A study by Microsoft and ICD Asia/pacific revealed that 26 percent of new jobs will be created as a result of digital transformation | Source: Shutterstock

Why AI will create more and better jobs in Asia

WITH the inexorable march of artificial intelligence (AI) comes the tremendous fear that many of our jobs will be replaced by robots with algorithmic veins and metal hearts.

But now it’s time to stop the doomsday rhetoric surrounding AI and digital transformation, as studies suggest that robots are here to give us a promotion, not to snatch away our jobs.

A recent study from Microsoft and IDC Asia/Pacific has revealed that by 2021, digital technologies including mobility, cloud, Internet of Things, and AI, will contribute to approximately 60 percent of the APAC region’s GDP.

Microsoft Asia President Ralph Hunter singles out AI as the primary catalyst for further growth, telling HRM Magazine Asia:

Our customers across Asia are already demonstrating a strong sense of urgency to integrate AI into their business as part of their digital transformation initiatives.

The study revealed that 26 percent of new jobs will be created as a result of digital transformation, therefore opposing the threats imagined by many employees today.

The finding of the study also revealed that of the 85 percent of jobs expected to be transformed by digitalization in the next three years, one half will actually result in better job roles.

The Singapore government’s 2018 Budget on Monday spoke profoundly of innovation, digitalization, and deep core capability-building. This could mean that IDC’s 2021 projections could be met by the country sooner than predicted.

While digital transformation seems well underway within 85 percent of Asia-Pacific organizations, only seven percent of these can be considered as what the research calls ‘digital leaders’. These are described as those organizations that have a digital transformation strategy in place, with a third of their revenue derived from digital products and services.

The study reveals that organizations considered to be leaders in the digital space will accrue twice as many benefits as followers do, experiencing improvements in areas such as productivity and cost reductions.


Skills in machine learning and computational creativity are becoming increasingly sought after | Source: Shutterstock


At present, many companies who have embarked on a digital transformation journey still face data monetization and security problems. However, according to the study, by as early as 2019, 40 percent of digitalization initiatives will be supported by AI and other cognitive tools, with expectations of reinventing operating and monetization models.

According to Microsoft Singapore Managing Director Kevin Wo, AI skills such as machine learning programming and computational creativity will become much sought after in the future. At present, these are areas in which skills are currently lacking

However, various government interventions are seeking to address this problem. The “Capability Transfer Programme (CTP)” was announced during the Singapore Budget speech Monday, an initiative to plug the gap in certain skills.

The country’s finance minister announced that the CTP will support the transfer of skills from foreign specialists to Singaporean trainers and trainees.