AI
October 3, 2017

The Jobs Most At Risk From AI

Written By Nikki McCaig
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In a recent online survey, it was revealed that 60% of those in employed have reservations about the rise of AI technologies and fear they may lose their jobs to the complex software. 

With more and more AI developments on the rise, it seems increasingly likely that AI tech will become a familiar face in certain sectors of employment, perhaps even replacing the human workers currently occupying it.

Renowned scientist, Stephen Hawking, has expressed his concerns over the developments in AI, citing it as a ‘risk to human survival’, as well as a threat to many job roles and titles. But what exactly are the benefits of hiring an AI device over a human employee?

The expense of a human resource department would reduce to zero, but could potentially be replaced by repeat costs of maintenance and repair should the AI systems malfunction. As the technology is still relatively new to many sectors of business, this could be a significant factor in delaying their installation. However, the AI systems also come without the ‘extras’ human workers require i.e. sick leave, lunch breaks, annual paid holidays, childcare leave… Without these, there’s nothing stopping the technology from working on a constant, producing more and more work all day long.

The lack of personal interaction could also be a positive factor in some workplaces – typically those where employees are expected to interact frequently, such as offices, as they can be affected by personal disputes, friction, emotional issues and minor domestic issues slowing or prohibiting workflow. However, there are also arguments that, in many sectors, the human touch is a necessity. The creativity and passion of the arts, entertainment, marketing and writing industries is one that can never be replaced by technological processing, as well as the empathy of social and health care professionals.

But which jobs could be replaced by AI?

Librarians

Already seen as a ‘traditional’ profession, the role of a librarian is one that is rapidly being replaced by automated ‘checking out’ systems, digital book directories, and automatic late fee protocols.

With so many of the tasks performed by librarians being easily replicated by machinery and intelligent systems, this is, sadly, a profession unlikely to survive the digital revolution.

Accountants

With the term ‘accountancy’ covering a range of services, from invoicing and budgeting to payroll and payment proposals, there’s a lot required of the modern accountant. But with so much of their work involving digital money, rather than physical cash, it wouldn’t be too hard to convert physical accountants to digital replacements too. Automated invoicing systems, budget calculating apps, outsourced AI payroll distributors could all mean that the world of finance might be another sector to face a technical invasion.

Coding & Development

As strange as it sounds, but those currently developing the AI systems might just be the ones replaced by them. With the endless streams of code following complex patterns and formulas, and hapless strings of numbers and digits, who better to work through them than the very technology that’s made of them. Though some elements of development will still require a human hand, a large portion of coding can be simply processed through a piece of AI tech to achieve a great result – leaving it’s creator twiddling their thumbs and redundant.code

Receptionists

From corporate office blocks to GP surgeries, the role of the receptionist in the modern world is slowly in decline. Automatic sign in machines are on the up, and human greeters are sadly on the decline. For the millennial-led workspace, the expense a hiring a person simply to answer the phone is deemed unnecessary, with many company owners collecting apps to perform these tasks for them. Our workspaces are also getting smaller, and more unique – with increasingly diverse spaces being used for group work, leaving little room for excess receptionists desks and equipment. An AI system takes up no room at all, and is one less person to buy drinks for on the office night out, so it might be time to show the receptionist role the door.

Journalists

Whilst it’s likely that broadcast and breaking news will always be intercepted by human sources, the more statistical sectors of journalism, such as trade or finance, could be written up by AI in the coming years. The long pages of numbers, stocks and rates don’t necessarily require a human hand to publish, so long as the correct information is provided, and could be carried out much faster than even the most practiced speed-writer.accountant

There are pluses and minuses to replacing human workers with AI, and it’s bound to be the topic of many a debate in the coming months – but which is right? More AI systems in workplaces could mean a loss of jobs, but a significant increase in overall industry wealth, lowering the general cost of living, meaning those out of work might not struggle quite as much.

But loss of workers means that the industries depending on human employment, e.g. recruitment, travel, retail, suppliers could also face a loss in profit and conversion, causing further unemployment.

There’s a lot to be said for a culture that embraces a human workforce, but with jobs like these steadily decreasing, it’s more important than ever to prove your worth in your work.