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AI/BOTS: Artificial Intelligence’s Job Impact

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Robots are coming for your job! Run!

As more chatbots enter the enterprise arena, as well as the retail industry, for customer service needs, this concept has morphed from fantasy into reality.

Artificial intelligence (AI) has helped to swing the pendulum in favor of chatbots, along with other technology integrations, into a sweet spot that’s helping to likely streamline processes throughout retail.

Earlier this year at the National Retail Federation’s Big Show, the hot topic of debate was how chatbots can be beneficial to consumers if implemented in the correct way. Retail Systems Research’s Managing Partner, Nikki Baird, commented on this in a recent Forbes piece.

“Chatbots are here, and there will be a lot more of them in retail by the end of 2017,” said Baird. “But retailers need to be careful about how they embrace them. They need to give consumers options, and they need to make sure their labor model adapts to more bot-driven interactions, so consumers don’t get frustrated.”

Research, however, is suggesting that consumers are not only not bothered by robots, but that it’s the preferred method of interaction communication with retail brands. An Aspect Software Research survey confirmed that 44 percent of consumers would chose chatbots over humans if they was implemented in a decent fashion.

One of the more interesting stats comes from the point of view of the employee. While most people are becoming more concerned about the security of their job, Public Tableau’s data confirms 29 percent of U.S. customer service positions could be automated by chatbots in the not-so-distant future. This gives credence to the often-cited Gartner stat that 85 percent of business relationships with consumers will be managed with zero human interaction by the year 2020.

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Given this projection, along with Forrester’s recent study, it may be safe for people to keep this news in mind when choosing their college major and/or career path moving forward. By the year 2027, Forrester is predicting U.S. employment will see a 9.8 million reduction in jobs due to automation efforts. While this may give some cause for concern, Forrester’s Vice President and Principal Analyst J.P. Gownder recently shared his thoughts on how automation will impact the job market.

To get to the 9.8 million jobs lost to automation, Gownder provides an overview of how the job market will undergo a transformation in the coming years to get there. With the influx of new job fields, because of automation like computer programmers, there is set to be 14.9 million jobs added to the economy. Between now and 2027, however, there will be 24.7 million (17 percent) of jobs lost, stemming from the increasing pressures of manufacturing to produce more in a shorter period of time.

It doesn’t look like businesses will slow down their use of chatbots or other artificial intelligence-enabled avenues. Research from U.K.-based Juniper Research shows that AI is likely to provide huge savings to businesses, with an estimated $8 billion in savings annually by 2022. To give a sense of how huge of an impact this will have on the job market, AI is only saving businesses $20 million per year right now.

The nature of business is to continue to refine and streamline operations, so it may be safe to say that anyone in a position that could easily be automated should consider a career move in the not-too-distant future. While people’s jobs may seem like they’re not in danger at the moment, the research above clearly shows the economy is heading into an AI-based world where quality, speed and optimization are coveted.

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