Never Worry about AI Again — There Will Be a Job for You in the Future
As things stand now, artificial intelligence (AI) is the black sheep of a large section of the global community. Report after report warns workers how robots and automation are going to take over their jobs. And people are getting jittery.
Already computers are outperforming humans. In challenging games like Space Invaders, Doom, Pong, and World of Warcraft deep learning networks already outperform experienced players; AI can diagnose childhood illnesses better than some doctors and AI-powered autonomous cars drive themselves safely through the streets of Arizona.
While it’s true that robots, AI, and automation are already making inroads on some jobs, it’s also true that the situation is not all doom and gloom. Let’s look at some jobs that are already being affected by robots, AI and automation
1. Long-haul truck drivers
The days of long-haul truck drivers are numbered, maybe not in the very near future, but eventually definitely. When it becomes reality, this event will have a huge impact on the trucking industry, which is the biggest employer in the U.S.
The thing is, with the advent of e-commerce and online shopping, we now sit with huge warehouses with products that must be delivered and a resulting shortage of drivers. The incentive for companies to deploy automated vehicles to do the deliveries, becomes clear.
Recent research from the University of Pennsylvania estimates that 294,000 long-distance truck driving jobs will be lost to autonomous vehicle technology over the next 25 years.
2. Taxi, ride-hailing, and delivery drivers
People who drive people around or do deliveries are also at risk to lose their jobs to self-driving vehicles. While complete autonomy is still years off, many big players like Tesla, Google, Nissan, and Uber are working hard to get their driverless vehicles on the roads.
Big taxi companies have been working steadily to bring autonomous vehicles to the road with Uber saying it will have 75,000 self-driving vehicles by 2019. So far, we have not seen that promise unfold on our roads, but that does not mean that thousands of jobs are not at stake.
The fact remains, vehicles that are controlled by artificial intelligence won’t be prone to human error and that’s a great incentive for the development of autonomous vehicles. According to statistics available for 2016, fatal crashes led to 37,461 total fatalities, and 28 % of those were due to accidents involving driving while under the influence. When these horrific figures can be avoided with safe self-driving cars, the public won’t want to be on the roads with human drivers.
3. Customer service and office assistants
You may not be served by an actual life-size robot yet, but you are certainly being served by AI in the form of chatbots. These intelligent software agents are everywhere these days and they are increasingly being used in the customer service industry.
According to estimates, more than 67% of consumers worldwide used a chatbot for customer support in the past year and around 85% of all customer interactions will be handled without a human agent by 2020. Chatbots have become ubiquitous and very well accepted, with 40% of consumers quite happy to be served by them.
British retail giant Marks & Spencer is one company where intelligent software agents are taking over. The company is using Twilio’s speech recognition software and Google’s Dialogflow artificial intelligence (AI) tool to transcribe customers’ verbal requests and understand their intent after which the call is transferred to the appropriate department, shop or contact center agent.
More customer service and office assistant jobs will be at risk as AI develops.
4. Warehouse workers
Robots and automation are replacing human workers in a big way in the warehouse industry. Here’s the thing, with the popularity of online shopping, warehouses have mountains of orders to fulfil, which simply can’t be handled by humans.
The need for robots and automation is very real in this industry. Take Amazon for instance. The tech giant has more than 100,000 robots in operation in its warehouses.
And do you know, the fully automated warehouse has already arrived! Japanese startup, Mujin has created a fully automated warehouse run by robots. The warehouse is still in the prototype stage, but it’s a sign of things to come. The fully-automated warehouse will cut the workforce needed from 500 workers to only five.
The U.S. has lost close to 5 million manufacturing jobs since 2000. According to a Ball State University study, nearly 88% of the manufacturing jobs that were lost between 2000 and 2010 were as a result of greater efficiency thanks to automation. Trade was also a factor, but automation was the biggest culprit. As a result, American factories are about twice as efficient today as they were three decades ago. Fewer people are working in factories, yet factories are producing more stuff than ever before.
In the future, assembly lines will become more automated, leading to more job losses in the manufacturing industry.
6. Retail and customer interaction jobs
Shop assistants, take note, the shop of the future won’t employ you. Customers will walk in, take what they need, and walk out again, without needing assistance from you. Automated shops and kiosks already exist.
Amazon Go is a very well-known example in the West, but many companies in China including Alibaba, Tencent Holdings and online retailer JD.com have opened automated stores. These stores use artificial intelligence and advanced algorithms to note the purchases that shoppers make and then charge them through an app when they exit the store.
Research by McKinsey & Company has shown that about half of the activities in retail can be automated using current, at-scale technology. The report adds that the change will be less about job loss and more about the evolution of jobs, the creation of new ones, and re-skilling.
We always think that jobs that require creativity will be safe from robots. After all, work that requires a high level creative talent and unique skills are difficult to automate. Yet, AI is already showing signs of possible creative ability. AI can compose music, may one day design our buildings and can already write convincing newspaper articles.
The Washington Post used a writing bot called Heliograf to write updates about the Rio Olympics back in 2016 and afterward used it to generate loads of articles on the local 2016 elections. Today, Forbes uses Quill, their writing AI, to generate all their earnings reports. And recently a quiz by The New York Times gave readers texts written by humans and texts written by AI and asked them to tell which were written by humans and which not. Almost all (99%) of the readers were fooled at least once.
Writers are not likely to lose their jobs soon, but these writing bots are bound to take over more writing jobs, especially since they have already proven themselves.
8. Soldiers and pilots
Lethal autonomous weapons systems (LAWs) that can make their own decisions will replace humans in future warfare. The arguments in favor of LAWs are compelling and countries like the U.S. and Russia voted for more use of these systems at the United Nations earlier this year.
Proponents say that these systems save human lives and the costs involved in deploying soldiers, including the costs of veterans programs, medical costs and pensions. There are already 30 countries that use autonomous weapons. Killer robots and autonomous drones that fly on missions without pilots are a frightening specter, but something we’ll probably won’t see on a large scale soon.
Autonomous weapons will save military lives, but many people are deeply concerned about the far-reaching implications of LAWs for future warfare.
What kinds of jobs will AI create?
One thing to be clear about is that there isn’t a finite number of jobs that artificial intelligence is going to take over one after the other. Instead, AI is going to transform existing jobs and also create completely new ones.
An Oxford University report by Carl Frey and Michael Osborne on the future of employment found that some functions within 47 % of jobs will be automated. Take note, only part of these jobs will be automated.
The same report notes that there is 65% or higher chance that the following jobs will be computerized: social science research assistants, atmospheric and space scientists, and pharmacy aides. This does not mean computers will take over these jobs, just that a certain percentage of these jobs can be done by AI. What will happen is AI will reshape existing jobs in several industries.
New jobs AI is already creating
1. Data annotators
In an interconnected world, the amount of data that is being created is truly staggering. For deep learning networks to make sense of all this data, the data must be annotated in order to create context for the algorithms. This is crucial for AI to eventually understand the unpredictability and subtle nuances of human life and interactions.
Human-annotated data is the key to successful machine learning because humans are better than computers at understanding subjectivity, understanding intent, and coping with ambiguity
Data annotation is the process of labeling data to make it usable for machine learning. Data can be anything from text, videos, and images to audio and data from sensors.
These jobs already exist. Appen employs over 40,000 remote contractors a month to perform data annotation for their clients. There are more than a million skilled annotators worldwide. A few years ago this job didn’t even exist.
2. Cybersecurity professionals
Can you imagine the cybersecurity threats that are being caused by the digitization and automation of the global economy? The world has seen and experienced the devastating effects of the actions of hackers, malware, and cyber criminals and we can only expect the situation to worsen in the future.
In recent years there has been a significant increase in cybersecurity job postings with many of them not being filled. Cybersecurity Ventures predicts that there will be 3.5 million cybersecurity job openings by 2021. That means there is and will be in the near future, a huge shortage of cybersecurity professionals, creating a niche in the job market as a direct result of the increased deployment of AI.
According to a report from the World Economic Forum (WEF), some of the fastest growing job opportunities across all industries include data analysts, software developers, and social media specialists. Jobs that require “human skills” like sales and marketing, innovation and customer service are also expected to increase in demand.
New jobs that AI will create in the future
A report by IT service company Cognizant lays out a positive view of the future of work. The report lists 21 possible jobs of the future and hints at what actions to take to stay employed. The writers see these jobs becoming prominent in the near future, creating mass employment. There are imaginary job postings for 21 new jobs that don’t exist yet. Let’s look at a few of them.
- Personal data broker
Remember all that data that you are creating every day? In the future, we will all be able to make some money out of that personal data with the help of a personal data broker. This person will monitor and trade in all forms of personal data that a client creates via microdata feeds, streaming preferences, platform data and more.
Cognizant envisages a newly mandated banking sector to administer the personal data assets of citizens and consumers.
As a personal data broker, you will ensure consumers (clients) receive revenue from their data, runs the imaginary add.
2. Digital Tailor
Here’s a job that doesn’t require advanced technological skills. A large percentage of clothes ordered online are returned due to poor fit. A digital tailor will work to prevent this from happening. Cutting-edge sensing cubicles will help tailors to take customers’ measurements accurately. The measurements are then uploaded into a central cloud-based ordering system. The digital tailor will also offer advice on styling, fabric choice, etc.
3. Artificial intelligence business development manager
Here is an irony for you. AI is radically transforming every sphere of our lives, creating a completely different world, yet, “…there is still one thing that AI cannot do, and won’t be able to do for the foreseeable future — sell itself. Selling AI (whether in its “raw” compute form or packaged into a business service) requires human input and effort,” writes Cognizant.
Presumably, that’s what an AI business development professional would do. So, if you can sell, there’s a job for you in the future.
It has been repeated often by observers and proponents of artificial intelligence, that this technology will create more jobs than it will destroy. Now there is an actual research report that supports this sentiment.
A new report from the World Economic Forum (WEF) called “The Future of Jobs 2018” brings the news that by 2022, artificial intelligence will create 133 million new jobs, but cause 75 million to be lost in the process. This boils down to 58 million actual new jobs in the next few years.