Technologists upbeat about AI impact on their careers, but not on society

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Artificial intelligence will shape the technology landscape of the 2020s, but unintended consequences pose big risks, according to a new report from ISACA, a technology professional association.

The evolving relationship between AI, automation and humans is expected to create promising opportunities in the technology workforce, while simultaneously presenting sobering concerns for the general public, the study said.

For its research, ISACA surveyed more than 5,000 business technology professionals, and found that respondents are significantly more optimistic about how technology advancements in the new decade will impact their career than they are about how it will impact society as a whole.

Some 59 percent of respondents expressed optimism for the ramifications of AI on their careers, compared with only 40 percent who are similarly upbeat about the overall societal impact.

From a workplace standpoint, respondents are optimistic that technological changes will both position their organizations for success and bolster their paychecks. A majority of respondents (87 percent) said AI/machine learning will have a major or moderate impact on enterprises’ profitability.

In addition, 58 percent expect that the evolving technology landscape will result in pay increases for technology professionals. The nature of most technology roles is expected to be recalibrated by AI and increased integration of technology in the workplace, with 93 percent of respondents expecting an augmented workforce, with people, robots and AI working closely together.

While AI/machine learning was identified as the most important enterprise technology of the next decade, followed by cloud platforms and big data, the potential downside of malicious AI attacks factors into the more pessimistic views of how society could be affected by technology in the next decade.

Only 50 percent of respondents say they believe it is likely or very likely enterprises will give the ethical ramifications of AI deployments sufficient attention.

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