AI will not automate everyone out of existence: Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak

AI will not automate everyone out of existence:  Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak
Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple  |  Photo Credit: Reuters
26 Feb, 2018

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak has said that artificial intelligence (AI) will not automate everyone out of existence but, on the contrary, will do everything to create more jobs.

“We will require a lot more jobs to build those machines,” he said on Saturday at Economic Times Global Business Summit 2018 held in New Delhi. The co-founder added that the next generation will see different jobs cropping up.

Several reports in the past have predicted hordes of workers getting laid off due to AI and machine learning. A Gartner report released last year showed that 70% of Indians would lose their jobs to automation in 2018. 

"Ongoing reductions in outsourced headcount due to automation will eventually force sourcing and vendor-management leaders to redesign workplace services for their organisations' users. This will result in a corresponding drop in the numbers of staff required on the service desk, so that when 70% of the workload is dealt with by intelligent automation services, only 30% of the staff will remain," the report said.

By contrast, a study in January 2018 echoed Wozniak’s views that automation will create jobs. The report from tech consulting firm Accenture Plc estimated that greater investments by companies in AI and human-machine collaboration could raise global employment 10% by 2022.

Experts who believe AI will add to employment numbers feel the need for an industry-wide reskilling to keep the current workforce relevant. Also, entities like digital education services company Udacity, Inc. and online educational services firm Coursera, Inc. are already educating students and engineers on subjects such as AI, machine learning, augmented reality and virtual reality.

At the summit, Wozniak also answered a few questions about late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, saying that the two never had a fight. He added that the Apple Watch was his favourite gadget.

When asked about entrepreneurs he admires, Wozniak named Elon Musk, chief executive of Tesla and SpaceX.