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Digital Humans Supplementing Workforce in New Zealand

Artificial intelligence (AI) is emerging everywhere these days: as a virtual assistant on every new smartphone, a robo-advisor to assist with investment decisions, autonomous vehicles on our roads, and sophisticated algorithms underlying recommendation engines for many of the world’s leading web platforms.

Digital humans, developed by the New Zealand AI tech company, can already replace and supplement real humans in certain roles. However, the technology is still in its early stages. The tech company is currently working on digital humans for use in healthcare, human resources, education, and entertainment.

Digital humans are just one example of how automation is changing the way business is conducted. Robots are picking kiwifruit in the Bay of Plenty, milking cows in Waikato, transporting containers at Auckland Ports, and assisting with surgeries all over the country. Self-driving cars and smart self-checkout shopping carts are on the horizon.

A report entitled ‘Technological change and the future of work’  predicted that 46% of work in New Zealand was open to automation. That figure went up to 70% for labourers, machinery operators and drivers, and clerical and administration workers.

However, some technology experts believe that the talent shortage provides an opportunity for artificial intelligence to take the initiative. But contrary to prior reports that technological automation would mean the end of millions of jobs, one expert believes automation will create more employment of better quality. In line with this, the AI company is said to be more interested in creating a world where humans and machines work together, where AI improves jobs and helps people do them better.

The great unknown is how powerful artificial intelligence will become in the future. This will determine how much it alters the way we work. AI currently has what is known as “narrow” intelligence. It is programmed to carry out specific tasks. For example, there’s an AI that can play chess and that’s all it does. Humans have a unique cognitive ability to think and reason across domains and acquire knowledge to apply to unfamiliar tasks and problems, which is referred to as “general” intelligence.

If artificial intelligence remains within the bounds of “narrow” intelligence, its impact on jobs will be significant but limited. The point is, many of the world’s leading technology companies are working hard to develop general AI that is indistinguishable from the human mind. Build that, and the loss of human jobs may be the least of their worries.

Mental health is just one example of how AI can help relieve pressure on overburdened services by collaborating with people rather than replacing and freeing humans up to focus on more important tasks. Parts of human jobs could be automated, particularly those that are highly repetitive and uncomplicated, such as data entry.

An article from OpenGov reported that more than 1,200 enterprises around the world have accelerated their digital transformation initiatives, improved business outcomes and RoI from software investments, increased operational efficiency, and reduced risk with the Digital.ai Platform and associated solutions. Research indicates the global conversational AI platform market size is anticipated to grow from $4 billion in 2019 to $17 billion by 2025.

Artificial intelligence is now playing a critical role within the wider community in terms of enhancing efficiency and productivity, according to recent releases. It is the present and future efficiency driver for business and services around the world; one that is backed up by massive global investments. A report estimates that investment in AI, along with machine learning and robotic process automation technology, is set to reach $232 billion by 2025.

Although technological change undoubtedly displaces jobs, the overall net effect of technology tends to be positive. Implementation of technology can reduce the cost of products, spurring on additional demand and growing employment in higher-value areas.

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