Could AI Replace the Need for IT Specialists in the Next 10 Years?

As an IT specialist, there are quite a number of roles to fit in.

A world running on technology can never get enough of IT specialists — that is, information technology specialists. IT specialists take care of the technical requirements of businesses, which involves the maintenance, implementation and monitoring of IT systems.

For one to become a competent IT specialist, they would be required to be equipped with the knowledge of different operating systems like Linus, macOS, Windows etc., have expert analytical skills and be proficient in a minimum of one programming language. An IT specialist’s job description includes offering 24/7 support, tracking system functionality and keeping systems updated and backed up, and securing and maintaining databases besides retrieving data and files when needed. 

What Is AI or Artificial Intelligence?

AI is that branch of computer science that has set out to answer Alan Turing’s question, “Can machines think?” in the affirmative. It is an attempt at replicating or simulating human intelligence in machines. Of course, the idea has resulted in an unending series of debates and discussions. Authors Stuart Russell and Peter Norvig, in their groundbreaking textbook Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach, delved into four distinct approaches that have historically defined the particular field:

  1. Rational thinking
  2. Rational acting
  3. Human-like thinking
  4. Human-like acting

These fields are concerned with reasoning, thought processes and behaviour. AI can be further distinguished into two broad categories: Narrow or weak AI and Artificial General Intelligence (AGI), or Strong AI.

The Fate of IT Specialists in the Next 10 Years

Now, to acknowledge the elephant in the room: “Would AI replace any or all IT Specialists in the Next 10 Years?” According to a survey conducted by Genesys, a customer experience platform has uncovered  the roles that might be automated in the future, according to the respondents:

  • Manufacturing
  • Checkout/retail clerks
  • Telemarketers
  • Data Entry 

As an information technology specialist, there are quite a number of roles to fit into. In these days of robust technology, most transactions in personal activities and business require a computer system to record sales, pay bills, keep track of the inventory and compute payrolls, among other tasks. To keep the computer system in check, every organization requires an IT specialist who will make sure that the software and hardware systems are functional. 

  • Software developers and engineers need not worry about getting replaced since coding is difficult for machines. It would take almost human-like robots to come up with original codes, and that will take up some considerable time.
    Nevertheless, AI will come in handy as it will aid the programmers in automatic code generation, software testing, increased efficiency in the deployment of control activities, data security, identification of bugs and errors, more accurate estimates, and much more. In conclusion, Artificial Intelligence will make software development easier, faster and more reliable.
  • AI, along with its machine learning capabilities, can provide for a self-solving service desk to not only analyze the company’s input data but also provide solutions and suggestions for the same. We can already see hints of AI behaviour in this sector as it is used to track human behaviour and provide self-help options and suggestions to enhance service management effectiveness.
    Using Machine Learning (ML) and Deep Learning (DL), AI can analyze a request forwarded to a service desk, find out corresponding requests, separate new from the previously solved ones, and base their future solutions on the basis of past experiences as well.
  • AI will be a great asset to process automation because day by day, it is becoming increasingly difficult for humans and manual processes to keep on par with network evolution, innovation, change and complexity. IT companies will be faced with easier automation of many operational processes and reduced expenses due to decreasing manual labor with AI-powered automation.
  • Network management is another sector in which AI can function wonderfully. With its ML capabilities, AI will be able to recognize errors as they appear and take subsequent measures to restore the network’s stable operating state.

Some Other Jobs That Can See Changes

The other fields that might have to get some jobs replaced by AI in the next 10 years would include:

  • Telemarketing. Telemarketers do not require social or emotional intelligence and hence can be easily replaced with automated systems. We already receive robocalls on behalf of certain services and products. 
  • Receptionists. Modern technology companies can replace traditional reception roles with automated phone and scheduling systems. 
  • Couriers. Couriers are already being substituted with robots and drones, and it is just a matter of time until the whole system becomes automated.
  • Retail salespeople. Today, people have become more tech-savvy and make buying decisions by themselves. Hence, companies are revolutionizing the whole shopping experience by replacing cashiers with self-checkouts and the likes. 
  • Advertising Salespeople. It is quite evident that advertising is shifting from TV and print towards social media and web landscapes. Thus, the need for people to manage the sales for marketers willing to buy ad space is decreasing. The increase in the number of social media platforms has made it more convenient to buy space using a free application program interface and a self-serve ad marketplace. 
  • Croupiers at Casinos. 10 years from now, when you step into a casino in Las Vegas, you might find yourself seated opposite a robot at the poker table. It would be a cheaper alternative to employing human croupiers. Today you can play free online slots or video poker with programmed croupiers. With help of AI and online gaming, casino games can exist without croupiers at all.

Jobs that run the least risk of being taken over by Artificial Intelligence would include:

  • News Writers
  • Sales Manager
  • Graphic Designers
  • Event Planners
  • Human Resources Managers
  • Marketing Managers
  • Public Relations Managers
  • Chief Executives
  • Taxi and Driver Services

A Concluding Thought

Although it might seem like Artificial Intelligence is here to push us out of our jobs in the near future, not everything can be automated, and with each job ‘taken,’ a new one will be created. AI requires human resourcefulness and ingenuity. AI is here to cut us some slack and perform tedious, repetitive tasks so that humans can either focus on more complex projects or take a much-needed break.

According to the CEO of Chicago-based AI startup Catalytic, Sean Chou, there will be a greater need for people as ‘the more we demand of technology.’ He reflects that people will shift their focus from the impact of high technology to help create the said technology and upgrade it with time, with the AI in play. Technology, AI in particular, involves a massive amount of training, monitoring and maintenance, and these factors will open new job opportunities. 

Undoubtedly, with the AI revolution will come a change in lifestyle, readjustments and considerable sacrifice, but it is not something the human civilization has not been put through in the past. Important human traits of compassion, empathy, creativity, care and education will continue to be significant and mandatory for our society.