Fully agree about picking a career that requires hands-on customer contact.
The other way of thinking about it is the degree of situational decision-making autonomy required by the client. You want a job where acting outside of standard parameters is normal and valued. In other words, the value of your work is directly proportionate to your personal knowledge contribution.
While AI may eventually get to the stage where its executive decision-making is on par with a human’s, we will be at a whole new revolutionary point where that happens.
Put another way, there are two kinds of work: practice and process. Practice requires the application of your own general knowledge in unique ways; process requires following a set of steps based on an external knowledge assessment.
Process jobs are highly vulnerable to automation; practice jobs, much less so.
The tricky part is “pseudo-practice” (like sports results reporting) where the desired outcome is known and the inputs are known, but the method of getting from one to the other can be either free-form or routine. People often think these jobs are secure because they don’t follow a process, but fail to realise that there is a viable process-based alternative.
All of which still makes plumbing a pretty attractive career going forward…