Will AI-driven automation render most jobs obsolete, or is smart technology ushering in an age of humans working in collaboration with artificial intelligence? A new Deloitte survey suggests the direction organizations are headed.
OVER the past few years, artificial intelligence has matured into a collection of powerful technologies that are delivering competitive advantage to businesses across industries. Global AI adoption and investment are soaring. By one account, 37 percent of organizations have deployed AI solutions—up 270 percent from four years ago.1 Analysts forecast global AI spending will more than double over the next three years, topping US$79 billion by 2022.2
Companies and countries around the globe increasingly view development of strong AI capabilities as imperative to staying competitive. Deloitte’s State of AI in the Enterprise, 2nd Edition offers a global perspective of AI early adopters, based on surveying 1,900 IT and business executives from seven countries and a variety of industries.3 These adopters are increasing their spending on AI technologies and realizing positive returns. Almost two-thirds (65 percent) report that AI technologies are enabling their organizations to move ahead of the competition. Sixty-three percent of the leaders surveyed already view AI as “very” or “critically” important to their business success, and that number is expected to grow to 81 percent within two years.
These leaders see AI rapidly transforming their businesses and industries. Fifty-seven percent predict that AI will “substantially transform” their company within the next three years; two-thirds believe that their industry’s transformation will happen within five years. As AI drives these transformations, it is changing how work gets done in organizations by making operations more efficient, supporting better decision-making, and freeing up workers from certain tasks. The nature of job roles, and the skills that are most needed, are evolving.
Indeed, the effect AI will ultimately have on jobs is uncertain: Are we staring at a dim future in which AI-driven automation has made most jobs obsolete, or is AI ushering in a new age characterized by humans working in collaboration with the technologies—augmented by AI capabilities rather than displaced by them?4 Early indicators support the optimistic view: While AI adopters express concern about automation as an ethical risk, they emphatically believe that human workers and AI will augment each other, changing the nature of work for the better.