Rise of artificial intelligence: The threat of jobless future or better job opportunities through reskilling and upskilling – UPSC Solved Essay 2019.

The First Industrial Revolution used water and steam power to mechanize production. The
Second used electric power to create mass production. The Third used electronics and information
technology to automate production. Today, the world is on the verge of Fourth Industrial
Revolution which will use Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Big Data Analysis to make machines
the masters of the whole production process.

All the three industrial revolution reduced thenumber of jobs in the world and concentrated wealth of the world in few hands. The fourth onewill further accelerate this process and will decrease the degree of financial inclusion. Many scientists fear that the fourth industrial revolution will have severe impact on human race and according to Bill Gates, it has the ability to wipe out the civilization when machines will be super-
intelligent, and humans will have no control on them.

However, present state of world economy has been driven by the two newly invented instrument,
i.e., Big Data analysis and Artificial Intelligence. Both have provided numerous services from
predicting natural disasters by artificially studying millions bytes of data, providing tailor made
solutions to service sector such as Information Technology (IT, Artificial Intelligence) industry, Business process
outsourcing (BPO), Knowledge Process Outsourcing (KPO), customer support through artificial
voice assistant, analysis of programmes and software testing without human interference. In
banking services, AI has successfully been used for customer support through artificial voice
assistant, analysis of financial ledger and security against cybercrime.

In manufacturing industries,AI has provided a better alternative than human interference. When coupled with robotics,accuracy and precision of the machines increases to higher extent. This has improved the quality
of the manufactured products.All three previous industrial revolution reduced the scope of jobs in the industries but still left a corner for supremacy of human intelligence.

Tertiary, quaternary and quinary sector of industry opened a vast workspace for the human race to act on the basis of human intelligence. The joblosses which were incurred in previous industrial revolutions were soaked up in these sectors, butthe advent of Artificial Intelligence and Big data analysis coupled with robotics has created a huge problem of mass unemployment in various sectors of economy existing today.

India, which is a three trillion economy, is thriving today on billion-dollar service sectors driven
by vast information technology, BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) and KPO (Knowledge Process
Outsourcing) industries. Service sector accounts for 53.66% of total India’s GVA of 137.51 lakh
crore Indian rupees. India which is a destination of cheap labor and quality human capital
exports billions of dollars of services to most developed countries of the world including USA and
United Kingdom.

Advent of AI and Big Data analysis has limited the scope of Indian service
sector which provides impetus to accelerating Indian economy, which is currently the fastest
growing economy in the world. Backend services such as telephonic support in banking services,
telecommunication industry and across every sector to provide assistance, are eyeing on use of
artificial assistant-based solutions.

For example, State Bank of India adopted an AI based assistant
named SBI Intelligent Assistant (SIA) a smart chat assistant, evolved from the “cutting edge
technology of artificial intelligence, that efficiently resolves queries of NRI customers, similar to
that of a bank representative. This step of SBI, if evolved in a better way will alone eliminate
thousands of its business representatives.

Software testing which is exclusively done at very large scale in India are being done with the
help of newly developed technology which gives accurate results and take lesser time replacing
human testers. Highly paid lucrative jobs in this industry draws higher salary from MNCs (Multi-
National Corporations) based in developed countries and add up to Indian GNP (Gross National
Product). Loss of jobs in this sector will hamper the prospects of Indian economy. Already reeling
Indian manufacturing sector will face higher consequences when robotics coupled with artificial
intelligence will be adopted by industries. This will cut down innumerable jobs from higher to
lower strata.

India is second largest country in the world in terms of population is expected to surpass China
in next ten years. Since 2018, India’s working-age population (people between 15 and 64 years
of age) has grown larger than the dependent population, children aged 14 or below as well as
people above 65 years of age. This bulge in the working-age population is going to last till 2055,
or 37 years from its beginning. At the time when India needs to reap its demographic dividend
by accelerating its growth rate and creating employment, newer technologies such as Artificial
Intelligence have created a huge challenge for Indian policymakers.

Upskilling and reskilling of Indian workforce will have lesser impact as number of job losses is
far larger than availability of space after deployment of cutting-edge technologies. Secondly, any
upskilling or reskilling of human beings can’t match the accuracy and preciseness of code operated
machines. Further, it will be unsuitable for companies to employ large human work force rather
than deploying single software made solution. Although, upskilling and reskilling will provide
jobs but in lesser number than lost jobs which is contrary to the prediction of World Economic
Forum (WEF) report titled ‘The Future of Jobs 2018’, which stated that the Fourth Industrial
Revolution will make 75 million jobs obsolete by the year 2022 but will also create 133 million
new jobs, a net gain of 58 million. The current scenario of job losses to these newly developed
technologies contradicts these claims.

If India wants to reap its demographic dividend in a better way and serve its ever-growing
population, there must be a legislative intervention in this field to check its excessive use across
different sectors. Limitation on use of AI based technologies to certain sector of economy to check
mass job losses and large-scale upskilling and reskilling of the domestic workforce through
programmes and interventions is required.

Human capital formed after this process should be
able to cater demands of global industry. Further, upgradation of primary and secondary education
systems through programs such as Atal Tinkering Lab, National Skill Development Mission,
Young Scientist Programme, Skills Acquisition and Knowledge Awareness for Livelihood Promotion
(SANKALP) and Skill Strengthening for Industrial Value Enhancement (STRIVE) to boost Skill
India Mission.

India, which is already under the stress as capital investment has plunged, the unemployment
rate has surged to a 45-year-high and the nation’s banking system is hamstrung by the world’s
worst bad-loan ratio and agriculture sector is plunged by erratic monsoon coupled with climate
change impacts, it is time for government to take tough decisions to fulfill its domestic commitments
and international obligation of achieving sustainable development goals.

These goals can beachieved only when India will implement its policies effectively with upgradation of its workforce and become world leader in human capital formation. With upskilling and reskilling, India can
provide developed human resources to developed countries which are in fourth stage of their
demographic transition with old age population and are scarce in human resources and also to
underdeveloped countries which are still taste technical revolution.

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