Watson AI Lab Releases Research on AI and the Future of Work

Watson AI Lab Releases Research on AI and the Future of Work

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IBM believes 100% of jobs will eventually change due to AI, and new research from the MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab reveals how. The research used advanced machine learning techniques to analyze 170 million online job postings in the United States between 2010 and 2017. It shows, in the early stages of AI adoption, how tasks of individual jobs are transforming and the impact on employment and wages.

"As new technologies continue to scale within businesses and across industries, it is our responsibility as innovators to understand not only the business process implications, but also the societal impact," said Martin Fleming, vice president and chief economist of IBM. "To that end, this empirical research from the MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab sheds new light on how tasks are reorganizing between people and machines as a result of AI and new technologies."

The overall demand for tasks that make up occupations are down between 2010 and 2017. Across more than 18,500 tasks, for each occupation, on average, workers were asked to perform 3.7 fewer tasks overall in 2017 than seven years earlier. Tasks that are more likely to be done by AI or machine learning are disappearing from employers' job requirements more often than those more likely to be done by a worker. The decreased task requirements may likely be due to employers seeking greater focus from workers and the early adoption of AI and machine learning, indicating a fundamental shift in the way work gets done.

As technology reduces the cost of some tasks, the value of the remaining tasks that make up an occupation increases. Tasks that are grounded in intellectual skill and insight as well as require, to some degree, physical flexibility, common sense, judgment, intuition, creativity, and spoken language have tended to increase in value. New technologies have just begun to transform work and while the rate and pace of change is slow now, it will likely accelerate as more AI solutions are adopted throughout the economy. Workers have time to adapt by learning or honing skills that require innovation, creative thinking, or deep insight and experience. Meanwhile, employers across all industries should begin to focus on reskilling their workforces, redesigning job roles and supporting career advancement.

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