AI and robotics experts will be the most sought after professionals in 2018

A lot of people have inhibitions regarding artificial intelligence taking over the world, and inevitably their jobs. And we’ve been seeing that in almost every sector. For example, a lot of jobs that were previously being done by humans are now increasingly becoming automated, and AI – like it or hate it – seems to be the way forward for many industries. But quite contrary to our fears, the increased adoption of AI, machine learning and the Internet of Things (IoT) in business strategies and analytics will only increase jobs for human beings, according to recruitment experts.

Human resource and search experts estimate that the AI buzz could generate a 50-60 percent higher demand for AI and robotics professionals in 2018, even as machines will take over repetitive manual work. What this means is, although AI-assisted machines will be taking over repetitive jobs – for example assembling smartphone components – the people who make these machines work need not worry about losing their jobs.

“Machines are taking over repetitive tasks. Robotics, AI, big data and analytics will be competencies that will be in great demand,” said Shakun Khanna, senior director at Oracle for the Asia-Pacific region.

According to estimates by Belong, a recruitment startup which helps clients search for and hire AI professionals, jobs in the IoT ecosystem have grown fourfold in the last three years alone. The jobs are related to engagement technologies and data capture among other areas.

The demand for professionals in the field of data analytics, including data scientists, has grown by almost 76 percent over the past few years.

A report by Economic Times (ET) says that the demand for AI processionals is at entry level as well as in the middle and senior ranks across sectors such as business, financial services and insurance (BSFI), e-commerce, start-ups, BPOs, IT, pharmaceuticals, healthcare and retail.

“Robotics is required by process-oriented companies for a better customer experience. It helps in cutting down cost and improves efficiency,” the report quotes Thammaiah BN, Managing Director, Kelly Services India, as saying

“AI is helping companies to be in spaces so far not thought of. Organisations can accomplish new things, new products and services through AI,” he added.

However, experts also stress that there is an acute shortage of AI talent in the country across the industry.

According to the Belong Talent Supply Index, there is a mismatch between the demand and supply of candidates AI roles related to natural language processing (NLP), deep learning, and machine learning.

The Index says the ratio of the number of people to jobs in deep learning is 0.53, while for machine learning it’s 0.63 and for NLP it’s 0.71.

According to Rishab Kaul, a co-founder of Belong, only 4 percent of AI professionals in India have worked on cutting-edge technologies such as deep learning and neural networks, the key ingredients in building advanced AI-related solutions.

He is of the opinion that Indian colleges do not typically teach the different facets of AI as part of their formal learning program. Only a few prestigious academic institutions such as the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Kharagpur and Kanpur, the Indian Institute of Information Technology (IIIT) in Hyderabad and the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) in Bengaluru offer specialised courses in AI and machine learning.

But, there’s not much that we can boast about as the research by Belong says, “less than 2 percent of professionals who call themselves data scientists or data engineers have a PhD in AI-related technologies.”

Meanwhile, ET report also says that the current demand for AI talent is so high that top-business schools, including the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) are all set to include AI and machine learning in their curriculum from next year. The report says that IIMs in Bangalore and Kozhikode and premier B-Schools like the SP Jain Institute of Management & Research (SPJIMR) are offering courses on AI, robotics and IoT that can be connected to business strategy to enhance performance, output and customer experience.

However, the increased demand for AI professionals and the increasing adoption of machines and robots in all sectors from banking to retail, may be beneficial to the people who are seeking to get a degree or certification in the field, but it does raise a question about how it is going to help the “human worker” whose job is at the risk of being taken over by “machines.”

Courtesy: International Business Times