3 new jobs A.I. is creating: Trainers, explainers, and sustainers | Paul Daugherty

Where will you work in the future? As automation revs its engine and academic institutions take up megaphones to predict the end of the human workforce, we may have overlooked a vast area of employment where human intelligence and machine intelligence collaborate, says Paul Daugherty, chief technology and innovation officer at Accenture. Daugherty calls this the “missing middle”—an employment-rich zone for people in humanities, STEM, and service jobs. There are three specific kinds of jobs that A.I. is creating right now: trainers, explainers, and sustainers. Here, Daughtery explains each type of job and delves further into how A.I. will change the future of work for people in design, customer service, and medicine. Human + Machine: Reimagining Work in the Age of AI


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Transcript: One of our fundamental premises with ‘Human + Machine’ is really the “plus” part of human plus machine.

There’s been a lot of this dialogue about polarizing extremes, that the machines can do certain things and humans can do certain things, and as a result we end up with this battle, kind of pitting what the machines will do versus the humans. We think that creates the wrong dynamics.

So with ‘Human + Machine’ we’re trying to reframe the dialogue to: what’s the real interesting space, and really the big space, where humans and machines collaborate—we call it collaborative intelligence—and come together and help provide people with better tools powered by A.I. to do what they do more effectively?

And if you think about it that way, we really believe that with A.I. we’re not moving into a more machine-oriented age, we’re actually moving into an age that’s a more human age, where we can accentuate what makes us human, empowered by more powerful tools that are more humanlike in their ability, and that creates these new types of jobs.

So we call that the ‘missing middle’ because there hasn’t been a lot of discussion about these jobs in the middle where people and machines collaborate. And we’ve come up with two sets of jobs. On one side you have the jobs where people are needed to help machines, and that’s not a category that too many people focus on. We think it’s an important one and I’ll come back to that in a minute. On the other side, we have a set of jobs where machines help people, machines give people new superpowers. And those are the two broad categories of jobs we see in the ‘missing middle’.

So in that set of jobs where people are needed to help machines, there are a few interesting, novel, new categories of jobs we found that people don’t often think about and we call those trainers, explainers, and sustainers, and they’re very important things for all organizations to think about as you think about how to deploy artificial intelligence in your organization.

So think about a trainer. What we mean by a trainer is it’s a new type of job where a person is needed to train A.I. or train the machines that we’re using in businesses. We’re not talking about simple things like tagging data for supervised learning—that’s included, but that’s just the start of it. What we’re really talking about here is more sophisticated forms of training that are needed so that our artificial intelligence and our systems behave properly.

For example, for companies we’re working with that are developing chatbots and virtual agents, if you’re a bank you might want a very different type of personality than a media company or a gaming company or a casino, and embodying the personality, the behavior, the culture, the characteristics, the nature of the response in your A.I. is a really important consideration for companies. Because we talk about the idea that with A.I., you know, A.I. becomes the brand of your company because it’s the face of the company and how your company is perceived by your customers. So this idea of a trainer that brings in skills to develop that kind of behavioral response for your A.I. is a really important skill. And we’re hiring people to do these jobs today, people with backgrounds in things like sociology, psychology and other areas. Not a technical skill but a new type of role that’s very important to get A.I. right as you apply it to your organization. Another type of job where we see people needed to help machines are explainers and sustainers, and I’ll talk about these two a little bit together. Explainers are new roles where we need people in roles where they can explain the implications of artificial intelligence.