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February 11th, 2023
What Happens When Jobs Are Replaced by AI? (5 Potential Outcomes)
With the recent advancements of ChatGPT and other AI models, many people are scared of losing their jobs.
But what is the likelihood of this scenario actually happening, and what would be the consequences?
And what would happen if jobs are replaced by AI?
In this article, we will explore the different possibilities.
Will AI Take Over Jobs?
It is estimated that within the next two decades, AI will replace 31% of all tasks in the US.
This conclusion was reached from a study we ran that analyzed US employment and categorized the jobs into three categories: likely to be replaced by AI, irreplaceable, and in between.
Jobs that are considered irreplaceable include complex manual labor tasks, such as appliance repairs, jobs that require human social skills, such as parenting, and jobs that involve human creativity, like performance arts.
Jobs that are highly likely to be replaced by AI include office administration work, basic robotics automation, writing, art, and others. A significant portion of workers in these fields could lose their jobs to AI, unless government policies are put in place to protect them.
Jobs like software engineering, sales, and marketing are in between and could see partial replacement by AI.
Even though AI can replace some tasks – it isn’t capable of replacing a human entirely. Here’s an example: Even though AI art generators are capable of producing some masterpiece artworks, it can’t maintain consistency through its artworks.
If someone wanted the same character drawn in different poses and facial expressions, the AI cannot do this without a lot of human intervention. Artists who learn AI techniques like in-painting and img2img will largely benefit as a result of this.
Should You Be Worried About AI Taking Over Jobs?
In summary, if you’re working in a field that’s highly likely to be automated by AI, there should be some degree of concern. People who say otherwise don’t understand the dynamics of supply and demand.
Let me explain:
The more AI fills the gap for a role, the less hiring demand there will be for that role.
Shift of Supply and Demand
If I have a million dollar budget to make a film, normally I would distribute the budget like this (as an example):
$500K into screenwriting, music, video editing, visual effects.
$500K into cast, makeup and production costs.
Now let’s say AI comes along and can fill most the gap for the first category.
My budget is still the same. It’s $1 million.
But instead of having to put $500K into screenwriting, music, video editing, visual effects, I only need to put $100K into it and have AI do the rest.
Now I get to spend $900K on a better cast, makeup and production team.
The demand has shifted into the latter category.
As AI becomes really good at certain tasks – you are going to start to see demand shifting to other jobs, unless laws are put in place to prevent it.
New jobs will also be created due to AI.
Higher Outputs, Lower Costs
When factories came out, we were able to produce food, clothing, electronics and textiles at a much faster rate.
This meant the cost of labor to produce these items are significantly lower and the costs of items were lowered (due to competition).
The better we are able to automate stuff, the cheaper the items become.
When factories first came out, many jobs were lost, but many new jobs were created in the manufacturing sector. There was also an increased demand for production materials.
What Jobs Can’t be Replaced by AI?
In theory, AI could replace any job, but realistically, there are some jobs that are safe from automation. These jobs include:
AI cannot fully replace teachers because teaching is a complex task that involves more than just conveying information. Good teachers are skilled at not only imparting knowledge but also inspiring and motivating students, fostering critical thinking, and providing emotional support.
These interpersonal skills, empathy, and the ability to build relationships with students are unique to human teachers and cannot be replicated by AI.
Additionally, teaching is a dynamic process that requires constant adaptation and flexibility to respond to individual student needs, classroom dynamics, and changes in curriculum.
AI systems, although advanced, lack the human intuition, creativity, and problem-solving abilities that are essential in teaching and are crucial for creating an engaging and effective learning environment.
Furthermore, education is not only about imparting knowledge, but also about nurturing character, values, and ethical principles. Human teachers have the ability to shape students’ lives and foster their growth as individuals, which is something AI systems are not equipped to do.
Agriculture is one of the oldest and most fundamental industries, and it is unlikely that it will be replaced by AI anytime soon. Currently, autonomous robots are not advanced enough to perform farming tasks. They lack the ability to perform basic tasks, such as distinguishing between different sizes and shapes of fruits.
3. Data Science Jobs
Who would build and refine AI models if not for data scientists? Data science is not only irreplaceable, but it is also a growing field, thanks to AI.
4. Healthcare Jobs
No one wants to trust their lives to a machine. Healthcare will always require a human touch.
Healthcare involves much more than information and basic tasks. It requires human interaction and customer service, which AI cannot provide.
Nurses have basic healthcare knowledge, but it is doctors who are responsible for testing, treatments, and diagnoses. These jobs are safe from AI.
AI can provide diagnoses and treatment plans, but it cannot understand humans in the same way that another human can. Mental healthcare requires human-to-human interaction, making it irreplaceable by AI.
6. Parenting Jobs
Parenting jobs, like childcare, early childhood education and babysitting, require human social interaction, which is irreplaceable by AI.
AI robotics is not advanced enough to replace hairdressers anytime soon. Cutting hair is a precise task that is almost impossible for a robot to do, and regulations prevent robots from using scissors near a person’s head.
8. Physical Labor Jobs
Most physical labor jobs, like being a janitor or construction worker, are safe from AI for the time being. Construction workers will benefit from AI tools that make their jobs easier, but they won’t be replaced by AI.
Will we ever see AI replace entertainers like musicians and actors? Not in the near future.
Some AI entertainers can thrive. Take a look at the AI-generated K-Pop group – Eternity:
It’s very lifelike and looks like a heavily filtered music video, however, AI won’t be replacing the Foo Fighters on stage performing.
Most entertainment jobs require looks, human personality, judgement and creativity, and AI is far from having the same level of it. Although AI can mimic human looks on screen, in real life, it’s distinguishable.
Furthermore, artists benefit from using AI as a tool to leverage their creativity.
Going to the dentist can be a scary experience for many people, but the thought of having an AI robot handle sharp objects in their mouth might be even more terrifying. Furthermore, current regulations make it unlikely that AI robots will ever be able to perform dental procedures.
Although some jobs in the legal field may be replaced by AI, top lawyers are still in high demand and their skills will always be in demand over those of an AI lawyer. It’s possible that AI lawyers may be used for less complex legal trials, but human lawyers will still be preferred for more complex cases.
Overall – is AI Good or Bad?
There’ll always be ups and downs with AI technology – people using it for good and bad.
But regardless of what happens, just remember that humans are highly adaptable creatures. We’ve adapted on this planet for millions of years and we’ll find a way to co-exist with AI.
No doubt a major shift is going to happen in the next decade or so. My recommendation is – embrace the technology and believe in the good it can bring, as it is not going away.