • Growing web of interconnected devices, self-driving vehicles and buildings called Internet of Things (IoT)
  • Expanding armies of warehouse and assembly line robots
  • Emerging software that does the work of financial, insurance, marketing and legal professionals

Is it possible for A.I. to improve our lives AND create better jobs?

Joyful emoticon

Yes! AI is creating jobs

From my seat here on the front line of tech staffing in Toronto, that’s exactly what’s happening.

Toronto has become a hotbed for artificial intelligence development, thanks to the ground-breaking research at University of Toronto by deep learning pioneer Geoffrey Hinton.

In fact, Canada has a chance to monopolize the artificial intelligence industry, which will create many high-paying jobs with spillover effects for the middle class.

Growing demand for A.I., machine learning and data science professionals

At Stafflink, we’re seeing more demand for people with machine learning, data science and coding skills to build A.I. powered software.

Coding AI: Programming languages used to build AI software

Programming languages used to develop A.I.

It’s not enough to be a great coder. These roles require higher-order critical, creative and innovative thinking.

People with high emotional intelligence, who love to collaborate (especially on Github), have the advantage now.

The past is the best predictor of the future

Time and time again major technological advancements like the industrial age and the internet were met with doom and gloom predictions. Nevertheless, when the dust settled, humans were better off and had many new jobs to do that were preferable to the old jobs.

Artificial intelligence, automation, the IoT — it’s all here to serve us. More reasons to be optimistic…

As Amazon uses more robots, they keep hiring more people

By doubling the number of robots in their warehouses, Amazon was able to provide a better customer experience with faster order fulfillment. Happy customers buy more products which makes Amazon to grow and hire more people.

Amazon shows steady growth in its employment of human workers

Amazon’s human worker headcount continues to grow in spite of rapid increase in robots

Source: Do more! What Amazon teaches us about AI and the jobless future

Thanks to this virtuous cycle — more robots > happy customers > growing demand > more jobs for people — Amazon has increased their human workforce by 30-50% year over year.

Automation creates demand for handmade things

The more we’re served by A.I. agents and surrounded by perfectly uniform products, the more we’ll crave the human touch. This means earning opportunities for creatives.

  • Handwriting, sketches, hand drawn interfaces
  • Hand woven rugs, handmade jewelery, hand painted objects and clothes
  • Advisers, guides and councilors with the human perspective to help people adjust to a rapidly changing world
  • Human receptionists will be remarkable
  • Face to face meetings and nature walks
  • Improvisation, live comedy
  • Live concerts and performances
  • Gardening and landscaping

You can probably think of many more high-touch good and services that will help us stay grounded in spite of A.I. everywhere.

Jobs that won’t be displaced by automation

The future looks bright for people who love to learn and yearn to make an important contribution through our work.

Jobs in education and health care are difficult to automate. Just think of the empathy, intuition and collaboration skills required to be an effective nurse, hiring manager or teacher.

Of course, automated versions of those services are available, like a robotic couples councilor that doesn’t judge. There’s even “the blessing robot“.

Robotic couples councilor

A robotic couples councilor developed by Timothy Bickmore, Northeastern University

These endearing robots are great!  But their algorithms will never have a deep understanding the dynamics of working relationships and collaboration in the way that human managers, team leaders, project managers, and DevOps professionals do.

Jobs that require us to use our social and emotional intelligence, creativity, sense-making and collaboration skills to help each other and improve the planet will still require human input. Charity workers, inventors, farmers, architects — how many more can you think of?

“Human beings are relentless in their capacity to invent new ways to serve others, so we will always have new work.” SourceRobots and automation may not take your desk job after all

Retraining and adapting for the next wave of AI and automation

Reinventing yourself for new opportunities in AI will take retraining that will stretch our brains to the max. Which will make us smarter so we can stay on top of AI.

We must adapt our educational curriculum to make sure our children will succeed in the new economy.

Elementary, high-school and university programs have to develop the skills that empower students to be leaders in the coming AI tsunami – critical thinking, teamwork, coding, algorithmic understanding and math. John Kelleher and Laura McGee, The Globe and Mail, June 23, 2017

AI will force us to evolve. But it’s inevitable and it’s for the higher good.

Job Opportunities on the Leading Edge of Artificial Intelligence

Without further ado, let’s look at the job opportunities on the leading edge where you to can make a contribution as A.I. changes nearly everything.

These roles are challenging, but they’re more than worth the hard work it takes to get qualified.

  • Data Science, data analysis, statistics
  • IoT jobs: Alexa, Siri, automation, wearables
  • Machine learning, deep learning, natural language research
  • Robotics: designing, training, repairing, installation
  • Software developers, mobile developers, user interface/user experience designers
  • Security – Cyber-security, data security, privacy
  • Health care – diagnostics, data analysis
  • Education – updating the curriculum, retraining teachers
  • Retraining people displaced by automation and AI, government retraining programs, corporate training, online learning

Join me in using AI to improve our skills, our companies and our communities

Boy surfing on a smart phone - riding the waves of change

You can make a successful career out of riding the waves of change.

So there’s my take on AI, jobs and whether AI is a force for good or evil. As the owner of a tech staffing company, I have to be excited the newest wave of tech.

Artificial intelligence is washing over everything. Go with the flow or get washed away.

Hopefully I’ve given you plenty of reasons to stay optimistic in the rapidly changing world of employment.

If you have a job that’s being threatened by automation, I’ve tried to guide you to opportunities that are available to retrain and reinvent yourself.

May you thrive and be more successful than ever in the age of artificial intelligence!

Please share your thoughts and questions in the comments section below.

This article was originally published by Tim Collins for Stafflink Solutions Blog.

Tim Collins is the founder and owner of Stafflink, a technology staffing company in Toronto, Canada.

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