AI, Big data, Automation,
“Career Is Over.” That is what people jokingly said CIO stood for when I took my first CIO position years ago. The CIO role has changed a lot, its profile and impact have never been higher but as I wrote this week on CIO.com, the job is becoming about eliminating other people’s jobs.
For the first few decades, the CIO role focused on empowering employees to be more productive. With the internet, that continued but the focus started to shift to making customers more self-reliant.
Today the role is focused on automation potential that has been unlocked by machine learning, big data, analytics, IoT, robotics and other technologies.
AI is the new frontier in technology development and it goes together with job destruction or replacement. The September report by PwC, ‘Workforce for the Future’ showed that typical ladder-climbing careers fields were on the decline. The culprits, robots and AI. I also read in a study that was conducted by Oxford University, that 47% of all jobs in the US would be replaced by robots within the next two decades.
In a relatively few number of years we have seen AI learned to play chess, master instruments, create art, drive cars and even write code. But why did they get so smart suddenly?
Moore’s law states that hardware doubles in power every couple of years and this growth is exponential. Practical AI applications were unimpressive during the first couple of decades, but by 2025, we will see tremendous improvement. A mere two decades after that, we will witness the first human-level AI.
Celebrities like Elon Musk and Bill Gates are expressing alarm or machine learning news coverage that references Skynet from the Terminator films.
CIOs need to frame automation investments in such a way that it sounds less hostile than what it really is. For innovative technologies to develop, and in particular AI, jobs need to be destroyed to free up resources and make way for new development.
CIOs will need to lead here. Automation can be transformative for organizations that take the lead and disastrous for those who choose to follow. Major executives will get on board because automation will solve problems they never thought possible and unlock massive economic value. Gartner estimates that AI will create over $2.5 trillion USD in economic value few years.
The cost of this progress, unfortunately, will be dire. An Oxford-Yale survey hinted at a disappearance of all routine-type jobs by 2030.
By 2060 most jobs will have been impacted by automation. It might sound like something out of a movie, but the stark reality is that it is coming, whether we like it or not.
Michael Zammuto is the CEO of Completed.com and Cloud Commerce and a strategic adviser to several startups. Mike's background is in SaaS services, B2C sites and B2B firms and has worked extensively in online reputation, digital marketing and branding.