Artificial intelligence (AI) is one of the most transformative technologies of our time. It has the potential to improve productivity, to allow people to access information they wouldn’t normally know how to search for, and to solve complex problems. But it also raises questions about the future of work, especially in the IT sector. A lot of people are wondering “Will AI replace us?”.

We’ll discuss what do people nowadays normally talk about when they mention AI? Will AI replace IT workers or augment their skills? How can IT professionals prepare for the changes that AI will bring?

When we talk about “AI” nowadays, what exactly are we talking about?

It’s important to note that when people talk about AI nowadays they often mean generative AI which is often a type of machine learning. It can create new content or data from existing content. Examples of generative AI include text generation, image generation (like drawing pictures), music generation (like composing songs), etc. Generative AI is different from other types of AI that only analyze or classify data without creating anything new.

This has been a source of debate recently seeing how a lot of those AI models have been trained on data which they didn’t necessarily have the rights to. Especially when it comes to the textual versions of generative AI models which are the most common. This has proven difficult to prove in some cases since these AIs rarely generate content that is an actual copy of the original texts. They often only generate content seemingly similar because the initial prompt is guiding them towards that answer.

We are not going to blame (or defend) any of the companies behind those AIs since this has still to be proven and it will take time for the general public to fully understand how these artificial minds work and what they can and cannot do.

AI as a tool

AI is not a single technology, but a collection of methods and applications that can perform tasks that normally require human intelligence, such as understanding natural language, recognizing images, making decisions, and learning from data. AI can be used as a tool to assist IT workers (among others) in various ways, such as:

  • Automating repetitive or routine tasks, such as data entry, software testing help desk support and more. This can free up IT workers to focus on more creative or strategic aspects of their work including hardware deployment, project and change management, etc.
  • Enhancing IT capabilities, such as data analysis, cybersecurity, cloud computing, and software development. AI can help IT workers discover new insights, detect threats, optimize performance, and generate code.
  • Creating new IT products and services, such as chatbots, virtual assistants, recommender systems, and smart devices. AI can enable IT workers to innovate and create value for their customers and stakeholders.

According to a report by McKinsey Global Institute, AI could help create 20 to 50 million new jobs globally in both in-house IT workers and external or outsourced tech consulting jobs by 2030.

AI as a replacement

However, AI also poses challenges and risks for IT workers. Some of the possible impacts of AI on IT jobs are:

  • Displacing IT workers who perform tasks that can be easily automated or outsourced by AI. This could affect low-skilled or entry-level IT workers more than high-skilled or experienced ones.
    • It’s important to not that those tasks could often already be replaced by carefully created scripts and automations, specialized software and, in some cases, dedicated hardware. The transition to AI simply makes the creation of those tools more accessible to people.
  • Changing the skill requirements and demand for IT workers. AI could reduce the need for some IT skills, such as programming languages or hardware knowledge (in the long term), while increasing the need for others, such as data science, machine learning specialists and AI ethics
  • Creating new forms of competition and collaboration for IT workers. AI could enable new entrants or platforms to offer IT services at lower costs or higher quality, while also creating new opportunities for cooperation and integration across different domains and sectors.

According to a report by Goldman Sachs, AI could replace the equivalent of 300 million full-time jobs by 2030, including a quarter of work tasks in the US and Europe. The report also notes that not all of those automations will lead to layoffs, but AI could be integrated in a way or another.

It’s important to note that this is not a new topic. There have been talks of automation ending manufacturing and tasks related roles for as long as robots/computers have existed. This article on Forbes from 2009, around 14 years ago, was already mentionning the replacement of certain jobs by robots. The story is repeating itself, only with a different ennemy.

How to prepare for the future of IT work?

The impact of AI on IT jobs will depend on various factors, such as the pace and direction of technological innovation, the adoption and diffusion of AI across industries and regions, the availability and quality of data and infrastructure, the regulation and governance of AI, and the social and economic responses to AI.

IT workers can prepare for the future of work by:

  • Developing digital skills that are complementary to AI, such as data literacy, critical thinking, problem-solving, communication, and collaboration.
  • Learning about AI technologies and applications that are relevant to their field or interest, such as machine learning, natural language processing, computer vision, robotics, etc.
  • Adapting to changing roles and responsibilities that require more creativity, innovation, or human interaction.
  • Seeking new opportunities for career development or transition that leverage their existing skills or interests in new ways.

Will AI replace us? Yes, but not entirely

AI is not a threat nor a savior for IT workers. It is a powerful tool that can enhance or replace human capabilities depending on how it is used and managed. IT workers can benefit from AI by embracing it as an opportunity to learn new skills, improve their performance, and create new value. However, they also need to be aware of the challenges and risks that AI poses for their jobs and careers. By preparing for the future of work with AI, IT workers can ensure that they are not left behind by the technological revolution.

It’s also important to note that most generative AIs cannot currently replace an experienced worker in every situation. There is still the need, in some situations, for someone who’s seen specific problems and knows how to fix them. AIs often still need a guiding hand to quickly get to the right solution and do not necessarily understand what they are talking about. Which means there is always a chance for it to give innacurate information without ever realizing it.

2 thoughts on “What Will the Impact of AI Be on IT Jobs? A Great Tool or the End of IT?”
    1. No worries! It’s important to remember that as much as jobs could get partially or fully replaced by automations and AI, new jobs will start appearing which might be perfectly suited for you.

      Keep in mind that this change could take a while, so there is no point stressing about it too much, though it can’t hurt to look at jobs surrounding AI and new technologies, you might find something you’d like long-term.

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