The reality of automation is closer than we think. In fact, it’s already here.
61% of Malaysians said in a poll that they’ve already felt the effects of automation in their jobs. That figure tops even Singapore, Hong Kong, China and Japan!
No need to feel threatened
But automation isn’t what most people make it out to be, what, with depictions of citizens rendered jobless and haywire robots taking over the world. In fact, the rise in AI and automation (which aren’t the same thing!) will actually create new jobs!
Automation and AI won’t necessarily be making most jobs redundant. Rather than replacing jobs, it will be replacing tasks. That means less monotonous, repetitive work which eats up valuable time. The very nature of the workforce will change to become a whole lot more productive and efficient.
So while that may mean the possible redundancy of repetitive, manual-based positions both blue and white collar alike, (drivers and data entry clerks for example, are jobs at risk of automation), new industries and positions are set to arise. Just that with the intervention of such advanced technology, the benchmark will be raised even higher.
According to the World Economic Forum’s The Future of Jobs 2018, these are a few of the industries most affected by automation.
1. Customer Service
Hospitality, healthcare and finance. Chatbots are ubiquitous in every sector involving customer interaction - which is well, every one. From providing technical support solutions to responding to Facebook enquiries, the role of chatbots in customer service reaches far and wide. They never need a day off, only require a one-time investment and will always put your customer first.
Though automation and AI can undoubtedly replace and even diminish the need for emails and phone calls, customer service is still very much a sector rooted in empathy. 66% of B2B and 52% of B2C customers stopped buying after a bad customer service interaction.
So even though advances in AI emotional intelligence can enable chatbots to detect nuances in emotion, they lack the skills to negotiate in complicated situations. For now, they’re better off handling low-level elementary queries and working hand-in-hand with humans.
2. Media and Journalism
Common knowledge dictates that careers leaning towards the more creative end of the spectrum are safer from AI. But turns out, media and journalism is a major contender for one of the industries most affected by automation.
Amazingly, a language model developed by OpenAI is capable of generating its own text to form complete full length articles after given a prompt.
Sure, there are plenty of gaps to be found in the legitimacy and prose of the AI-written text, but it’s safe to say that in some cases, the writing can hardly be distinguished between that of one written by a human!
Fact-focused text have already been put under the responsibility of “robot reporters”. Bloomberg, Reuters and The Guardian are already using AI to comb through data, analyze them and present them as required in financial reports and sports journalism.
3. Administrative and Support Services
There’s no escape for the administrative sector from becoming an AI-fueled one. But is there anything wrong with that? Much of administrative work is already revolved around software-based systems, and corporates spend a lot of time on non-revenue generating tasks like scheduling meetings, calendar management, document preparation - you name it.
No doubt, every single task listed above already has a well-funded startup to help facilitate the issue. For an even more all-inclusive route, AI assistants as well aren’t foreign to most of us. (Hi, Cortana/Alexa!)
4. Accounting and Audit
The accounting industry has seen waves of automation and machine learning in the past few years. You could say it’s pretty much the new normal. A look through the forefront of current software accounting providers and aspects of its use can be seen in various features, or most likely at the very heart of the software.
Cloud accounting software Xero for example, features automated bank reconciliation and invoice coding to help shoulder some of the burden for accountants. Tapping into such technology has an extremely broad range of uses, and it’d be a shame not to use it to facilitate functions like fraud detection and revenue forecasting.
No, don’t expect aluminium figures in suits to be representing anyone in court anytime soon. Rather, expect much greater productivity and efficiency for professionals in the legal sector.
Litigators will be able to perform the arduous task of due diligence with help from AI tools.
Litigation software LitiGate for example, matches patterns in documents with past cases and scans through contracts to extract only the essentials needed for the case.
So despite studies like this one by Deloitte which states that 39% of current legal professions will be lost in the next 20 years, it doesn’t mean that different types of opportunities won’t be in demand.
The future isn’t bleak though
Despite all this talk of “AI is coming for our jobs”, there’s probably no need to fear that your job is at risk of automation/AI.
What it will do though, is complement the workforce, take over the repetitive duties and allow us to really chow down on the meat of the work.
Still not automating your business’s accounting processes?
Mahzan Sulaiman helps businesses stay on top of their accounting game by staying forward-thinking and leveraging on available technology. Hence, we’re proud to be a Gold Partner of Xero (that cloud based accounting software we mentioned earlier!)
Redefine the way you do your accounts, or just leave it to us! Tell us what you need help with here.