2. Artificial Intelligence (Cognitive Computing) has arrived and will add to the disruption and create a huge need for skill training
The concept of AI has been around for over 50 years but it is only now with the advent of deep learning made possible by huge amounts of data, cloud based computing and low cost storage that pattern, image and voice recognition has reached a point where their capability is growing exponentially.
If you use Google Translate you will find that in the last few months it has advanced more than it did since it was launched years ago due to AI. From Amazon Echo to Watson Cognitive Computing, AI is the new frontier of technology and it will drive a huge increase in automation which will impact jobs as much as off shoring did.
This reality caused every AI conversation in Davos to constantly focus on the impact on jobs. IBM’s CEO recently published an internal manifesto on AI which focused on terms such as purpose and transparency and noted her belief that IBM wants to augment versus replace jobs. For instance, IBM Watson today which has been trained on 18 Million documents helps doctors make better decisions for Cancer patients because only a machine can imbibe the 8000 new papers being published daily in Oncology.
Major questions arise on AI, where the machine learns on data, as to who trained the machine and what data was used. Just like you and I come out differently depending on what our experiences have been an AI machine will reason differently depending on how it was trained!
Can an AI machine make a blue collar worker now do white collar work by helping them up-skill? Or will they lose their jobs? Will an AI trained person be a “new collar” worker? Long before driverless cars, it is these reasoning/seeing/speaking computers that all of us will have to be contended with.
Therefore even after attempting to keeping the immigrants out and putting up barriers to trade, we will find that computing progress will challenge employment and will require a major investment in skill development to keep people working. Education will be critical but a new type of hands on skill versus four-year college will be required.