In 1947, the great English mathematician Alan Turing predicted that within the next 50 years, we would have intelligent machines that could think and make decisions like humans. His prophecy has come true, and today, artificial intelligence (AI) is taking over the world. From self-driving cars to personalised medicine, AI is now a key ingredient in our everyday life. On top of that, there are millions of jobs that are now at risk of being replaced by AI.
This is such a growing question that there’s even a website called, “Will Robots Take My Job?” The website’s name speaks for itself. You can look up a job title and see the likelihood of AI-driven doom.
So, will AI replace your job? Read on to find the 5 most likely jobs to be replaced, and the 5 that are safe.
Which Jobs Will AI Replace?
Heading up our list is the bookkeeper. Jobs in this role are expected to decline 8% by 2024. Most bookkeeping is becoming automated, if it hasn’t been already. QuickBooks, FreshBooks, and Microsoft Office already offer software that does the bookkeeping for you. And they are much more affordable than a person’s salary. So it’s no surprise this job has such a high probability of being replaced.
You probably already receive robo-calls on behalf of various products and services, and career growth in the telemarketing space is expected to decline by 3% by the year 2024. Unlike other sales roles, telemarketers don’t require a high level of social, or emotional, intelligence to be successful. Think about it – are you likely to purchase from a telemarketer? Conversion rates for direct telephone sales are typically less than 10%, making this role a ripe opportunity to be automated.
We’ve already seen attempts at replacing couriers and deliverers by drones and robots. It’s really only a matter of time before this space is dominated by automation. Demand is expected to increase by 5% by 2024, and the industry already finds it hard to recruit. Autonomous vehicles will impact this sector greatly. Level 3 (“eyes off”) vehicles, defined as those where ‘The driver can safely turn their attention away from the driving tasks, e.g. the driver can text or watch a film.’ are already being tested on roads internationally. Though it may well be another 20-25 years before we see Level 5 (“steering wheel optional”) vehicles.
Working as a Receptionist? Then the answer to the question Will AI Replace Your Job? is probably yes! Today receptionists are being replaced by automated phones and scheduling systems. This is common in modern technology companies, multinational corporations, and remote offices without office-wide telephone systems. It’s also becoming more widespread to check in to a hotel without human interaction through screens in the hotel reception area.
You could argue that it’s not AI that is replacing these roles but a wholesale change to shopping habits. However there is no doubt that AI bots are more likely to act as a salesperson than a real human during your online sales experience. Virtual try-ons and machine learning that analyses your body shape and suggests items that might suit you are already available.
And Which Jobs Will AI NOT Replace?
Human Resource Manager
It’s in the name really…. Your company’s Human Resources department will likely always need a human at the helm to manage interpersonal conflict with the help of non-cognitive and reasoning skills. The field is projected to grow 9% by 2024 as companies grow and need more robust structures for supporting and helping employees.
It takes time to understand what another person wants because they have different needs, tastes and preferences. Graphic designers combine art and techniques to create something original.
Further, each client will issue unique requirements and expect a graphic designer to create something per the specified instructions. Robots don’t have the skills and creativity needed for this job.
Spent the hard years at Law School? Here’s some is good news. Will AI Replace Your Job? Almost certainly not! Lawyers know how to interpret the law. AI lacks the ability to get the right argument and twist it to hit the opponent. They can’t reason or persuade humans; thus, it’s a huge task to replace this profession.
Sales managers need a high level of emotional intelligence to hit their quotas each month, network and collaborate with customers, and motivate and encourage the larger sales team. Managers also have to analyse data and interpret trends, and the high levels of intelligence required – plus the constant need to adapt to new situations – makes this role safe from automation.
It’s hard to understand how a human brain works, and even the best doctors and scientists have not been able to do so. Similarly, robots lack the ability to express feelings, show empathy and compassion needed to connect with people, and neither can they understand the human brain. If you’re a psychiatrist the answer to Will AI Replace Your Job? is a big no.
AI as Job Creator
Will AI Replace Your Job? If the answer based on the above seems to be yes then don’t panic quite yet because many disagree.
Gigaom CEO Byron Reese has a different take on how AI will affect human labour. He opined in a recent essay that AI will be “the greatest job engine the world has ever seen.”
“In fact,” Reese wrote, “the BLS [Bureau of Labor Statistics] forecasts faster-than-average job growth in many occupations that AI is expected to impact: accountants, forensic scientists, geological technicians, technical writers, MRI operators, dietitians, financial specialists, web developers, loan officers, medical secretaries, and customer service representatives, to name a very few. These fields will not experience job growth in spite of AI, but through it.
“But just as with the internet,” he added, “the real gains in jobs will come from places where our imaginations cannot yet take us.”
New Kinds Of Work
And history tells us that whilst some jobs might dissapear new ones will come along to replace them.
As part of a Ted Talk he gave in the Spring of 2017, futurist Martin Ford addressed the issue by harkening to the so-called Triple Revolution report that was assembled by a group of brainiacs (a pair of Nobel laureates among them) and presented to President Lyndon Johnson in early 1964. The report argued, in Ford’s telling, “that the U.S. was on the brink of economic and social upheaval because industrial automation was going to put millions of people out of work.”
That was more than a half century ago, he noted, “and of course that hasn’t really happened. And that’s been the story again and again. This alarm has been raised repeatedly, but it’s always a false alarm. And because it’s been a false alarm, it’s led to a very conventional way of thinking about this” — thinking which holds that technology “may devastate entire industries” and “wipe out whole occupations and types of work.” Nonetheless, he continued, “progress is going to lead to entirely new things” — new industries with new job opportunities “that today we can’t really even imagine.”
Future Proof Your Career – Get Creative!
AI guru Kai-Fu Lee — CEO of Sinovation Ventures and author of the 2018 book “AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order” is certain that many jobs remain safe from AI obsolescence. Namely, those that require creation, conceptualization, complex strategic planning management, precise hand-eye coordination, dealing with “unknown and unstructured spaces” and feeling or interacting “with empathy and compassion.” His full list of AI-proof professions includes psychiatry, physical therapy, medical care, AI-related research and engineering, teaching, criminal defense law, computer science and engineering, science, management and fiction writing.
Chris Nicholson, CEO of the San Francisco-based machine learning company Skymind.AI, shares a similar view rooted in even more distant history.
“Everybody uses this analogy, but when the Industrial Revolution came, a certain kind of job disappeared,” he says. “But many jobs, and many [new] jobs, were created. So when you think about, say, England before and after the Industrial Revolution, it wasn’t a poorer place where there was less work. There was a lot more work, but it was a different kind of work.”