The Artificial Intelligence Revolution
ATLANTA, GA / ACCESSWIRE / July 16, 2021 / We have been chipping away at developing artificial intelligence technology for decades, but its range of uses and seemingly limitless potential have only recently become common knowledge.
Before the COVID-19 outbreak, artificial intelligence was a luxury that made organizations more efficient at menial or time-consuming tasks. The most common consumer-facing applications of AI technology were eCommerce related, facilitating the purchase of goods and services with minimal friction and human interaction. For example, many eCommerce hubs have used AI and machine learning to replace human positions, which has proven cheaper for the company and often more convenient for consumers. Other, more lofty applications met resistance due to a lack of need and distrust for machine learning. However, when the pandemic struck and it became dangerous for humans to come into contact with one another, the situation proved perfect to test new emergent AI capabilities to keep people safe. As a part of the pandemic emergency response, the world prioritized developing solutions that could keep workers safe while maintaining productivity. Through its use, AI mitigated the risk of exposure to the virus and saved many lives.
“The coronavirus pandemic allowed AI developers to test their technology in a new way that provided immediate and in-demand value and feedback,” notes Dee Agarwal,entrepreneur, and c-suite business executive in the eCommerce space. “Never has there been a more pressing need for the benefits that artificial intelligence technology provides.”
How was AI used throughout the pandemic?
When the virus was identified and its spread needed to be monitored across the globe, AI and machine learning were used to help track the spread of COVID-19.
New facial recognition tools were used to detect the movement of people from impacted areas. AI health screening aids were used to collect bio-data, specifically body temperature, to identify carriers of the virus. Finally, machine learning algorithms were used to forecast the scale of the infection in specific regions by accounting for exposure to infected individuals.
“During the pandemic, machine learning provided in-depth risk analysis and deep data insights to inform world leaders on the best course of action to contain and manage the spread of the virus,” says Dee Agarwal. “This level of monitoring would have been impossible without the enablement of AI.”
Other than medical and monitoring uses, AI was applied across multiple industries where humans once played a primary role throughout the pandemic. For example, toll booths, hospital jobs, cleaning services, airport personnel functions that had previously relied on humans to operate were replaced by machines to reduce the spread of the virus. By replacing humans with AI, it became evident that this was a viable and efficient way to replace expensive human labor.
Unfortunately, for many, some of the jobs lost during the pandemic are unlikely to return to their pre-pandemic status once all is said and done. One group of economists estimate that approximately 42% of lost jobs during the pandemic will not be recovered – at least not in the same capacity.
While this is less than ideal for many in service-oriented positions, this deeper integration and a broader scope of capabilities for AI allow us to free up time for humans to take over more highly skilled and higher-paying jobs.
“This situation is remarkably similar to what we observed during the industrial revolution,” explains Dee Agarwal. “When new machines and automation meant that we didn’t need as many manual laborers, demand for these roles was replaced by a need for skilled operators to manage these machines that made business operations significantly more efficient. In the same way, the AI revolution will make way for new opportunities and increase the demand for skilled workers.”
While this shift has negatively impacted many, it is essential to note that this new business trend was already on the horizon for many industries. “AI has been a priority for decades. This revolution would have happened eventually, regardless of the pandemic; however, the COVID crisis expedited the process,” posits Dee Agarwal.
What does the future of jobs look like with the deep integration of AI?
Love it or hate it, AI technology is not going anywhere. In fact, we will likely continue to see companies move towards artificial intelligence and machine learning as it becomes more accessible and inexpensive. “As long as technology can complete the job as efficiently as a human, and at a lower rate, companies will continue to displace human roles with machines,” says Dee Agarwal. “This means it will become necessary for workers to acquire in-demand skills.”
Money is often a barrier for many in their pursuit of higher education or acquiring high-paying skills. Learning and certification courses available through platforms like Coursera and Skillshare are great options for anyone seeking affordable ways to expand their knowledge and skill set. For a small monthly subscription fee, users gain access to digital classes teaching highly lucrative skills, such as accounting and finance, web development, coding, and design.
For more information from Dee Agarwal about business shifts resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, read Health and Wellness Entrepreneur Discusses Emerging Technologies in the Pandemic.
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SOURCE: Dee Agarwal
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