IBM believes that artificial intelligence (AI) will have an impact on the types of jobs people do in the future, and that it's "inevitable" that some job functions will be displaced.
This is according to Duncan Anderson, CTO of Watson Europe, speaking at Computing's Big Data and Analytics Summit 2016 in London last week.
"I think [AI] is going to have an impact on the types of jobs people do. Some people's jobs may change, others may not, but certainly what we're seeing right now is most of the implementations are not replacing jobs - they're supporting people to help them make better decisions," Anderson told V3.
"I think as the technology matures it's inevitable that some job functions will get displaced, but that means people get an opportunity to work in different areas."
Anderson talked of examples where the skills and talents of humans can be put to better use when assisted by AI, referring to a simulation shown during a earlier presentation of an AI communicating with a human over the matter of a stolen credit card.
"When I showed that example of the system where you're chatting with the bank, they may be topics you'd today chat to a human about, so in some senses that's displacing," he said.
"But in reality all the things we see in those kinds of environments - where there's more demand for the ability to chat with organisations - the organisations can fulfil with humans anyway.
"So when we automate those pieces of conversation, the humans can be freed up to have the more valuable conversations they can't currently have."
However, when asked whether AI is anywhere close to stealing the human crown of identifying, processing and dealing with customers' emotions, Anderson's reply may create more concern for the human workforce.
"I think we're definitely moving into that space. We can already identify the emotional state of what someone is typing, so it's a relatively trivial process from there for it to say: 'Because you're angry, I'm going into the upset customer dialogue and behave slightly differently,'" he said.
"So I think we're on the verge of systems that can adapt their behaviour due to the emotional state of customers."
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