More than 80% of organizations reveal their workforce will undergo significant re-skilling due to AI implementations over the next two years
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is extremely important to the future of work and organizations that have projects with a high suitability for Machine Learning (ML) are expected to receive investments that are broader in scope and quantum, according to Intel India and Srini Raju Centre for Information Technology and the Networked Economy (SRITNE), ISB’s report, titled The Impact of Artificial Intelligence (AI) on the Indian Labor Market. These projects are also expected to see high growth in investments over the next five years. The study also indicates a growth in workforce hiring and re-training over the next two years.
The study assesses the size and scope of the impact of AI on businesses, including shifts in the quantum and nature of employment and human capital development. The findings of the report are based on two surveys - the Suitability of Machine Learning (SML) Survey among 3,099 employees across 106 Indian occupations designed to measure the suitability for machine learning for each occupation, and the AI and Future of Work Survey of 301 firms across Indian sectors that have adopted AI/ML in their workflows.
Using the results from the two surveys, the researchers from SRITNE undertook the following four studies:
- A survey of 3,099 individuals employed in diverse occupations across India was conducted to assess the suitability of machine learning (SML) and, in turn, the resultant susceptibility of 106 Indian occupations, as defined by the National Classification of Occupations (NCO 2004).
- The task evaluation rubric comprised 23 questions pertaining to SML. Occupations such as painters, legal professionals, personal care, precision workers showed high SML scores whereas occupations involving mining, construction, printing, metal moulding, wood processing and others scored low on the SML Index. Sectors and occupations that score high on the SML Index are more suitable for ML, and firms in such sectors show greater potential to fully realize the benefits of ML by reimagining business models, processes and nature of jobs.
- The study also enabled the SRITNE researchers to assess occupations from the perspective of amenability to remote work and need for human proximity during task execution.
- The analysis of this survey was used to create occupational indices for SML, Need for Human Proximity (NHP) and Remote Work.
- To provide nuanced commentary on the interaction between machine and humans, job redesign for the future and re-engineering of businesses and business processes, the researchers at SRITNE conducted the AI and Future of Work survey. The survey, conducted over a period of three months with 301 firms in India that have adopted AI/ML in their workflows, captures information related to their AI/ML initiatives, and their broad impacts on innovation, productivity, and worker behavior, including the organizational mechanisms underlying such impacts. Some key findings include:
- Over 90% respondents consider AI to be essential or highly relevant to their business.
- More than 70% of respondents find shifts in competence acquisition with the advent of AI. Such shifts could either require incorporation of fundamentally new concepts or principles in task execution, new skills that the firm did not possess, learning from completely new or different knowledge bases, adopting different methods and procedures or carrying out a high degree of re-training.
- Over 70% of respondents across various firm categories expect their organizational headcount to increase in response to AI over the next two years.
- At least 70% of respondents have indicated the growth of all firm-level initiatives to support AI adoption.
- An overwhelming 80% of their workforce will undergo significant re-training due to AI implementation over the next two years.
To evaluate the nature of the human-machine interaction for decision-making, the survey considered the following scenarios: lack of automation, decision support (system suggests; human decides and acts), consensual AI (human concurs with systems), monitored AI (human has veto) and full automation (no role of human).
- Nearly 70% of high-revenue firms rely on consensual AI, monitored AI and decision-support mechanisms for decision-making.
- In medium sized firms, nearly 50% of the firms rely entirely on human decision-making as they do not use AI.
- More than 40% of small and micro revenue firms use AI for decision support.
- Over 80% of respondents from the survey indicated that either the organization or more than one department in the organization stood to benefit with AI deployment.
- An overwhelming 80% of the surveyed small, micro, medium and high-revenue firms have specific AI teams. Nearly 40% of all firms indicate that a designated program manager is responsible to provide oversight to AI initiatives.
- The SML index was also used to understand the implications of AI and ML for (online) economic activity. The researchers used Twitter posts of NIFTY 500 firms as a proxy for economic activity. They combined the sectoral scores with firm-level tweets and analyzed the differential impact of the nationwide lockdown imposed earlier this year due to the pandemic.
- The study corroborates existing research on digital resilience that states digital platforms can increase the survival rate of firms during a crisis by providing continuity in access to customers.
- Sectors and occupations with digitized operations will be able to counter the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, thereby demonstrating a high degree of digital resilience when compared to their peers with lesser or no digitization of operations.
- Lastly, the SRITNE researchers utilized a multi-source dataset consisting of the NHP scores for 106 job types estimated before the COVID-19 induced country-wide lockdown in India and a survey of employees’ experience working remotely conducted during the lockdown.
- The analysis revealed that employees working in jobs with high NHP are both less productive and experience greater isolation than those working in jobs with low NHP.
- The research highlights the need for organizations to optimally design workplace processes and structures to minimize communication and coordination challenges resulting from remote work that likely account for more adverse work outcomes for employees in high NHP jobs.
These results have also led the research team at ISB to develop an AI Index, a multi-dimensional repository of information that will provide a comprehensive understanding of AI for researchers, policymakers, executives, and the general public to develop a deeper understanding of the state of AI in India.