AI's Enrichment of I.T. Jobs

Scott Willson


As technology advances, we're seeing moreand more applications of artificial intelligence (AI) across variousindustries. Specifically, the field of knowledge work is undergoing significantchanges with the integration of AI systems. Here I will explore the evolvingrole of AI on IT jobs, as well as the potential impact of AI on softwaredevelopment jobs.

AI Is'nt Self-Aware Intelligence

First, my pet peeve. The public perceptionand, in my opinion, the publically accepted definition of AI more closely resemble"prediction machines" or "prediction algorithms." A moreaccurate description is machine learning (ML) algorithms. I used to see bothabbreviations placed together as AI/ML to try and capture the present and thefuture, but public consciousness is gravitating to the simpler and shorterabbreviation of just AI.


I have to note an objection I have to theterm artificial intelligence or AI. For brevity and to prevent my contrarianself from waning philosophical about why computers won't become self-aware (orat least in our lifetime), I will stick with AI, but with the understandingthat when I use AI, we are talking about prediction or ML algorithms. Now,let's dive into how AI will impact IT work.


AI in IT Work

As organizations collect and analyze moredata, it's becoming increasingly important to have effective informationmanagement systems in place. Traditional information management approachesinvolve capturing, organizing, and sharing information through various ITsystems such as databases, spreadsheets, methodologies (e.g., ITIL), andoff-the-shelf or custom software. However, these approaches often need to catchup when interpreting and acting on the nuances and complexities of a growingexpanse of data.

This data expanse is where AI can play avaluable role. By leveraging prediction algorithms, AI tools can analyze vastamounts of data and identify patterns and relationships that might be difficultor counterintuitive for humans to discern. AI can also help automate many ITtasks, such as content tagging, responding to emails, security threatdetection, outage prevention, etc., freeing IT personnel to focus on morevalue-added tasks.

AI and Software Development

While AI tools make IT employees (frankly,all knowledge workers) more productive, it raises concerns about the viabilityof many kinds of jobs. One area of concern is the potential for AI to take oversoftware programming jobs. As AI systems become more sophisticated, they mayeventually write their own code, replacing the need for human programmers.

However, it's important to note that AIdoes not replace human creativity, problem-solving skills, or, moreimportantly, judgment. While AI can perform specific programming tasks, such asbug fixing and optimization, it's unlikely to replace the need for humanprogrammers completely. AI may even create new programming jobs asorganizations seek to build and maintain AI systems.


Better AI Means Better Judgment


The better AI gets, the better and moreaccurate human judgment will become. AI does not provide judgment. It onlyprovides predictions and triggered automation based upon those predictions(e.g., self-driving cars or writing code). Only humans can make judgments. Onlyhumans can appropriately weigh actions' relative risks and rewards becausereality sits outside of silicon chips and requires an understanding of meaningand value.


Because humans derive meaning and valuefrom loss, pain, and success, humans' value-add to prediction algorithms is toprovide judgment based on AI's predictions. Humans do things by performing acombined prediction-judgment process in their brains. As AI improves and doesmore for us, humans will do less of the prediction part of this process andfocus more on judgment. In my opinion, this change in focus will increase thevalue of work performed by IT labor.


In Conclusion

AI is having a significant impact onknowledge workers, including IT jobs. While there may be some job displacementin the short term, AI is also creating new opportunities for IT professionalsand will increase the value of their work. IA has the potential to automatemany tasks and eliminate jobs. However, it's important to remember that AI doesnot replace human creativity and judgment. 

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