These findings are contained in a report released this week by the MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab called "The Future of Work: How New Technologies Are Transforming Tasks".
The study found signs that AI is beginning to slowly redefine the nature of tasks performed in certain jobs as automation gains ground
Martin Fleming, vice president and chief economist of IBM said: "As new technologies continue to scale within businesses and across industries, it is our responsibility as innovators to understand not only the business process implications but also the societal impact. To that end, this empirical research from the MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab sheds new light on how tasks are reorganizing between people and machines as a result of AI and new technologies."
The rise of AI and automation, there has been growing debate and anxiety about how these trends will disrupt current job markets. The IBM-MIT study offers a bit of nuance to that discussion. The researchers used machine learning to analyse 170 million U.S. job postings between 2010 and 2017. They found that out of 18,500 possible tasks employees might be asked to do on average, the number had fallen by 3.7 over seven years.
These disappearing tasks are being taken up by AI or machine learning systems that have demonstrated the efficiencies of automation, the report says. The tasks most commonly being handed over to automated systems include mundane, repetitive chores like scheduling and validating credentials.
But within this shift there is also a clear divide, the report says. The ongoing introduction of AI will drive up the need for “soft skills” — jobs that require intellectual skills and analysis. In some cases, jobs that require physical flexibility, common sense judgment, or spoken language skills will become more valuable and higher paid, the study says.