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 AI, Hero or Villain?

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Two pieces of news- conflicting and yet interesting, flamed my interest further towards AI – the most talked about, the most discussed, now most popular subject these days. One reported how the CEO of an AI startup was told by an AI researcher from meta, a prospective candidate/employee to come back with an offer, when his startup will have 10,000 H100 GPUs!

 Another spoke about AI being one of the major contributors to the massive layoffs the world is witnessing currently. Now that’s an amusing picture of an interesting paradox!  AI a villain, as well as a hero. Talk about the double edged sword! 


In this week’s issue of ‘The People Weekly’, we delve into the world of artificial intelligence (AI) and its journey. As always, it is the constant endeavour of PeopleLogic to bring to its valued readers information and insights about the most trending topics. 

AI- Evolution Story

AI is not a recent technological advancement. In 1950, Alan Turing, father of modern computer science, performed his famous Turing test, otherwise called imitation game, to test a machine’s capability to exhibit intelligent behaviour just like humans. From there on, discussions and research about intelligent machines with cognitive capabilities intensified.  The term AI or Artificial Intelligence was coined in 1955 during the Dartmouth conference. After the initial euphoria, AI research witnessed a winter mainly due to the high funding required.


 But the 1990s saw a renewed vigour and resurgence in AI. Increased computing power and the rise of machine learning techniques like neural networks revitalised AI research. Deep learning breakthroughs led to significant advancements in areas like computer vision, natural language processing, and robotics. Introduction of Siri and then Alexa, a conversational AI application catapulted the possibilities of AI into another level.   In March 2016, the world watched in amazement when Hong Kong based Hanson Robotics introduced its unique technological marvel – Sophia, world’s first social humanoid robot. Soon, AI applications became widespread in various industries, from healthcare to finance. 

Presently, AI is used in almost every sphere- education to healthcare to finance to ecommerce and numerous other areas. Chatbots, an AI tool, is now a very common AI application used by almost all businesses. India too is not beyond. AI has moved out from the research centres of educational institutions like IITs and is now a part of common man’s life. 


AI Growth  

A  report titled “AI Powered Tech Services: A Roadmap for Future Ready Firms; AI & GenAI’s Role in Turbocharging the Industry” launched on the sidelines of the Nasscom Technology & Leadership Forum 2024 has said India’s AI market is projected to reach $17billion by 2027 with a CAGR of 25% to 35%.   The global market for AI is projected to reach US $1,811.8 billion by 2030 bn in 2030, with a CAGR of 31.22%. 


Since around 2019, the world, including India, has witnessed a surge in Artificial Intelligence (AI) adoption. This explosion has brought AI use cases to nearly every corner of our lives. Advancements like ChatGPT from OpenAI, Gemini from Google, and similar innovations have fueled a wave of exciting AI-powered creations and inventions. AI is expected to contribute $15.7 trillion to the global economy by 2030, more than the current combined output of  India and China. 

 AI – Hero or Villain?

As argued earlier, AI is emerging as the hero in many ways. Artificial intelligence (AI) brings with it a wide range of advantages, making it a powerful tool in many fields. Numerous repetitive, redundant and monotonous tasks are now being automated using AI thus saving time. This frees up human IT professionals to focus on more complex tasks that require creativity, critical thinking, and strategic problem-solving. This automation can lead to increased efficiency, reduced errors, and faster processing times.  For example, AI-powered chatbots can efficiently handle basic customer service inquiries within IT companies, allowing human representatives to focus on resolving more intricate issues. AI  also helps in making informed decisions by analysing vast amounts of data to identify patterns and trends that humans might miss.  Be it a medical field, finance, aviation or even disaster management, AI has proven its mettle. 


At the same time people all over the world are losing jobs. Over 50,000 people have been laid off globally in the first two months of 2024. Recently, CEO of NVIDIA asked everyone not to learn coding as AI will do the job. The same was reiterated by Oculus VR CTO and Infosys Executive VP, Satish HC. As per Vineet Nayar, Ex CEO of HCL Tech, AI will lead to IT companies needing 70% fewer employees. 

While no company including the big four has come to the forefront confirming that AI is the reason behind the job cuts, IMF in a report has said that AI will lead to 40% job cuts globally! Almost 60% of high skilled jobs are at risk especially in IT, finance, Corporate and legal areas. 

As per WEF around 83 million jobs will be eradicated due to AI disruption. In a world where businesses thrive due to the competitive advantage, companies are aggressively adapting to AI. Governments all around the world are pushing for policies for AI adoption. Massive restructuring is happening in numerous businesses across industries to stay relevant during this major technological upheaval. Devin, world’s first AI software engineer is a classic case of how AI can be a villain and  displace millions of jobs. 


At the same time, amidst job cuts AI is also creating new roles demanding new skills. WEF(World Economic Forum) anticipates that 12 million jobs will be created by the robot revolution by 2025 and 67 million jobs by 2027.  As per a report in Wall Street Journal, jobs requiring AI skills are in increasing demand as opposed to other IT jobs.

Image courtesy: Wall Street Journal

A recent report in Reuters speaks about the AI talent war that is ongoing in Europe leaving companies with no option but to offer AI professionals high salaries to attract them. There is a glaring gap between demand for AI professionals and AI talent availability globally. The case of the Salesforce CEO offering to match any OpenAI researchers who would resign with full cash and equity proves this shortage in AI talent.  

AI disruption is creating a talent shortage in India as well. MOS IT Rajeev Chandrasekhar spoke of a huge deficit in AI talent in India particularly architects and designers proficient in crafting large-language models (LLMs) during  the Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence (GPAI) summit. According to Wheebox, a remote proctored assessments and consulting firm India has around 4.16Lakh AI professionals as opposed to the demand of 6.29 Lakh. Even though it looks as if India is poised to take on the AI demand, the gap is anything but glaring. The recent announcement by Mircorsoft to train 2 million Indians in AI by 2025 explains the need for more AI skilled professionals. With such huge demand for AI skilled professionals, the employment creation by AI is something one cannot ignore. While some repetitive tasks are being automated, AI is also creating new opportunities in areas like data science, cybersecurity, and AI development.  Therefore to stay relevant to the AI decade one needs to upskill or reskill. 

There is an AI talent war that is ongoing. The interesting case, mentioned earlier, of an AI researcher refusing an offer made by a startup CEO is an example in itself.  Now,whether AI is a hero or a villain depends on how one harnesses the opportunity to jump into the AI bandwagon or how one misses the opportunity and gets left behind. AI is here for the long haul and will continue to have a major impact in the next decade.

PeopleLogic Opinion

No doubt AI is disrupting the way we work. Repetitive tasks are being automated. AI tools are brought in to facilitate work efficiently and to increase productivity. This is leading to major organisational restructuring  in most businesses. Traditional top-down hierarchies may become flatter as AI handles routine decision-making, empowering teams and allowing for faster, data-driven responses. While some jobs are being displaced by AI and newer jobs are being created. Every organisation will require AI development, implementation, and maintenance specialists like AI engineers, data scientists, and cybersecurity experts. AI can lead to entirely new industries, creating unforeseen job opportunities.The future of work with AI will likely involve a transition. While some jobs disappear, others will emerge, requiring adaptation and reskilling of the workforce. The key is to be prepared for this transformation.

At PeopleLogic, we are navigating the complexities of AI talent acquisition with our deep understanding of the field. By staying current on the evolving skill sets required for AI roles (from machine learning expertise to specific industry knowledge), we effectively target and connect qualified candidates with the right opportunities. Our strong network within the AI community,  ability to assess both technical and soft skills crucial for AI teams, and staying informed on the latest AI trends to anticipate future hiring needs helps us to bridge the gap between companies seeking top AI talent and the specialists driving innovation in this dynamic field.

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