Artificial Intelligence

Debunked: 8 myths about AI's effect on the workplace

The Robot Assistant NAO, from SoftBank Robotics, is pictured in Paris, France, March 9, 2018. Picture taken March 9, 2018. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau

From job losses to productivity. Image: REUTERS/Regis Duvignau

Jeff Desjardins
Founder and editor, Visual Capitalist
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Artificial Intelligence

The interplay between technology and work has always been a hot topic.

While technology has typically created more jobs than it has destroyed on a historical basis, this context rarely stops people from believing that things are “different” this time around.

In this case, it’s the potential impact of artificial intelligence (AI) that is being hotly debated by the media and expert commentators. Although there is no doubt that AI will be a transformative force in business, the recent attention on the subject has also led to many common misconceptions about the technology and its anticipated effects.

Disproving common myths about AI

Today’s infographic comes to us from Raconteur and it helps paint a clearer picture about the nature of AI, while attempting to debunk various myths about AI in the workplace.

Image: Raconteur

AI is going to be a seismic shift in business – and it’s expected to create a $15.7 trillion economic impact globally by 2030.

But understandably, monumental shifts like this tend to make people nervous, resulting in many unanswered questions and misconceptions about the technology and what it will do in the workplace.

Demystifying myths

Here are the eight debunked myths about AI:

1. Automation will completely displace employees
Truth: 70% of employers see AI in supporting humans in completing business processes. Meanwhile, only 11% of employers believe that automation will take over the work found in jobs and business processes to a “great extent”.

2. Companies are primarily interested in cutting costs with AI
Truth: 84% of employers see AI as obtaining or sustaining a competitive advantage, and 75% see AI as a way to enter into new business areas. 63% see pressure to reduce costs as a reason to use AI.

3. AI, machine learning, and deep learning are the same thing
Truth: AI is a broader term, while machine learning is a subset of AI that enables “intelligence” by using training algorithms and data. Deep learning is an even narrower subset of machine learning inspired by the interconnected neurons of the brain.

4. Automation will eradicate more jobs than it creates
Truth: At least according to one recent study by Gartner, there will be 1.8 million jobs lost to AI by 2020 and 2.3 million jobs created. How this shakes out in the longer term is much more debatable.

5. Robots and AI are the same thing
Truth: Even though there is a tendency to link AI and robots, most AI actually works in the background and is unseen (think Amazon product recommendations). Robots, meanwhile, can be “dumb” and just automate simple physical processes.

6. AI won’t affect my industry
Truth: AI is expected to have a significant impact on almost every industry in the next five years.

7. Companies implementing AI don’t care about workers
Truth: 65% of companies pursuing AI are also investing in the reskilling of current employees.

8. High productivity equals higher profits and less employment
Truth: AI and automation will increase productivity, but this could also translate to lower prices, higher wages, higher demand, and employment growth.

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Artificial IntelligenceFuture of WorkEducation
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