Jobs Not Threatened by Artificial Intelligence… Yet

By | May 9, 2023

Since the “dawn” of the industrial revolution, there have been fears that machines, from power looms to microchips, “steal” jobs from people, making them redundant. “For now, humans mostly prevail. But now that he Artificial intelligence it will spread to almost all industries the threat comes true, according to some experts: robots will indeed take some jobs.

A Goldman Sachs report from March 2023 estimates that Artificial intelligence could take over 25% of all the work humans do today. Across the European Union and the US, 300 million jobs could be lost to automation. “And that could be terrible,” says Martin Ford, author of Robot Rule: How Artificial Intelligence Will Transform Everything.

“It won’t necessarily happen to individuals, it could be systemic,” he says. “It could happen to many people, possibly all of a sudden, possibly all at once. And this will have an impact not only on those laid off but on the entire economy.”

But it’s not just bad news. Experts estimate, with one caveat, that there are still things that AI is not capable of: tasks that require human skillssuch as emotional intelligence and “outside the box” thinking. And moving into roles that focus on those skills could help reduce the chances of a worker being replaced by an AI system.

“I see three categories that will be relatively protected for the foreseeable future,” says Ford. “The first is about creative works: when you’re not doing standard tasks, you’re not ‘rearranging things’ either, but actually coming up with new ideas and creating something new.”

Source: Unsplash

This does not necessarily mean that all works considered “creative” are safe.. In fact, graphic design and visual arts related jobs may be among the first to be lost: basic algorithms can direct a robot to analyze millions of images, allowing the AI ​​to fully and instantly understand what is being displayed. he asks. . Other creative professions, however, enjoy relative safety, says Ford: “in science, medicine and law… people whose job it is to come up with a new legal strategy or business strategy. I think there will continue to be places for people.”

The second “safe” category are jobs that require sophisticated interpersonal relationships. Nurses, business consultants and journalists – researchers. These are jobs, she says, “where you need a very deep understanding of people. I think it will be a long time before AI has the ability to interact in ways that actually create relationships.”

Only a C-3PO could become a plumber.

The third safe category, according to Ford, are jobs that require a lot of mobility, dexterity and the ability to solve problems in unpredictable environments. Lots of technical work: electricians, plumbers, welders – belong to this category. “They’re the kind of jobs where you’re constantly faced with new situations,” she adds. “It’s probably harder than anything else to automate. To automate such jobs, you would need a sci-fi robot. You’d need C-3PO from Star Wars.”

While humans are likely to remain in jobs that fall into these categories, these occupations will not be fully affected by the rise of artificial intelligence. In fact, says Joan Song McCollin, an associate professor of labor economics at the University at Buffalo in the US, most jobs, regardless of industry, have aspects that are likely to be automated by technology.

Working together with Artificial Intelligence

“In many cases, there is no immediate threat to jobs,” he says, “but homework will change». Human jobs will focus more on interpersonal skills, McCollin believes. “It is easy to imagine, for example, that artificial intelligence detects cancers much better than humans. In the future, I assume that doctors will use this new technology. But I don’t think the whole role of the doctor will be replaced.”

While a robot can apparently detect cancer much more effectively, most people will still want a doctor, a real person, to be the one to tell them. This is true of almost all jobs, he adds, so developing these distinctly human skills could help humans work alongside AI.

“I think it’s smart to really think, what kinds of tasks in our work will be replaced or enhanced by computers or artificial intelligence;. And what are the complementary skills”. Ford gives the example of bank tellers, who previously had to be very precise when counting money. Now, this task has been automated, but there is still a position for the cashier. “The job of counting money was made obsolete by a machine,” he says. “But now, tellers are more focused on connecting with customers and introducing new products. Social skill has become more important.”

Neither an academic education nor a well-paying job is a “shield” against AI, says Ford. “We might think that an office worker is higher than food chain of someone who drives a car for a living,” says Ford. “But the employee’s future is more threatened than the Uber driver’s, because we don’t have self-driving cars yet, but AI can certainly write reports. In many cases, more educated workers will be more threatened than less educated workers.Think of the person who works cleaning hotel rooms: it is very difficult to automate that work”.

In short, seeking jobs in dynamic and changing environments with unpredictable situations is a good approach to avoid losing your job to AI. At least for a while longer.

Source: BBC

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