Jobs that Would be More Difficult for AI and Robots to Replace or Perform

As discussed in the article titled “Jobs that May Increasingly Continue to be Replaced by AI and Robots”, it is likely that AI technologies and robots will increasingly continue to replace human workers in the future.

However, as can be clearly sensed and seen today, there are still many types of jobs—occupied by humans—that AI technologies and robots are not intelligent enough or well suited to perform.

A study carried out by Oxford Martin School grouped the jobs that can’t be automated—and are thus unlikely to be replaced by AI technologies and robots—into three major classes or groups:

1. Jobs that require active or hands-on participation or manipulation and occupied by:

  • Firefighters
  • Oral surgeons
  • Chiropractors
  • Makeup artists

2. Jobs that require at least a considerable degree of creativity and occupied by:

  • Art directors
  • Choreographers
  • Curators

3. Jobs that require social or societal perception, sensing, or awareness and occupied by:

  • Clergy (clergymen and clergywomen)
  • Coaches and scouts
  • Mental health workers
  • Nurses

The study also determined the probability (in %) of each of the above listed workers’ jobs becoming automated—which is low; the estimates indicate how unlikely it would be for the jobs—occupied by humans—to be replaced by AI technologies and robots:

  • Firefighters: 17%
  • Oral surgeons: 0.36%
  • Chiropractors: 2.7%
  • Makeup artists: 1%
  • Art directors: 2.3%
  • Choreographers: 0.4%
  • Curators: 0.7%
  • Clergy (clergymen and clergywomen): 0.8%
  • Coaches and scouts: 1.3%
  • Mental health workers: 0.3%
  • Nurses: 0.9%

A number of other occupations and skills aren’t mentioned in each of the three major classes or groups listed above. The study by Oxford Martin School is just one case of a research on the types of workers/jobs that would be difficult for AI technologies and robots to replace.

The study by Oxford Martin School provided me with insight which I used to identify various factors that make it more difficult for some jobs to be automated/replaced by AI technologies and robots. The factors include the following:

1. The absence of large quantities of data

None of the workers/jobs under the three major classes listed above deal with the collection and analysis of large quantities of data. In direct contrast, if you consider the types of jobs performed by workers in the financial sector, where trends and figures are a major part of everyday tasks, you would easily understand why most or all the jobs in the financial sector would likely be lost to AI technologies and robots. People who occupy jobs in the financial sector will be easier to replace than people who occupy jobs in sectors that don’t deal with large quantities of data.

2. The need for/presence of human interaction

The jobs that are associated with the types of workers listed above require some degree of interpersonal or human communication. Human beings will always be superior to AI systems and robots when it comes to interpersonal or human communication, and people who have strong communication skills will likely have stronger job security if they’re handling jobs that require human interaction.

3. The need for/presence of minimal repetition or routine

Because AI technologies and robots excel at repetitive tasks, jobs that require minimal/minimum degree of repetition everyday are less likely to be easily replaced by AI technologies and robots.

4. The need to apply intuition or learn through simple observation

AI technologies and robots rely greatly on monitors and cameras to gather data and learn, in order to function according to design or expectation. Therefore, the type of jobs that require a high degree of intuition or flexibility in reasoning/thinking will be more difficult for AI technologies and robots to replace.

Concluding remarks

If you consider the four factors briefly discussed above and think about several occupations that are easier or more difficult for AI technologies and robots to replace, you’d be better placed to understand the skills and jobs that humans would continue to thrive with in the future without facing serious threats from AI technologies and robots.

It has to be noted that jobs that are unpredictable and require intuition, planning, and deep thinking are ill-suited for/not compatible with AI technologies and robots, and can therefore be adequately handled or occupied by competent humans. Such jobs exist in universities and other educational institutions where AI technologies and robots will take the back seat.


4 thoughts on “Jobs that Would be More Difficult for AI and Robots to Replace or Perform

  1. Cosmetology is a profession that require skills that cannot be substituted! I cannot imagine a robot helping me with an afro, protective hairstyles, braiding, and the list goes on. Besides, can they gossip or tell jokes to kill time? I’m assuming they are not yet waterproof so no relaxing scalp massages or hair washing… 🤔 All in all, this was a good read!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Stacy, thanks so much for your encouraging remark and also for that insight: cosmetology cannot be substituted. “Can robots gossip or tell jokes to kill time?”—that was funny but real. Hell no, robots can’t entertain to kill time.

      Liked by 1 person

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