TechDigits

Tech news
Wednesday, Sep 27, 2023

Artificial Intelligence: Jobs That AI Can’t Replace

Artificial Intelligence: Jobs That AI Can’t Replace

Amid the talk of artificial intelligence replacing workers, experts say there are some jobs computers aren’t taking – at least for a while.

Since the start of the industrial revolution, there have been threats that new machines – from mechanised looms to microchips – would usurp human jobs. For the most part, the humans have prevailed. Now, say some experts, with AI ubiquity on the horizon, the threat’s being realised: the robots really are coming for some jobs.

A March 2023 report from Goldman Sachs estimated that AI capable of content generation could do a quarter of all the work currently done by humans. Across the European Union and US, the report further notes, 300 million jobs could be lost to automation. And that could be dire, says Martin Ford, author of Rule of the Robots: How Artificial Intelligence Will Transform Everything.

“It's not just that this would happen to individuals, but it could be pretty systemic,” he says. “It could happen to a lot of people, potentially quite suddenly, potentially all at the same time. And that has implications not just for those individuals, but for the whole economy.”

Thankfully, it’s not all bad news. The experts issue their warnings with a caveat: there are still things AI isn’t capable of – tasks that involve distinctly human qualities, like emotional intelligence and outside-the-box thinking. And moving into roles that centre those skills could help lessen the chances of being replaced.

“I think there are generally three categories that are going to be relatively insulated in the foreseeable future,” says Ford. “The first would be jobs that are genuinely creative: you’re not doing formulaic work or just rearranging things, but you're genuinely coming up with new ideas and building something new.”

While a robot may ostensibly provide a faster diagnosis, patients will still want humans to guide and educate them


That doesn’t necessarily mean all jobs that are considered ‘creative’ are safe. In fact, things like graphic design and visual art-related roles may be among the first to go; basic algorithms can direct a bot to analyse millions of images, allowing AI to master aesthetics instantly. But there’s some security in other kinds of creativity, says Ford: “in science, and medicine and law … people whose job is coming up with a new legal strategy or business strategy. I think that there's going to continue to be a place there for human beings”.

The second insulated category, he continues, is jobs that require sophisticated interpersonal relationships. He points to nurses, business consultants and investigative journalists. These are jobs, he says, “where you need a very deep understanding of people. I think it’ll be a long time before AI has the ability to interact in the kinds of ways that really build relationships”.

The third safe zone, says Ford, “are jobs that really require lots of mobility and dexterity and problem-solving ability in unpredictable environments”. Many trade jobs – think electricians, plumbers, welders and the like – fall under this umbrella. “These are the kinds of jobs where you're dealing with a new situation all the time,” he adds. “They are probably the hardest of anything to automate. In order to automate jobs like this, you would need a science fiction robot. You’d need Star Wars’s C-3PO.”

While humans will likely remain in jobs that fall within those categories, that doesn’t mean those professions are totally insulated from the ascent of AI. In fact, says Joanne Song McLaughlin, associate professor of labour economics at the University of Buffalo, US, most jobs, regardless of industry, have aspects that are likely to be automated by the technology.

“In many cases, there’s no immediate threat to jobs,” she says, “but tasks will change.” Human jobs will become more focused on interpersonal skills, continues Song McLaughlin. “It’s easy to imagine that, for instance, AI will detect cancers way better than humans could. In the future, I’m assuming doctors will use that new technology. But I don’t think the doctor’s whole role will be replaced.”

Trade jobs and jobs that require a great deal of mobility are more likely to be insulated from automation


While a robot may ostensibly do a better job of finding cancer, she says, most people will still want a doctor – a real person – to be the one to tell them about it. That’s true of almost all jobs, she adds, and so developing those distinctly human skills could help people learn to do their jobs alongside AI.

“I think it’s smart to really think, ‘what kind of tasks within my job will be replaced, or will be better done by computer or AI? And what's my complementary skill?’” She points to bank tellers, who once had to be very accurate money counters. Now, that task has been automated – but there’s still a place for the teller. “The task of money counting became obsolete because of a machine,” she says. “But now, the tellers are more focused on connecting with customers and introducing new products. The social skill has become more important.”

It’s important to note, says Ford, that an advanced education or a high-paying position is not a defence against AI takeover. “We might think the person in the white-collar job is higher on the food chain than someone who drives a car for a living,” he says. “But the white-collar employee’s future is more threatened than the Uber driver, because we still don’t have self-driving cars, but AI can certainly write reports. In many cases, more educated workers are going to be threatened more than the least educated workers. Think of the person that works cleaning hotel rooms – it's really hard to automate that job.”

In short, seeking roles in dynamic, shifting environments that include unpredictable tasks is good way to stave off job loss to AI. At least, for a while.

Newsletter

Related Articles

TechDigits
Close
0:00
0:00
FTX's Bankman-Fried headed for jail after judge revokes bail
America's First New Nuclear Reactor in Nearly Seven Years Begins Operations
Southeast Asia moves closer to economic unity with new regional payments system
Today Hunter Biden’s best friend and business associate, Devon Archer, testified that Joe Biden met in Georgetown with Russian Moscow Mayor's Wife Yelena Baturina who later paid Hunter Biden $3.5 million in so called “consulting fees”
Google testing journalism AI. We are doing it already 2 years, and without Google biased propoganda and manipulated censorship
Musk announces Twitter name and logo change to X.com
The future of sports
TikTok Takes On Spotify And Apple, Launches Own Music Service
Hacktivist Collective Anonymous Launches 'Project Disclosure' to Unearth Information on UFOs and ETIs
Typo sends millions of US military emails to Russian ally Mali
Server Arrested For Theft After Refusing To Pay A Table's $100 Restaurant Bill When They Dined & Dashed
Democracy not: EU's Digital Commissioner Considers Shutting Down Social Media Platforms Amid Social Unrest
Sarah Silverman and Renowned Authors Lodge Copyright Infringement Case Against OpenAI and Meta
Why Do Tech Executives Support Kennedy Jr.?
The New York Times Announces Closure of its Sports Section in Favor of The Athletic
Florida Attorney General requests Meta CEO's testimony on company's platforms' alleged facilitation of illicit activities
The Poor Man With Money, Mark Zuckerberg, Unveils Twitter Replica with Heavy-Handed Censorship: A New Low in Innovation?
The Double-Edged Sword of AI: AI is linked to layoffs in industry that created it
US Sanctions on China's Chip Industry Backfire, Prompting Self-Inflicted Blowback
Meta Copy Twitter with New App, Threads
BlackRock Bitcoin ETF Application Refiled, Naming Coinbase as ‘Surveillance-Sharing’ Partner
UK Crypto and Stablecoin Regulations Become Law as Royal Assent is Granted
A Delaware city wants to let businesses vote in its elections
Alef Aeronautics Achieves Historic Milestone with Flight Certification for World's First Flying Car
Google Blocked Access to Canadian News in Response to New Legislation
French Politicians Advocate for Pan-European Regulation on Social Media Influencers
Melinda French Gates Advocates for Increased Female Representation in AI to Prevent Bias
Snapchat+ gains 4 million paying subscribers in its first year
Apple Makes History as the First Public Company Valued at $3 Trillion
Elon Musk Implements Twitter Limits to Tackle Data Scraping, but Faces Criticism for Technical Misunderstanding
EU and UK's Slow Electric Vehicle Adoption Raises Questions About the Transition to Green Mobility
Top Companies Express Concerns Over Europe's Proposed AI Law, Citing Competitiveness and Investment Risks
Meta Unveils Insights on AI Usage in Facebook and Instagram, Amid Growing Calls for Transparency
Crypto Scams Against Seniors Soar by 78% in 2022, Experts Urge Vigilance
The End of an Era: National Geographic Dismisses Last of Its Staff Writers
Shield Your Wallet: The Perils of Wireless Credit Card Theft
Harvard Scientist Who Studies Honesty Accused Of Data Fraud, Put On Leave
Putting an End to the Subscription Snare: The Battle Against Unwitting Commitments
The Legal Perils of AI: Lawyer Faces Sanctions for Relying on Fictional Cases Generated by Chatbot
ChatGPT’s "Grandma Exploit": Ingenious Hack Exposes Loophole in AI, Generates Free Software Codes
The Disney Downturn: A Near Billion-Dollar Box Office Blow for the House of Mouse
A Digital Showdown: Canada Challenges Tech Giants with The Online News Act, Meta Strikes Back
Distress in the Depths: Submersible and Passengers Missing in Titanic Wreckage Expedition
Mark Zuckerberg stealing another idea: Twitter
European Union's AI Regulations Risk Self-Sabotage, Cautions smart and brave Venture Capitalist Joe Lonsdale
Nvidia GPUs are so hard to get that rich venture capitalists are buying them for the startups they invest in
Chinese car exports surge
Reddit Blackout: Thousands of Communities Protest "Ludicrous" Pricing Changes
Nvidia Joins Tech Giants as First Chipmaker to Reach $1 Trillion Valuation
AI ‘extinction’ should be same priority as nuclear war – experts
×