Artificial Intelligence (AI) is taking the world by storm, with the global AI market expected to be worth $60 billion by the year 2025. Reports state that AI can increase business productivity by 40%, so it is clear to see why business are looking to invest in the new tech.
Within the life science industry, AI has already begun to improve the sector through advancements in medical diagnostics, and the acceleration of drug development. However, with reports suggesting that automations could replace 30% of the global human workforce by 2030, the question “what kind of threat does AI pose to life science jobs?” is highlighted. This shift could see nearly 400 million people forced to adapt and change their careers.
However, we must keep in mind that AI is not the same thing as automation. Automation takes away the need for human action, while AI relies on human interference to learn and adapt. AI will not replace people but enhance their ability to do their current jobs. A recent report from the World Economic Forum estimated that AI would create a net total of 97 million new jobs by 2025. The future will see AI and humans working in unison together.
AI Trainers and Interpreters
AI-based technologies in the life science industry produce massive amounts of data, often from a wide range of sources. AI technologies can be used in a multitude of ways, from data mining, to identifying diseases through medical scans. But the technology needs to be taught what exactly it is looking for and trained to do it efficiently; it does not “just know” – it needs to learn. That’s where trainers and interpreters come in. They will teach the AI and ensure it’s capable of performing the tasks it’s designed for.
Following the implementation of any AI technology, humans must step in to make sense of the data and produce something meaningful. As the life science industry continues to make huge advancements, the data will become even more vast, resulting in the need for different people with new skillsets, who can understand and provide context to the data.
Chatbot Developers and Engineers
AI can come in many different forms, including chatbots. A chatbot is a computer program which is designed to have conversations over the internet with human users. First used in the customer service sector, they are becoming increasingly common in the life science industry. For example, Buoy Health is an AI-based chatbot which aims to fill in incomplete medical records based on virtual conversations with patients. The chatbot “listens” to patients’ health issues, and then uses algorithms to guide the conversation and advise the correct therapy. This is a relatively new service and will potentially lead to more diagnoses. New roles are created with the implementation of this AI chatbot. The medical chatbot will need both developers, and engineers to create and maintain the AI.
The UK government and security experts have singled out the life science sector as being significantly vulnerable to cybercrime, so companies using AI to process or analyse sensitive data are opening themselves up to a world of new cybersecurity threats. A recent study found that of 26 business sectors analysed, the life sciences industry was the main target of IP theft, costing the UK £9.2 billion, of which it attributed £1.8 billion to theft of pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and healthcare IP. However, these criminal organisations who use AI to hack, or use AI for malware, are creating cybersecurity jobs. As the life science industry grows and the technology evolves and becomes more widespread, cybersecurity developers, testers, and security expert jobs will become more in-demand.
Robotic surgeries are a new and on the rise in the life science industry thanks to AI. Even so, it is a relatively new field and is gathering a large amount of interest. The robots can perform surgeries that previously would not have been able to be performed by human surgeons. People will be needed to train the robot with the intricacies of the surgery, which requires a specific skillset. Once they are trained, people will also be needed to maintain the robots and make sure that they are up to scratch. Only then will the robot have the capability to perform each operation consistently and accurately.
Despite AI having the potential to create so many new roles, one of the biggest challenges the life science industry faces is the shortage of talent. A recent survey showed that a major barrier when it came to implementing AI was a lack of skilled workers. AI allows life science organisations to add additional intelligence to applications, services, and digital resources, and provides an opportunity for businesses to provide the tools and opportunities for their employees to upskill and gain the competencies necessary to implement and maintain it effectively.
Michele Vinciguerra has more than a decade of experience in the technology and life science staffing sector. For support in strengthening the tech divisions within your organisation, connect with him here.