As artificial intelligence (AI) and robots continue developing and becoming more intelligent and sophisticated, many governments and economies have to be concerned about where the trend could lead to.
Yes, it is likely that robots will increasingly continue to replace human workers. But what number and types of jobs will increasingly continue to be replaced by robots?
For sure, nobody can be quite certain. Therefore, it is much more important now—than at any other time in history—for people to be aware of the possibilities that surround the future of jobs that are under the radar of AI.
It’s also much more important for people to study to a greater extent and acquire new and diverse skill sets that can keep them grounded in case detrimental changes occur in work/workforce in the future.
Dr. Kai-Fu Lee (founder of Sinovation Ventures, and a leading expert on the growth of AI) made a statement regarding the types of jobs that will most likely be replaced by robots: “Every job which takes less than 5 seconds to think will be done by robots”.
This statement can serve as a helpful guideline for people who wish to make projections into the future, especially when considering their personal jobs. Think for a moment about the countless types of jobs that exist and select a few you can do without using up to 5 seconds to think.
In order to have a firmer job security in a future where robots will likely perform tasks that can be done by taking less than 5 seconds to think, people have to acquire the type of skills that enable them perform more creative and complicated tasks that are somewhat outside the league of AI and robots.
But which jobs are within the league of AI and robots and may increasingly continue to be replaced by AI and robots? According to the author of Rise of the Robots, Martin Ford, routine and repetitive jobs will be first replaced by/assigned to robots: “I personally believe that, in the future, we could well get into a situation where jobs simply disappear. And it will be especially any kind of job that is routine or repetitive on some level. A lot of those jobs are going to disappear.”
Most people wrongly assume that routine, automated, or repetitive tasks are not white-collar jobs. However, if we pay close attention to Dr. Lee’s statement and appreciate the potential of robots and AI technologies, we will come to realize that robots and AI technologies can also replace some white-collar jobs.
In fact, several experts in the field of AI once noted that the jobs that analyze data and trends will be the first to be occupied by robots. Unsurprisingly, tasks that were once performed by 600 traders employed by American investment bank Goldman Sachs Group, were later being performed by only 2 human beings and an orderly system of AI tools.
In addition to the financial and healthcare industries, it seems most jobs in the transportation industry will also be increasingly replaced by robots. Self-driving cars are already replacing jobs like taxi driving, and it may even become more common to see ships, boats, and aircraft controlled by AI and robots instead of humans.
Futurist Thomas Frey believes that up to 64 jobs will disappear when self-driving cars eventually become very popular. Among his list include the following:
- taxi, bus, and Uber driving jobs
- fire truck, ambulance, and tractor driving jobs
- delivery and courier jobs
- road construction/traffic control flagger jobs
- traffic analyst jobs
- forklift driving jobs
- lawnmower and snowplough operator jobs
- automated fruit harvester operator jobs
- valet jobs
- auto sales jobs
- account managers
- auto and transmission repair shop jobs
Generally, the jobs or tasks listed above don’t require much use of human qualities such as intuition, complex communication, negotiation, creativity, emotional intelligence, and training/coaching.
But to a great extent, they involve physical labor and their outcomes are direct and predictable, thus making them exceptional candidates that are qualified to be replaced by AI and robots.