Despite the benefits of adopting digital technologies, the move could also potentially cause job losses. One-fifth (21 percent) of the GCIO Forum delegates shared that they intend to use artificial intelligence (AI) or cognitive computing (21 percent) in their organisations in the next five years. "While [these technologies] may not be able to execute human intelligence, they can execute [certain] jobs very well so some jobs will definitely be lost," said Leong Mun Kew, deputy director, Institute of Systems Science, National University of Singapore.
Supporting Leong, Boonson Jenchaimahakoon, senior executive vice president, IT, Government Savings Bank, Thailand, said that in future, his company may only need one-tenth of the current workforce - the rest of the jobs will be done by machine learning/AI to reduce operational costs.
However, this does not mean that there will be a lack of jobs. Instead, there will be a lot of new jobs available but in order to take up those jobs, people will need to be reskilled, asserted Prashant Agarwal, director of EDGE (Group Innovation), AIA.
According to Prof Steven Miller, vice-provost (research) of Singapore Management University, it could take a decade before we see a significant number of existing jobs being replaced by robots/AI and for business processes to change. He also assured delegates that similar to the steam engine, electrification and computerisation eras, the digital era in future will eventually lead to increased employment, improved productivity and better income distribution.
You might also be interested in other stories from GCIO Forum 2017:
- Public-private partnerships key enabler of digital governments
- Denmark goes digital to better support its ageing population
- Estonia showcases the advantages of a digital society
- Will AI kill jobs
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