Millennials, Smart Phones and Artificial Intelligence / Mark E. Manly

06/26/2019 — Download

I often hear complaints about how millennials are too tied to their smart devices. How will they be able to cope in the so-called “real” world when all they do with their time is play video games and post selfies? How will they support themselves? I’ve worried about my own children’s preoccupation with technology. But I’ve changed my thinking lately. I’ve come to realize that this generation is preparing itself, though perhaps unwittingly, for exactly the skills they will need as they enter the job force. We are already in the era of artificial intelligence, and the jobs that are going begging — indeed the kinds of jobs that will survive going forward — are rooted in technological competence. How well young people recognize the challenges and opportunities offered by these trends may well determine their success in navigating the transition.

Artificial Intelligence, or AI, promises to improve productivity by replacing humans with machines. Essentially, AI is about developing and employing intelligent software and systems based on how people use their minds — how they think, learn, make decisions, solve problems and so on. The machines learn how to “think” human-like through experience.

Estimates are AI will eliminate as many as 2 million jobs by as early as next year. And that’s just the beginning. At first blush eliminating all those jobs appears a path to economic disaster. But while jobs like burger flippers and assembly line workers are on the way out, a study by research and advisory firm Gartner contends AI will lead to the creation of 2.3 million new jobs over the same period.

“AI capabilities are in great demand across industries — gaming, robotics, face recognition software, weaponry, speech recognition, vision recognition, expert systems and search engines,” wrote Eshna Verma in an article titled, “Top 5 Jobs in AI and Key Skills Needed to Help You Land One” for a website called simplilearn.

Verma and others writing on the topic have identified a short list of the jobs in greatest demand. Her “Top 5” includes machine learning engineer, robotic scientist, data scientist, research scientist and business intelligence developer. These jobs already exist and are paying from upwards of $80,000 a year to more than $130,000.

A LinkedIn study adds sales development manager and customer success managers as occupations that will accompany access to AI platforms and insights.

Another study, published in the MIT Sloan Management Review, adds “trainers” (of AI systems, not people), “explainers” and “sustainers” to the list. Example titles include automation ethicists, evaluators of the non-economic impact of smart machines and automation economists — folks charged with evaluating the cost of poor machine performance.

AI extends human capabilities. For jobs in the months and years ahead, that likely means that business professionals will have access to unprecedented innovation, and the technology-capable will have a tremendous variety of new careers to choose from. That should be comforting to parents worried about how much time their kids are spending on their smart phones — just as our parents eventually learned that our preoccupations didn’t result in their world going to hell in a hand basket.

Of course, there is the concern over our technokids’ lack of social interaction. That’s
still high on my list. But then, that’s the subject for another article, another time and another writer.


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