Is IIoT, AI, machine learning, etc. creating or destroying jobs?

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We discuss this exact same topic all the time in our company here at Datahoist. As I see automation, machine learning, AI, virtual reality, you name it, all adds new jobs and new businesses. Technology is not taking them away.

Sure there will be displaced workers and while unfortunate, this has been going on for as long as man has been on earth.  This simply goes back to the survival instincts we were born with, fight or flight. If you fight then you evaluate the situation and know you must learn new skills to survive and thrive and succeed.  If on the other hand, you take flight, well then you will most likely be displaced and hopefully, are of the age and have the financial backing to retire, else you probably will become a statistic and not a very happy person with how life turned out for you.

This model of competition has been around forever, if not, we’d have 50 year old NBA basketball and tennis players and we do not at the professional level. The shift in industry and economics is a fact of life and with new technology whether it be a new ERP system being implemented or a new machine that is added to the business, someone has to learn it, know how to work on it and otherwise master the administration of it, else as a capitalist society, the business owner will replace you with someone that can and will. The competitive juices then should come to life in all of us when faced with job extinction and you must pivot as a person with skills much like businesses do when we ebb and flow to follow business cycles. 

In our company Datahoist Inc, we’re using AI and machine learning to do predictive analytics on elevators and moving walkways. We are aware of the bias that comes from AI in the fact that the machines are only as smart as we program them to be, which is a flaw that the industry understands. Rather than accept this logic, we took the approach of letting the elevator algorithms learn. So instead of telling the elevator how it should act based on it’s model and manufacturer we just simply have sensors that listen and learn how it is actually performing. Once we have a baseline or personality if you will of that particular elevator car, a personality that the customer is happy with, either as is or through repairs, etc, then that’s the starting point from that day forward.

From there we monitor 24/7 the behavior of that particular elevator through algorithms listening and learning and we alert the stakeholders to any changes in behavior outside it’s statistical norms. I see this knowledge as helping the customer, the service tech and really anyone interested in knowing ahead of time that you’re going to have a problem that can be scheduled and repaired, before you have a major costly outage and repair. 

I was reading an article where Junior and low level employees were being outsourced and even automated by machines. If this is the case, then how does a person starting out in a career ever make it from a Junior banker, for instance, into a Sr banker where the deal flow happens? This is exactly what has happened in the elevator industry as the industry as merged into only a few very large equipment companies that no longer teach the ins and outs of engineering to the techs working on the elevators. Thus that knowledge is gone and the Sr techs have all retired never to pass on this knowledge and so machine learning and products and businesses like ours step in to fill the gaps.

We make the elevator technicians smarter and more efficient which ultimately leads to happier customers, happier residents and happy service techs that can keep the elevators up and running knowing ahead of time what problems need to be addressed vs just a customer support call coming in telling them that their elevator is making a noise or the doors are broke, etc.  This technology is not taking anyone’s job and I would say, it is actually added a whole new segment to the businesses in the industrial space.

IIoT and AI will continue to add jobs worldwide for those that are willing to evaluate and learn and not fly away to retirement.  Seems a lot of smart people and smart money are thinking the same things as smart buildings and smart cities start to become the norm and will create millions of new jobs over the next decade. 

Marty Blackmon – President & COO Datahoist Inc

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Marty Blackmon