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AI seen as boon to both economy and jobs

Early adopters of artificial intelligence (AI) and cognitive technologies report strong opportunities for economic gains and job creation, according to a recent survey by consulting firm Deloitte.

Of the 250 U.S. senior executives Deloitte surveyed, 63 percent said their organizations already have training programs in place for employees to learn how to develop cognitive technologies or work alongside them.

Survey respondents did not see job loss as a key outcome of their AI-related efforts, with 69 percent expecting minimal to no job loss during the next three years. In fact, more than one quarter (29 percent) see the adoption of AI and cognitive technologies leading to the addition of new jobs within the same timeframe. When asked about perceived benefits of AI and cognitive technologies, workforce reduction was ranked the lowest (22 percent).

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Blue light illuminates cables on an E9000 blade server rack, manufactured by Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd., at the CeBIT 2017 tech fair in Hannover, Germany, on Monday, March 20, 2017. Leading edge technologies in the digital world are showcased in this annual event which runs March 20 - 24. Photographer: Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg

“There is a concern that ‘the rise of the machines’ will replace human workers, but we should look at how people and machines can work in collaboration as co-bots,” Deloitte CEO Cathy Engelbert said in a statement. “The ability to leverage new technologies to retool our workforce will ultimately lead to new opportunities to build high value skills for our workers.”

A large majority of respondents (92 percent) think cognitive technologies are an important aspect of their internal business process and 87 percent said they will play a significant role in improving their products and services.

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