At their annual Gartner Symposium event in Orlando yesterday, Peter Sondergaard predicted:
“AI will be a net job creator starting in 2020”
To that, Jason Hiner at TechRepublic snarkily commented
“Gartner’s research chief couldn’t have opened the company’s flagship conference with a more astounding proclamation if he had claimed that next year’s event would be held on the International Space Station and Gartner was offering free rides.”
Actually, I agree with Peter – I wrote a whole book, Silicon Collar which looks at a century of automation and how humans go through panic attacks every couple of decades about automation and impact on jobs. Automation tends to target tasks, not complete jobs. In general, it transforms jobs, not destroy them. And societies have “circuit breakers” which slow down rapid mass adoption of automation technology as I wrote here.
What I would I have liked to hear from Peter was “we were too pessimistic just 3 years ago”, when he said from the same podium
“Gartner predicts one in three jobs will be converted to software, robots and smart machines by 2025…New digital businesses require less labor; machines will make sense of data faster than humans can. By 2018, digital business will require 50% fewer business process workers.”
And I would liked him to say “we really fxxked up” when we predicted that by next year (2018)
- 20 percent of business content will be authored by machines.
- more than 3 million workers globally will be supervised by a “robo-boss.”
- 45 percent of the fastest-growing companies will have fewer employees than instances of smart machines.
In contrast, Oracle Co-CEO Mark Hurd shared with the OpenWorld audience a few hours later some of the “mean tweets” as he called it about some of the predictions he has been making about the cloud market.
Later in a Q&A, I joked with Mark that as an industry analyst he would have the luxury of hedging and assigning a probability to his predictions and then never publicly having to audit or redact his predictions.