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What Is AI, and Will It Take Over Your Service-Based Business Job?

June 14, 2019 5 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Most factories make use of machines in the production process and, as a result, lots of people have been put out of work. But are service-based businesses about to face a similar fate? Will you be replaced by a robot one day?

That particular question has likely brought chills down many people's spines, but could this really be the reality we’re facing? Imagine all the different kinds of service-based jobs poised to crumble because some app or robot can do the work faster than a human would.

Let’s say you normally hire tutors to help your children with their homework, perhaps from a service-based business that has a good track record and high success rates among users. All of that could change in a flash with AI --  in fact, that is one of the reasons why some people are scared of AI in spite of how fascinating it is.

Related: Why Businesses Keep Failing to Make the Most of AI

How would you feel if your child asked help from Alexa for their homework? The virtual assistant is fast becoming a staple among homes; you surely can’t stop your child’s urge from asking, “What’s 5 minus 3?” can you?

These days all the child has to do is take a picture of their math homework, and an app can instantly tell whether the answer is right or wrong. AI also allows apps to recommend courses to users based on their level of progress in those subjects, and, if that’s not enough, it also knows what kind of questions teachers give out as assignments.

What is AI?

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a branch of computer science developed with the objective of creating intelligent machines that can mimic human behavior and the ability to make decisions. In essence, these programs are able to study our behavior and make decisions as if we’re the one making them but, of course, a lot faster.

Related: 5 Future Jobs You've Never Heard of But That Your Kids Will Flock to

Since AI “learns” our behavior, it’s not limited by the programmer's code. So, in a sense, it’s able to grow in knowledge on its own as we keep using it.

Will AI take over service-based business jobs?

There have been a series of debates on whether AI will take over jobs or not. A study by Boston Consulting Group predicted that by 2025, a quarter of jobs will be replaced by either smart software or robots. Kai Fu Lee, a renowned AI expert and venture capitalist, believes that 40 percent of the jobs in the world will be replaced by robots.

Without a doubt, AI is gradually infiltrating and disrupting different industries, including healthcare and banking. But you mustn’t forget that machines have their limitations. Although technology has advanced to the point that software mimic humans, they can never totally take our place. In fact, AI will help create more jobs than it seeks to eliminate. You may need to acquire new skills, but it doesn’t mean that you’ll be replaced.

Related: 4 Ways Artificial Intelligence Is Shaping the Future for Businesses Big and Small

So, in essence, even if you use AI to help your child with their homework, it will not entirely take away the jobs of tutors who will teach kids. There will still be a need for tutors to dictate what standard is expected of students -- and maybe even tutors would delve into developing AI that will help tutor kids.

It’s all in how you choose to handle the technological changes that come your way. Outrightly rejecting or fearing technology won’t secure your job, but if you could develop your skills and knowledge to go along with the change in technology, then there is no way you’d be out of work. The beauty of service-based businesses is their ability to easily pivot and evolve. This kind of flexibility will work in your favor with the advancement of AI. AI is artificial; it’s not naturally intelligent yet.

The final verdict

AI is a bittersweet topic. On one hand, it’s one of the best innovations the world has ever seen. And on the other, it could be what brings to an end a lot of businesses because it’s smarter, faster and more efficient. However, saying AI will take away most people’s jobs is an exaggeration. It will surely change the way you do business, but it will not take away all jobs. So, there’s really no need to panic.

Related: Robots Are Stealing Our Jobs

All you need to do is grow and adjust to the new technology instead of fighting it. You’ll only have cause to fear when you don’t evolve with the technology.

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