Artificial intelligence — while still in its nascent stages — seems to be omnipresent, revolutionizing everything including the way we work and the way we make money. Of course, one of the most talked-about effects of AI’s rapid surge is the toll it’s taking on jobs.
For instance, a new Challenger, Gray & Christmas report found that nearly 4,000 jobs were lost due to AI in May.
Goldman Sachs analysts said they estimate that one-fourth of current work tasks could be automated by AI in the U.S., with particularly high exposures in administrative (46%) and legal (44%) professions and low exposures in physically intensive professions such as construction (6%) and maintenance (4%).
Yet, against this intimidating backdrop, experts say some jobs will be less threatened, as the technology won’t be able to crush them or take over.
“AI and automation will continue to revolutionize industries and reshape jobs,” said Andrew Latham, CFP, director of content of SuperMoney.com. “There are few — if any — sectors that will be untouched by the AI wave, but there are plenty of jobs that won’t be replaced any time soon. For example, farmers, construction workers, healthcare providers, teachers, legal professionals and business strategists will continue to use AI as a tool, but their jobs are safe for now.”
Here are some of those jobs.
There is expected to be a 30% rise in jobs for agricultural professionals in the coming five years, according to the World Economic Forum (WEF) Future of Jobs Report 2023. One of the reasons for this growth is that workers in this area are far less likely to be impacted by generative AI and Large Language Models such as ChatGPT, according to WEF.
In addition, Latham said that while machinery can assist with planting and harvesting, there is a nuanced understanding of the land, climate and individual crops required in agriculture that cannot be wholly automated.
“Farmers must make complex decisions considering environmental factors, pest management, soil health and crop rotations, often relying on generations of shared knowledge,” he said. “Moreover, roles related to sustainable farming and agricultural science necessitate a human touch, from conducting field research to implementing eco-friendly practices.”
While AI is enhancing and accelerating medical research and treatment, some aspects of the medical field cannot be replaced by the new technology.
“While AI can assist in diagnosis and treatment plans,” Latham said, “the human ability to empathize, provide comfort and make nuanced judgments based on a patient’s overall situation is irreplaceable.”
The sentiment was echoed by several experts, such as Todd Stearn, founder and CEO of The Money Manual, who said registered nurses won’t be replaced by AI anytime soon.
“Nurses often need to lift patients, administer injections and provide medications,” Stearn said. “Nurses also use critical thinking skills to assess patients. In addition, nurses give patients and their families emotional support. People don’t want automated sympathy from a computer. That sincere human connection makes a real difference.”
Mental Health Professionals
The use of AI for mental health is also surging. For instance, facial recognition technology is being developed to introduce AI counseling care, “but given the delicate nature of mental health, many feel that a human touch will always remain essential,” an Insight Global bog post noted.
There are also a slew of mental health apps that are increasingly cropping up.
Despite the growth in AI-driven mental health apps, the need for human empathy, understanding and emotional intelligence in fields such as therapy and counseling is unlikely to be supplanted, Latham said.
“These professions lean heavily on deeply human nuances and connections,” he said.
Teachers and Educators
Jobs in the education industry are expected to grow by 10% by 2027, leading to 3 million additional jobs for vocational education teachers and university and higher education teachers, according to WEF. This is partly because AI cannot generate soft skills such as empathy, leadership, social influence, active listening and people management.
“Teachers also play a significant role in providing guidance based on their life experiences,” said Travis Lindemoen, founder at Enjoy Mondays. “Automation cannot replicate this. While automation advances, humans still have the edge in accuracy and understanding nuanced lessons learned from mistakes.”
As Insight Global notes, contractors and construction workers have specific skills AI cannot replicate or that are beyond AI, such as dexterity, hand-eye coordination and flexibility to work across a variety of job settings.
Latham said elements of construction such as brick-laying or concrete dispensing can be automated, but many other aspects require a human touch.
“Jobs that involve intricate workmanship, like carpentry, or roles that require on-the-spot problem solving and adaptability, like site managers, are less likely to be automated,” he said, adding that tasks requiring compliance with complex safety regulations and quality standards often need a human eye for detail.
CEOs, Strategy and Management Professionals
These roles require a high level of strategic decision making, as well as a deep understanding of complex, interrelated systems and the ability to make judgments based on a multitude of factors, Latham said.
“These strategic decisions often involve a level of intuitive thinking and ethical consideration that AI currently cannot replicate,” he added.
Despite much talk about driverless cars, trucks and taxis, there are relatively low expectations about the impact of autonomous vehicles on job creation, which suggests that the profession of driver is not likely to disappear in the near future, according to WEF.
“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,” Martin Ford, author of “Rule of the Robots: How Artificial Intelligence Will Transform Everything,” told the BBC. “But the white-collar employee’s future is more threatened than the Uber driver, because we still don’t have self-driving cars [everywhere], but AI can certainly write reports.”
Writers and Artists
AI is good at detecting and recreating patterns, so it can be easy for it to write reports or results based on processing current data.
Yet, when it comes to creative writing, especially fiction writing, AI may fall short, said Chas Cooper, CEO of Luminos.
“It can likely create stories based on repeated patterns, but people are always on the lookout for things that are unique and new,” Cooper said. “That means interesting concepts and storylines that likely have not been done often enough for an AI to spot a pattern that it can recreate.”
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