One thing we need to realise and acknowledge is the fact that we are in the midst of a revolution. The world around us is changing at an unprecedented pace, and the force behind this change is the emergence of the latest digital technologies. Even though human history is full of such examples, it is also quite common to fear and resist such dramatic or revolutionary changes. This happened after significant inventions such as combustible engines and computers. The first and obvious reaction by a sceptic individual is about the safety and security of the current job and employment.
As a matter of fact, around 69% of employees (as per a global report) worry that AI (Artificial Intelligence) can take away their jobs. At the same time, around 82% of employees use one or many such tools regularly at their workplaces. Hence, there is fear with acceptance of the latest technologies. There is no doubt that the initial impact of AI has been disruptive in every manner; however, it is difficult to predict how it will affect work and employment.
This article talks about the potential effects of AI on the future of work and employment, including both positive and negative considerations:
The AI Landscape in India
Enough has been discussed about the prowess and potential of the Indian economy and the role of IT and the latest disruptive technologies behind the rise of India Inc. The total worth of India’s AI sector is expected to surpass $4.10 billion in the current financial year (Statista Report). The same report suggests that the CAGR of the sector should be close to 20% up to 2030, making it one of the fastest-growing markets in the country. However, the reality of the AI landscape is not just about the facts and figures discussed here.
AI Landscape within the Nation
The AI landscape within the nation is both complex and promising. A rich tapestry of start-ups, tech giants, educational institutions, and government initiatives weaves together the story of AI in India. Yet, like every story, it’s vital to discern fact from fiction and potential from reality.
The exponential growth of AI in Indian Industries
From healthcare diagnostics to e-commerce recommendation engines, AI’s imprint on various sectors in India is palpable. The finance sector, for instance, utilizes AI for fraud detection, while agriculture sees its application in predicting crop yields. Bengaluru and Hyderabad start-ups are pioneering innovations, driving India’s AI ecosystem forward. Investments in AI-driven companies have seen a sharp uptick, indicating robust industry faith.
Generative AI should be credited as it has brought disruptive technology within the reach of a common person. People who used to think of AI as some process-based tech or distant reality now realize that the future is now.
The current state of AI-related jobs in India
On one hand, there’s a surge in demand for AI specialists, data scientists, and machine learning engineers in cities like Pune, Bengaluru, and Gurgaon. On the other hand, traditional IT roles are evolving, requiring professionals to upskill. NASSCOM reported a significant increase in AI-related job roles in the past year. However, a skills gap remains as educational institutions scramble to meet industry demands.
The Impact of AI on Jobs: The Positives
In a world increasingly intertwined with technology, viewing AI through a lens of apprehension is easy. However, AI offers a range of advantages that can revolutionize the workplace, empower employees, and foster growth. While many fear job loss, AI’s job creation and enhancement potential cannot be overlooked.
AI has created new job categories.
Like any transformative technology, AI doesn’t merely replace jobs; it creates new ones. The advent of AI has led to the emergence of roles like AI Ethics Officer, Chatbot Content Creator, and AI-driven User Experience Designer. With its robust IT foundation, India has become a hub for these new-age roles.
As the tools evolve, we’ll see many positions that we haven’t even envisioned yet, further enriching the job market.
AI has resulted in higher levels of productivity and efficiency
Beyond job creation, AI augments human potential, amplifying productivity. Take, for instance, customer service bots that handle routine queries, freeing human agents to address more complex issues. Even though an individual might not realize this immediately, there has been a massive improvement in different business processes due to AI.
In manufacturing, AI-powered predictive maintenance can minimize downtime, ensuring seamless operations. These enhancements aren’t about replacing humans but enabling them to do more and do better.
The Impact of AI on Jobs: The Concerns and Challenges
From the positives and range of opportunities AI presents for the job market, let’s move towards the fears, challenges, and concerns. While the technology promises efficiency and novel opportunities, it brings concerns that could redefine the fabric of the Indian workplace. Acknowledging these challenges is the first step toward navigating the evolving landscape of employment in the age of AI.
Will AI displace just the monotonous and repetitive jobs?
One of the first arguments favoring AI is that it would displace only such jobs that inherently include a high probability of human errors or are repetitive. This is true to a large extent. In India, sectors like banking, where tasks like data entry and basic customer service can be automated, face a real threat. Call centers, a significant employment sector in cities like Bangalore and Noida, might experience considerable shifts. However, it’s essential to remember that while some jobs may phase out, new roles emerge, necessitating a proactive approach to reskilling and upskilling.
AI and ethical/security challenges
AI’s decision-making processes, often termed “black boxes,” can sometimes be quite cryptic, leading to ethical dilemmas. For instance, if an AI tool used in HR for recruitment exhibits bias, it can lead to unfair hiring practices. On the security front, as Indian companies adopt AI, they become attractive targets for cyber-attacks.
Protecting AI-driven systems becomes paramount, given the volume of data they handle and the potential societal implications of breaches.
Preparing the Future Workforce: Integrating AI in Education
With the AI-driven transformation of the workplace, there’s a dire need to ensure the workforce is prepared for the present and future. With its vast youth population, India holds immense potential, but tapping into it requires revamping education and continuous training. It is critical that there are significant changes in the existing curriculums, and AI is not just restricted to studies and careers related to Computer Science. Every discipline and sector must include AI as a training and education component.
Making the curriculum AI-ready
Educational institutions across India are beginning to recognize AI’s significance and incorporate it into curricula. There’s a surge in AI-focused courses and specializations, from IITs to local engineering colleges. Additionally, initiatives like the “National Programme on AI” by the Indian government aim to foster AI research and innovation. Still, the pace of change demands agility in curriculum design, ensuring students are industry-ready upon graduation. Further, ensuring that the AI curriculum is infused in disciplines beyond science and technology, such as commerce, business, math, and even linguistics, is equally critical.
The need for continuous learning and upgradation
Companies across India are investing in continuous training programs, ensuring their employees remain at the forefront of AI advancements. Platforms like Coursera and UpGrad, popular in India, offer courses in AI, data science, and machine learning, catering to professionals seeking to upskill. Through workshops and seminars, collaborations between industry and academia further bridge the gap, ensuring a seamless transition and application of knowledge in real-world scenarios.
What does the future hold?
It is critical to acknowledge the fact that AI is here forever as technological advancements only move in a single, forward direction. As India pushes forward, AI’s challenges and opportunities must be balanced with foresight, strategy, and collaboration.
For AI to flourish and benefit all, it must be integrated into organizational cultures. Companies such as Infosys and Wipro are leading the way, emphasizing AI-driven innovations while promoting ethical AI use. Encouraging cross-disciplinary collaboration, emphasizing human-machine partnerships, and fostering environments where continuous learning is the norm are the stepping stones towards a harmonious AI-driven workplace in India.
With its vast potential and challenges, the AI wave undeniably reshapes India’s employment landscape. Yet, as history has shown, adaptability is a hallmark of progress. By embracing change, fostering education, and ensuring robust policies, India can not only navigate the AI revolution but also emerge as a global frontrunner. The future of work, illuminated by the beacon of AI, holds promise and potential for all who dare to innovate and adapt.
Q1: What percentage of employees globally fear AI might take their jobs?
A1: Around 69% of employees globally are concerned about AI replacing their roles.
Q2: How is the AI landscape in India described in terms of growth?
A2: India’s AI sector is projected to surpass $4.10 billion this financial year, with a CAGR close to 20% up to 2030.
Q3: Has AI created new job roles in India?
A3: AI has introduced roles like AI Ethics Officer, Chatbot Content Creator, and AI-driven User Experience Designer.
Q4: What challenges does AI bring to jobs in India?
A4: AI might displace repetitive jobs, and its “black box” nature can pose ethical and security issues.
Q5: How is India preparing its future workforce for AI?
A5: India is integrating AI in education, with institutions offering AI-focused courses and companies investing in continuous training.