​AI specialists: The future is bright

As more companies use artificial intelligence and related tech, the need for AI specialists continues to increase. Experts also discuss the fear that AI will eliminate jobs for humans.

​AI specialists: The future is bright As more companies use artificial intelligence and related tech, the need for AI specialists continues to increase. Experts also discuss the fear that AI will eliminate jobs for humans.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and related technologies are changing the nature of work across the globe. The number of available jobs associated with the technology are increasing every year. I spoke with Sarah Stoddard of Glassdoor, about the promising future for those interested in AI. I also talked with ZDNet's Tiernan Ray about some of the ways the technology is currently being used. The following is an edited version of our interviews.

Sarah: Finance companies, retail companies, lots of industries are needing AI specialists so it's exciting and we're seeing a big impact on jobs and likely see AI make a really big impact across the US in all industries in the future.

Karen: It's hard to find an industry these days that hasn't worked AI in-to some degree. ZDNet's Tiernan Ray says it's being widely adopted....and for good reason.

Tiernan: It makes sense you see the pattern going on where you don't need a human being doing manual labor interfacing with a computer system like a spreadsheet. Or let's say all the bank infrastructure like check processing when all of that can be automated so you have to think of human tasks that go to a higher level and are not only interfacing with a machine but coming up with creative ways to do things and new ways to look at stuff.

Karen: The ironic thing about AI is that many people fear it will ultimately take human jobs away. But many experts think it's just tasks that will be will taken on by AI...actually freeing up humans to do other less labor intensive things. And while amazing advances are taking place, Tiernan Ray explained to me that in manufacturing for instance, AI still isn't capable of what humans can accomplish.

SEE: Artificial intelligence: Trends, obstacles, and potential wins (Tech Pro Research)

Tiernan: On the manufacturing line, one single widget in a batch with a thousand may be defective and it's really hard to teach a computer what's wrong with that one single widget because the computer loves big data. So if it doesn't have a thousand examples of a bad product it's really hard but you can take an experienced shop floor manager and look at that single piece of defective product and they will immediately spot what's going on. So it's going to take a while to match certain analytical capabilities that match the eyes and ears of a person and use all of their experience the way their brain puts it all together.

Karen: So we know the future is very promising for AI and those that are interested in pursuing the field. Glassdoor points to a salary of nearly $110,000 as the average for an AI related job— that's more than double the median income in the US. If you're setting your sights on the industry, do your research to learn more.

Sarah: It's best to first understand what AI is like what the skills are exactly and what you are most passionate about. So if you are into data science you can work to take that extra step to specialize in AI by getting your college degree and possibly a bootcamp. You can create your own opportunities and projects honing in on those skills so by the time you're ready to apply for those jobs, you can be a standout candidate.

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By Karen Roby

Karen Roby is a reporter for TechRepublic. Prior to joining CBS Interactive, Karen worked as an anchor and reporter for several CBS affiliate stations owned by Hearst Communications and Gray Television.