Innovation

Report: 69% of executives say AI won't kill jobs

Early adopters of artificial intelligence and cognitive technologies say they are already seeing economic benefits, and predict job creation rather than loss.

Despite workforce fears, enterprise senior executives don't believe that the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) will lead to job loss, according to a new report from Deloitte, released Monday.

Some 69% of executives leading cognitive adoption efforts said they expect minimal to no job loss due to AI-related projects in the next three years, the survey found. What's more, 29% said they expect that new jobs will be created in that timeframe.

"There is a concern that 'the rise of the machines' will replace human workers, but we should look at how people and machines can work in collaboration as co-bots," Deloitte CEO Cathy Engelbert said in a press release. "The ability to leverage new technologies to retool our workforce will ultimately lead to new opportunities to build high value skills for our workers."

Gartner also recently predicted that by 2020, AI will eliminate 1.8 million jobs—but that it will also create 2.3 million positions, driving a net gain of 500,000 new jobs.

SEE: Artificial Intelligence and IT: The good, the bad and the scary (Tech Pro Research)

Cognitive technologies like AI are becoming a business imperative: 92% of executives said they believe cognitive technologies are an important part of their internal business processes, and 87% reported it will play a significant role in improving their products and services moving forward.

Overall, 76% of executives said they believe that AI and cognitive technologies will "substantially transform" their organizations. And 90% said that they see these technologies playing a larger role in shaping company strategy moving forward, the report found.

In terms of financing these projects, more than one in three (37%) of the companies surveyed said they have invested $5 million or more in AI and cognitive technologies, with investments geared primarily toward information technology (64%), product development/R&D (44%), and customer service (40%).

Meanwhile, 73% of early adopters said they are exploring mature cognitive technologies, such as robotic process automation, while 70% said they are looking into statistical machine learning. And 49% said they are using deep learning neural networks as well.

These early adopters are already seeing economic benefits from their use of AI and cognitive technologies, the report found: 83% of respondents reported moderate to substantial monetary returns. Those who claimed to have seen the greatest benefits said that cognitive should be used for transformative change rather than incremental improvements. But a majority of respondents said they feel more comfortable starting with "low hanging fruit" AI projects, or waiting a few more years for the technologies to mature more.

"Cognitive technologies are still maturing, but our study shows that early adopters are experiencing benefits, especially those that have jumped in with both feet," Jeff Loucks, executive director of Deloitte Services LP and Deloitte Center for Technology, Media and Telecommunications. "The more experienced companies are, the more likely they are to see gains. That should provide an incentive for others to get started."

Want to use this data in your next business presentation? Feel free to copy and paste these top takeaways into your next slideshow.

  • 69% of executives leading cognitive adoption efforts said they expect minimal to no job loss due to AI-related projects in the next three years. -Deloitte, 2017
  • 29% of executives said they expect that new jobs will be created due to AI in the next three years. -Deloitte, 2017
  • 76% of executives said they believe that AI and cognitive technologies will substantially transform their organizations. -Deloitte, 2017
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Image: iStockphoto/iLexx

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About Alison DeNisco Rayome

Alison DeNisco Rayome is a Staff Writer for TechRepublic. She covers CXO, cybersecurity, and the convergence of tech and the workplace.

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