opic: Information Technology-caused Job Loss
Stance: IT is now posing a serious threat to our society: long-term job loss
Primary causes of job loss: AI and machine learning
6 pages of content
At least 8 scholarly references (journal or white paper)
At least 4 non-scholarly references
At least 3 legal cases or incidents related to topic
Must include potential law/policies about the topic
Paper written in the following sections/order: abstract, intro, background of the issue, impacts of the issue, ethical issue viewpoints, importance in IT, the issue’s ideal outcome, concl / summary, works cited
Information Technology has Caused Job Loss
New technology has led to significant changes throughout the history of humankind, and during the Industrial Revolution, automobiles replaced animals such as horses for transport. Today, technologies such as artificial intelligence and information technology have automated most of the tasks performed by human beings in various industries such as transportation, finance, manufacturing, and retail, among others. Such automation has eliminated the importance of human input and has increased efficiency and reduced costs, and most companies have resorted to these technologies in an attempt to maximize profits. Consequently, millions of workers have lost jobs throughout the world. The current paper examines the impact of artificial intelligence or machine learning, including job loss and incidents related to this technology. In addition, the ethics and laws governing artificial intelligence as well as the impact of artificial intelligence on information technology have been comprehensively discussed. The paper’s stance is a rapid change in technology, including information technology, has been destroying jobs faster than it is creating them.
Keywords: Technology, Artificial Intelligence, Information Technology, Job Loss
Information Technology has Caused Job Loss
During the Industrial Revolution era, new technologies resulted in some significant changes such as automobiles replacing horses and other animals used for transport. Additionally, most industrial activities changed from manual to automation (Frank et al., 2019). During the Industrial Revolution, millions of people became unemployed and their jobs were rendered obsolete by the invention of machines. There is a consensus among economists that although new technologies can provide long-term solutions to most of the current problems, they can also lead to the disappearance of some job opportunities, a phenomenon known as displacement. However, some economist does not agree with job loss statistics related to long-term automation, indicating that new technologies have played a crucial role in improving the quality of human lives, including the creation of millions of jobs. They argue that new technologies create ample jobs for people with proper training in various technological sectors (Frank et al., 2019). Currently, artificial intelligence, automation, and worldwide digital communication networks serve as an empowering platform for unprecedented innovations. With new technology, customers can get cheap goods, the production process has become less tedious, and levels of personalization have significantly improved. Nonetheless, this unprecedented new era of progress also poses a number of challenges and uncertainties, particularly when it comes to the creation and loss of jobs (Deggans et al., 2019). Millions of jobs worldwide and especially in the developed countries have been lost because of artificial intelligence and automation (Bruun & Duka, 2018). For instance, in the United States, machines such as robots are responsible for a large chunk of the country’s annual GDP. The current paper argues that rapid change in technology, including information technology has been destroying jobs faster than it is creating them.
A study by Brookings Institution indicates that over 25% of jobs in the United States are bound to experience significant disruption as a result of automation resulting from artificial intelligence and machine learning (Muro, 2019). This figure is equivalent to over 36 million jobs in 2016, suggesting that more jobs are at high risk of being displaced by automation. The same study suggests that about 36% of American workers have their jobs at risk due to medium-level exposure to the current disruptive technologies, while 39% are estimated to experience low-level exposure by 2030 (Muro, 2019). PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) indicates that more than 37% of employees in the US are worried that they may directly lose their jobs to automation. Rapid changes occurring in the robotics and artificial intelligence reveal that both uneducated and educated individuals are at a high risk of losing jobs to automation. Nevertheless, the same study by PWC found that nearly 73% of participants believed that technology will never replace human minds fully (Hawksworth, Berriman & Goel, 2018). The findings of another study carried out in 2018 by PWC point out that storage, finance, manufacturing, and transportation sectors face the highest risk of becoming automated. The automation in these industries is expected to happen in three overlapping phases that will have different levels of impact on various operations. Industries such as financial services are bound to experience a massive threat from what is referred to as algorithm wave, where advanced algorithms are predicted to outperform humans on various business aspects such as pure data analysis (Hawksworth, Berriman & Goel, 2018). Other sectors such as transportation and storage are bound to be highly automated where information technology will take over most of the tasks performed by humans. Sectors such as construction, social work, and education are least likely to experience considerable automation and hence job replacement.
Impact of the Issue
Artificial Intelligence and machine learning are revolutionizing the IT technology at a great pace, which has resulted in the automation of their jobs in industries such as manufacturing, transport, and finance (Vochozka et al., 2018). Automation in these sectors has or will result in the loss of millions of jobs all over the world. The impact of artificial intelligence is already being experienced in the transportation industry, where fully autonomous motorcars are being produced. The proponents of these vehicles contend that cars operated using artificial intelligent systems are safer, more effective, and more efficient compared to those operated by human beings. Some of the current pressing issues in transportation include the high number of accidents, traffic congestions, fuel consumption, and pollution. The invention of cars that are safer, fewer pollution concerns, and not affected by traffic congestion is likely to attract consumers (Petropoulos, 2018). The automated cars mean that professional drivers, including trucks, buses, and taxi drivers will lose their jobs because the demand for their skills will drop rapidly.
Machine learning has started to have a profound impact on the electronic commerce sector, where fulfillment centers are becoming fully automated, with machines of different capacities navigating space to perform various tasks such as the collection of productions and execution of customer orders (Petropoulos, 2018; Su, 2018). In some sectors, robots are being used to deliver products to customers automatically. As Dahlin (2019) posits, robots are likely to complement human efforts in some sectors in future. Consequently, the importance of a network of physical stores and salespersons is shrinking every day. Also, some scenarios where consumer intelligence agents negotiating with retailer artificial intelligence agents based on various tactics, strategies and objectives will be common in the future, eliminating the need for a salesperson or a physical store (Webb, 2019). This will lead to loss of jobs in various retail companies such as Amazon, Walmart, and big hotels, among others.
Financial and insurance services will be highly impacted by artificial intelligence and machine learning (Webb, 2019). These sectors require massive amounts of data processing and content handling. Various banks, government, insurance companies, and corporates are exposed to experience greater impact. Artificial intelligence has started eliminating bureaucracy in a bid to improve service delivery to customers (Ernst, Merola & Samaan, 2019). Machines with high processing power and with the ability to perform various tasks performed by financial professionals are being invented, which is posing a serious threat to these groups of experts (Frank et al., 2019; Ernst, Merola & Samaan, 2019). With these machines, banks and other financial institutions can process a huge amount of data that will substantially minimize operating costs. Although the idea is beneficial to these institutions, it will result in the loss of millions of jobs.
Incidents Related to Artificial Intelligence
In recent times, several incidents related to artificial intelligence have emerged revealing that this form of technology may not be able to replace the human role in various sectors. For instance, Microsoft created a new system with artificial intelligence called Chatbot to automatically reply and engage with people online in a casual and playful conversation (Victor, 2016). The system was designed to improve its ability to writing more naturally and holding better conversations as it chatted with more people. When people learned this, they corrupted Chatbot by flooding it with misogynist, anti-Semitic, and deluge of racist tweets. Thus, the system was considered a channel of spreading terrifying ideologies.
Another notable artificial intelligence incidence is when Amazon axed its artificial intelligence system for recruiting, indicating that engineers who created it trained the system to be misogynistic (Dastin, 2018). The company intended to use an intelligent system that would help them in the recruitment process in selecting top resumes among thousands within a very short time. Nevertheless, it was realized later that the system was biased and was trained that male candidates were better than their female counterparts.
Lastly, there have been a number of incidents involving autonomous cars such as a self-driving Uber vehicle, killing a woman in Arizona and killing of a test driver in semiautonomous care created by Tesla in 2018 (Careaga, 2018). Although autonomous vehicles fitted with artificial technology are considered a hundred percent safe, these incidences prove that they are also prone to accidents that can claim lives.
Ethical and Legal Issues Related to Artificial Intelligence
Although the proponents of artificial intelligence machines argue that they will greatly improve the quality of life, there are several ethical issues related to these machines. Autonomous machines do not require human being guidance and are trusted to perform various duties on their own. The main question arising from this scenario is who will be held responsible when a machine malfunctions? Is it possible to punish a machine? Some people may argue that the companies and individuals who make them should be held accountable. Nevertheless, the manufacturer of such machines may mount an argument that these systems are autonomous, capable of making their own decisions. Such questions indicate that machines cannot replace human beings fully (Magrani, 2019). Another ethical issue arising from the use of intelligent machines is whether artificial intelligence systems will be able to generate benefits for humans that will outweigh the costs. From a personal point of view, artificial intelligence systems will create more problems because people around the world working in various sectors will lose their jobs, which will lead to an employment crisis. Many people will resort to crimes and the overall impact of artificial intelligence systems will be negative (Magrani, 2019). Another ethical issue related to artificial systems is that most people will not be in a position to understand what information algorithms use to make certain decisions, which can result in customers making poor choices while purchasing goods.
Various laws have been devised to regulate artificial intelligence (Levy, 2018). They include the National Defense Authorization Act of 2019, which directs the department of defense to carry out several activities concerning artificial intelligence (Soares et al., 2019). This Act has several subsections, including subsection (b) that gives the secretary of Defense the authority of appointing a coordinator to oversee activities of the Department concerning artificial intelligence and machine learning. Subsection (g) provides different definitions of the term artificial intelligence (Soares et al., 2019). Another law governing artificial intelligence is a law enacted by Congress referred to as the Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Act of 2018, which periodically reviews the state of artificial intelligence in the Aviation industry and takes necessary steps to address new developments. A third law is the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act of 2015 that directs the Department of Transportation to finance research and development on various applications of autonomous cars, particularly those that lack traditional interior design elements, including steering wheels (Soares et al., 2019).
Importance in Information Technology
Artificial intelligence has positively impacted the field of information technology. Since information technology is all about software, computer and data transmission, artificial intelligence has played a crucial role in this sector (Chelliah, 2017). Through the use of artificial intelligence technology, it has become possible to automate information technology systems by making them intelligent enough to perform various tasks without the input of human beings (Bayón Pérez & Andrés, 2019). Artificial intelligence is converting computers into intelligent machines that can perform various tasks such as data analysis, transporting people or cargo and manufacturing goods. Moreover, using artificial intelligence, computers can analyze access permissions more effectively, which has massively improved data security. While these changes have had a positive impact on the information technology sector, they have resulted or potentially led to massive job loss in different industries such as the financial sector, transportation, data analysis and manufacturing, especially for individuals performing IT-related tasks.
Technology is revolutionizing the manner in which humans perform different tasks, and automation has led to some duties being executed exclusively by machines. Consequently, companies in various sectors such as manufacturing, financial, transportation, and retail industries have resorted to employing technologies such as a combination of artificial intelligence and information technology to automate various operations in an attempt to minimize costs. This has led to millions of employees all over the world losing their jobs to automation. In addition, artificial intelligence has posed several legal and ethical issues, which must be solved if the technology is to be fully embraced.
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