Fri | May 24, 2019

Tech exec: Artificial intelligence won't lead to wide-scale job cuts - tech exec

Published:Friday | April 19, 2019 | 12:12 AMMark Titus/Gleaner Writer
Jim Iyoob, chief customer officer of Etech Global Services.

A top executive of a leading outsourcing firm has rubbished the popular notion that the imminent implementation of artificial intelligence (AI) in commercial operations would result in a mass loss of jobs.

Speaking to The Gleaner after his presentation at the second staging of Outsource2Jamaica symposium and conference held at the Montego Bay Convention in Montego Bay recently, Jim Iyoob, chief customer officer at Etech Global Services, says the claim is being made by mainly software development firms that are likely to benefit the most.

“A software company will tell you that artificial intelligence will replace our people, but I am a firm believer that will not happen, in fact, at Etech, we believe that there are going to be more jobs.”

“If you look at artificial intelligence, it actually enhances customer experience, helps to make better decisions, but the real process behind this engine that people talk about is all driven by human intelligence because machines cannot be creative, people are creative."

Added Iyoob: "Simple tasks can be automated, but the more important tasks will have to be handled by a human being."

During his presentation at the inaugural staging last year, then Technology Minister Dr Andrew Wheatley argued that artificial intelligence and machine learning was likely to threaten traditional jobs, even those in the rapidly emerging sector of business process outsourcing.

"Technologies such as cloud computing, social media, software and automation are increasingly being used by BPOs to reduce costs and accelerate growth,” he stated.

“It is, therefore, imperative that a forum such as this one be utilised to build capacity and provide collaborative opportunities, so that we can make the industry more dynamic.”

Artificial intelligence, also known as machine intelligence, is applied when machines imitate or reproduce cognitive functions, such as learning and problem solving, associated with human beings.

mark.titus@gleanerjm.com