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A.I. vs Labour The Future of Workforce with AI Automation

Are robots going to take over all the jobs?

It’s a question that many people are asking as artificial intelligence (A.I.) continues to advance. The fear of losing jobs to automation is very real, but the future of the workforce is not as bleak as it may seem.

But at the same time, A.I. automation has the potential to revolutionise the way we work and create new opportunities for human workers. 

With A.I. and automation on the rise, the key is understanding how to adapt and embrace the changes that A.I. brings.

Let’s dive into the world of A.I., automation, and labour to explore what the future may hold for us all. It’s a journey you won’t want to miss!

Understanding A.I. and Automation

A.I. and automation are rapidly reshaping the future of the workforce, bringing both challenges and opportunities.

At its core, artificial intelligence (A.I.)1 is a broad field of computer science that aims to simulate human intelligence processes by creating and applying algorithms built into dynamic computing environments.

Meanwhile, automation2 is the use of machines, such as robots or computers, to complete tasks that were previously performed by humans.

As A.I. continues evolving and becoming more sophisticated, it can take on more complex tasks than ever. This has created a shift in how jobs are being done and the types of jobs needed in today’s economy.

Potential Benefits of A.I. Automation

Increased Efficiency and Productivity

A.I. automation can significantly enhance efficiency and productivity in the workforce. Machines powered by A.I. can work around the clock without breaks, vacations, or sleep.

According to Gartner3, 45% of companies that have integrated smart machines into their workflows have experienced substantial growth from 2018 onwards.

They are designed to perform tasks faster and more accurately than humans, which can significantly increase output and productivity in various industries. 

Moreover, A.I. systems learn over time. They can analyse vast amounts of data to identify patterns and trends humans might miss, leading to more informed business decisions.

Cost Reduction

A.I. systems can replace or reduce the need for human labour to perform specific tasks, thereby reducing labour costs4.

Because A.I. systems can work continuously without breaks, they can generate output that would require far more human labour hours to produce.

Improved Decision Making

A.I. algorithms can analyse vast amounts of data to provide insights and predictions about market trends, customer behavior, and other aspects of business.

These insights can inform strategic planning5, enabling businesses to make better-informed decisions that enhance their competitiveness and profitability.

Furthermore, A.I. systems can provide real-time insights and alerts, enabling businesses to respond quickly to changes in their operating environment.

This capacity for real-time decision-making can be particularly valuable in areas such as financial trading or supply chain management, where timely decisions can have significant financial implications.

Industries Most Vulnerable to A.I. Automation

Manufacturing Industry

With the advent of advanced technologies, a significant number of manual tasks within this industry are being taken over by robots.

However, this shift towards automation also comes with a significant downside: job losses.

Many manufacturing jobs6, particularly those involving repetitive tasks, are at risk. Workers may face displacement, and there may be a significant impact on the socioeconomic landscape.

The future of the workforce in the manufacturing industry will likely require a shift in skills, with a greater emphasis on technology proficiency and adaptability.

Retail Industry

The retail industry7 is another sector heavily impacted by artificial intelligence and automation. From automated checkouts to A.I.-powered customer service bots, the future of retail is becoming increasingly automated.

These technologies enhance the customer experience, streamline operations, and reduce costs for retailers.

However, these advancements may also threaten a large number of jobs in the retail sector.

The future of the retail workforce may also see a shift towards roles that require human interaction and expertise, such as personal shopping or product curation.

Food & Beverages

A.I. is being used in Malaysian restaurants, particularly Mamak restaurants8, to enhance customer service.

Mamak restaurants are popular eateries in Malaysia that serve Indian Muslim cuisine. These restaurants have started employing A.I. robots to serve customers, a trend expected to increase in the coming years.

Dr. Muhammad Aiman Arifin, a senior lecturer at the Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) Arau Campus, highlighted that A.I. technology is extensively used for delivering food and beverages to customers, replacing the traditional role of human servers.

This utilisation of A.I. in the restaurant industry is part of the broader impact that A.I. is expected to have on various key industries in Malaysia.

Current Impact of A.I. on Labour in Malaysia

Impact on Productivity and Efficiency

Artificial intelligence (A.I.) is proving to be a game-changer in Malaysia’s labour market, particularly in terms of productivity and efficiency.

Technological advancements in A.I. have led to the automation of mundane and repetitive tasks, freeing human workers to focus on more complex and strategic aspects of their roles.

A study by McKinsey9 suggests that A.I. and automation can potentially increase global productivity growth by as much as 1.4% each year.

Additionally, A.I.-driven automation can lead to a reduction in errors and an increase in the quality of output. Machines are not prone to fatigue or loss of concentration, which are common causes of errors in human-driven work. 

Impact on Job Displacement and Creation

There are concerns that A.I. could lead to job displacement, with automation replacing human labour in certain sectors. For instance, routine-intensive jobs such as manufacturing, data entry, and customer service are at high risk of automation.

Research conducted by the Faculty of Economics and Administration at Universiti Malaya10 revealed that 40.1% of jobs in Malaysia are highly susceptible to automation. Additionally, it is projected that within the next 20 years, 57% of employment will be impacted by automation.

This could lead to significant labour market disruptions and increased unemployment rates.

However, it’s crucial to note that while A.I. may displace certain jobs, it also creates new ones. Many of these new jobs will be in fields that we can’t even imagine today, just as the rise of the internet created entirely new industries.

For instance, there has been a surge in demand for A.I. specialists, data scientists, and robotics engineers.

Impact on Skills Demand and Education

This shift in skill demand presents a challenge for the education and training systems in Malaysia, which must adapt to prepare the workforce for the jobs of the future.

If they do not upgrade their skills or participate in reskilling and upskilling programmes, approximately 4.5 million Malaysians11 could potentially lose their jobs by 2030 due to the emergence of artificial intelligence (A.I.).

Workers need to be adaptable and ready to learn new skills as the nature of their jobs evolves. This highlights the importance of policies that promote lifelong learning and re-skilling, as well as the role of companies in providing learning opportunities for their employees.

It’s an evolving landscape that you’ll need to navigate carefully.

In Short,

We’re living at the precipice of a new era where A.I. vs labour isn’t a battle but a collaboration. Sure, automation might take some jobs, but it’ll also create potential new ones.

In the future, you could work side by side with A.I., not compete against it. Embrace the change, upskill yourself, and you’ll be prepared for any future A.I. brings.

We at Grayscale are here to help you transition and adapt to A.I. advancements.

By providing opportunities and resources for utilising the latest technology like A.I., we’ll ensure Malaysians like yourself are ready to face the challenge of embracing A.I. automation in the workforce.

Don’t hesitate to reach out and learn more about our A.I. solutions by emailing us at enquiries@grayscale.my.




1 McKinsey. (2023, April 24). What is AI (Artificial Intelligence)? | McKinsey. McKinsey & Company. Retrieved November 27, 2023, from https://www.mckinsey.com/featured-insights/mckinsey-explainers/what-is-ai

2 IBM. (2021, March 28). What is automation? IBM. Retrieved November 27, 2023, from https://www.ibm.com/topics/automation

3 Telefónica Communication Team. (2023, October 4). Artificial Intelligence and work: How will it affect the future of work? Telefónica. Retrieved November 27, 2023, from https://www.telefonica.com/en/communication-room/blog/artificial-intelligence-work-affect-future-work/

4 Asay, M. (2023, July 2). AI’s impact on cost savings, productivity, and jobs. InfoWorld. Retrieved November 27, 2023, from https://www.infoworld.com/article/3701588/ais-impact-on-cost-savings-productivity-and-jobs.html

5 Chimera, A. (2023, April 7). How artificial intelligence can inform decision-making. The Enterprisers Project. Retrieved November 27, 2023, from https://enterprisersproject.com/article/2023/4/ai-decision-making

6 Pelico. (n.d.). 6 Examples Of How AI Will Disrupt Factory Operations. Pelico. Retrieved November 27, 2023, from https://www.pelico.ai/our-articles/6-examples-of-how-ai-will-disrupt-manufacturing-operations-in-the-near-future

7 The Malaysian Reserve. (2023, November 1). Malaysia’s digital evolution: Unleashing the power of AI for inclusive growth. The Malaysian Reserve. Retrieved November 27, 2023, from https://themalaysianreserve.com/2023/11/01/malaysias-digital-evolution-unleashing-the-power-of-ai-for-inclusive-growth/

8 Vethasalam, R. (2022, July 11). Operators think outside the box. The Star. Retrieved November 27, 2023, from https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2022/07/11/operators-think-outside-the-box

9 McKinsey Global Institute. (2017, January). A FUTURE THAT WORKS: AUTOMATION, EMPLOYMENT, AND PRODUCTIVITY. McKinsey & Company. Retrieved November 27, 2023, from https://www.mckinsey.com/~/media/mckinsey/featured%20insights/Digital%20Disruption/Harnessing%20automation%20for%20a%20future%20that%20works/MGI-A-future-that-works-Executive-summary.ashx

10 NST. (2023, May 4). Protect workforce from A.I. New Straits Times. Retrieved November 27, 2023, from https://www.nst.com.my/opinion/letters/2023/05/905840/protect-workforce-ai

11 Bernama. (2023, June 26). Over four million M’sians likely to lose jobs by 2030 if they lack skills. The Star. Retrieved November 27, 2023, from https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2023/06/26/over-four-million-msians-likely-to-lose-jobs-by-2030-if-they-lack-skills

1 Comment

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