The Growth of AI in the Workplace Will Not Lead to Fewer Jobs in India

May 2, 20189:50 am676 views

Increasing involvement of artificial intelligence (AI) in the workplace will not necessarily mean loss of jobs in India, said Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister (EAC-PM) chairman Bibek Debroy on Monday (Apr 23).

Mr Debroy’s statement was to comment on recent sentiment expressed by several experts, including former RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan, regarding the fears that artificial intelligence would replace human workforce and take up jobs, both high skilled and unskilled ones.

In his speech during the Brookings India seminar on ‘Manufacturing Jobs: Implications for Productivity and Inequality’, he said that while there will always be some kind of job loss, that does not always mean that there will be overall fewer jobs. He emphasised that Indians need not to be worried about AI, instead they should be more concerned about how to make improvements in human development and skill development, The Economic Times reports.

Last month, Mr Rajan had stated that with rapid advancements in machine learning, automation, as well as AI and robotics, this was going to bring further changes in the business landscape as they take up the jobs, ranging from those in unskilled sweatshops to high-skilled professions in medicine industry.

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“What jobs will humans be able to do in 10-15 years that are immune from threat? Jobs that require high intelligence and creativity; jobs that require human empathy and jobs where human working for us bolster our status in some way,” he had said.

Responding to this statement by referring to current employment situation in the country, Mr Debroy said that India is still going to be relatively more endowed with human labour and the country is not going to be aged at least until 2035. As the share of manufacturing in India’s overall GDP has remained stable over the last 25 years, he said, “We would have better employment data in the end of 2018 or beginning of 2019.”

Speaking at the same event, former Planning Commission chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia stated that India’s domestic development debate is hijacked by the West and the whole push for inequality versus growth debate is an example of that. He also pointed out that the kind of skill development which the government is promoting right now would actually not create employment. Owing to this reason, he added that India needs to learn from Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia.

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