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.
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.
5. Mental Healthcare Professionals (Psychologists/Psychiatrists)
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.
What Will Happen When AI Replaces Jobs?
As shown above, there are jobs that AI can’t replace.
However, let’s consider a hypothetical scenario where AI has replaced all office work and has advanced to the point where it can handle complex manual labor tasks and even produce food.
1. Supply and Demand Shift
This shift would cause a major market change, as there would be an increase in demand for engineers, machinery, and minerals to build and operate these robots.
Additionally, the demand for skills that AI cannot possess, such as emotional intelligence, would also increase.
2. Widening the Wealth Inequality Gap
History has shown that when technology advances, the rich become richer and the poor become poorer.
In this scenario, large corporations may replace workers with AI, leaving many people without jobs and struggling to make ends meet.
To avoid a future like this, it’s important to learn a job that AI cannot easily replace, support regulations that prevent AI from replacing human jobs, learn to embrace and operate AI, and become skilled at your job to ensure that you are not easily replaced by AI.
3. Universal Basic Income
This would be the most positive scenario.
Everyone would receive a universal basic income. Enough to survive.
People would only work if they wanted to.
With most jobs being replaced by AI, people would be able to use the technology to run their own businesses, even if they are not technically inclined.
To succeed in this scenario, individuals would need to develop something unique and in demand that AI cannot easily provide.
In this scenario, everything is collectively owned and wealth is shared in a “fair” manner. This system would eliminate the wealth inequality gap but could potentially stifle innovation and creativity.
5. Government Policies Will Prevent AI From Replacing Humans
It’s possible that government policies could be put in place to prevent AI from replacing human jobs. In this scenario, humans would learn to work alongside AI, with the technology taking care of mundane tasks and humans focusing on more complex tasks.
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.