Instead of eating jobs, AI will bring people and tech together

A majority of executives agree that the technology will create more jobs

A boy plays a video game in an exhibition area on artificial intelligent (AI) technology at the Baidu World conference in Beijing, China, on Thursday, Nov. 1, 2018. Baidu showcased its artificial intelligence advancements and unveiled new products at the event. Photographer: Giulia Marchi/Bloomberg
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Business leaders around the world are optimistic that there will be more opportunities for workers to use artificial intelligence (AI), a counterargument to the common concern that the technology is going to make many jobs obsolete, a new report finds.

A majority of executives agree that workers will use AI to complete tasks in the coming years and they are confident that the technology will create new jobs, Fujitsu said.

"AI will be an enabler … it will help people to focus on more constructive tasks," David Gentle, director of foresight and strategy at Fujitsu, told The National.

The Japanese technology company's Global Digital Transformation Survey 2018 asked 1,535 executives at large and mid-sized companies from transportation, healthcare and manufacturing, among others, about their forward-looking view of AI implementation.

AI helps machines or devices to think and react like humans and interpret emotions. AI-enabled devices can even predict the future by taking into account simple gestures like speech, facial impressions and hand movements, or by reviewing stacks of data in just seconds.

Among the companies surveyed, almost all (97 per cent) of the online companies have planned, tested and implemented digital transformation projects. Whereas only 67 per cent of the non-online companies have yet started on the digital transformation journey.

“AI technology is quite disruptive in nature and it will automate very basic and time consuming parts of the whole processes or jobs. We have already started seeing the results. Countries like the UK, China that are currently the frontrunners will capitalise further,” Mr Gentle said.


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Adding brains to machines, Middle East companies embrace AI


The UAE economy, the Arabian Gulf’s second largest, is forecast to grow the most in the region as a result of AI adoption, with this cutting-edge technology expected to contribute up to 14 per cent to the country’s GDP – equivalent to Dh352.5 billion – by 2030, according to a report by PwC.

"This can be seen in the various government e-portals that have been deployed over the years, as well as the more recent upswing in the production of mobile apps that connect the citizenry to their government services 24-7," Necip Ozyucel, cloud and enterprise group lead at Microsoft Gulf, told The National.

The UAE will be followed by Saudi Arabia, where AI is expected to contribute 12.4 per cent to GDP, 8.2 per cent in the GCC-4 – Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar – and 7.7 per cent in Egypt. By comparison, the contribution of AI to China’s GDP will be 26.1 per cent and 14.5 per cent in North America by 2030.

Industry experts believe that government agencies across the GCC have been quick compared to global counterparts to adopt AI solutions to enhance public services and better the lives of citizens and residents.