AI began as a pursuit of human intelligence. The term itself is a representation of it.
Although most of that quest has drifted into one sub-area of AI, Machine Intelligence. To broadly state, most of the current machine learning projects have limited domain (individually) with a large amount of data. However, they execute relatively simple tasks and are not very creative.
Effectively, we have ended up creating machines that can solve some problems better than us, but they are nowhere close to us when it comes to “intelligence.” These AI-enabled machines are doing tasks that were being done before but in a more efficient manner.
However, this doesn’t mean that machines aren’t taking away our jobs by these kinds of AIs. To start off with, it will mostly be routine jobs that are going to be replaced. In the near future, it won’t be the entire workforce, but surely 50-80% of jobs in multiple domains are capable of being automated. This is a significant number to shake up the entire workforce.
When we think of routine jobs, there is a prevalent misconception that only blue-collared jobs like assembly lines or physical jobs that don’t require a high level of dexterity (like fruit picking and dishwashing) will get automated. However, it is likely that routine white-collar jobs are going to be automated.
Think of it, to replace white-collar workers, all you need is a piece of software but to replace a blue-collar worker; you need robotics, mechanical excellence, ability to deal with dexterity and the potential to navigate unknown environments.
Some of the white-collar jobs like back offices where basic search and management of data takes place can already be replaced by advanced ML tools. Tasks that don’t require strategic decision makings like dealing with new employee orientation, simple computer programming, and copy-pasting stuff, can be done by AI.
In the next 5 years, the number of jobs lost, both white and blue-collar will be modest. However, it will increase exponentially after that when the technology improves and adoption increases.