The Jobs That Are Safe For Now and Can not Be Done By AI

    Some jobs are relatively protected because they require typically human skills

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    Since the beginning of the industrial revolution, there have been threats that new machines – from mechanized looms to microchips – would usurp human jobs. For the most part, humans have prevailed.

    Now, some experts say, with the ubiquity of artificial intelligence on the horizon, the threat is becoming a reality: Robots are really coming to take away some of our jobs.

    A 2023 report from Goldman Sachs estimated that AI capable of generating content could perform a quarter of all the work currently done by humans.In the European Union and the United States, the report further notes, automation could lead to the loss of 300 million jobs. And that could be terrible, says Martin Ford, author of “Rule of the Robots: How Artificial Intelligence Will Transform Everything.”

    “It’s not just that this happens to individuals, but it could be quite systemic,” he maintains. “It could happen to a lot of people, potentially quite suddenly, potentially to all of them at the same time. And that has implications not only for those individuals, but for the entire economy.”

    Not all bad news

    Fortunately, it’s not all bad news. Experts make their warnings with one caveat: There are still things that AI is not capable of doing, such as tasks that involve distinctly human skills, such as emotional intelligence and the ability to think outside the box.And taking on roles that focus on those skills could help reduce your chances of being replaced.

    “Protected” jobs

    “I think there are generally three categories that will be relatively protected for the foreseeable future,” Ford says. “The first would be jobs that are genuinely creative: you’re not doing conventional work or just rearranging things, but you’re actually generating new ideas and building something new.”

    That doesn’t necessarily mean that all jobs that are considered “creative” are safe. In fact, things like graphic design and visual arts roles may be among the first to go.Basic algorithms can command a robot to analyze millions of images, allowing AI to master aesthetics instantly.

    But there is some security in other types of creativity, Ford says: “in science, medicine and law… people whose job it is to come up with a new legal or business strategy. I think there will continue to be a place for human beings there.”

    The second protected category, he continues, are jobs that require sophisticated interpersonal relationships. Ford is referring to nurses, business consultants and investigative journalists.

    These are jobs, he says, “in which a very deep knowledge of people is needed. “I think it will be a long time before AI has the ability to interact in a way that really builds relationships.”

    The third safe zone, Ford says, “are jobs that really require a lot of mobility, dexterity, and problem-solving in unpredictable environments.” Many trades (think electricians, plumbers, welders, and other similar jobs) fall into this category.

    “These are the kinds of jobs where you are faced with a new situation all the time,” he adds. “They are probably the most difficult to automate. To automate jobs like this, you’d need a sci-fi robot. You would need C-3PO from Star Wars.”

    Aspects that will be automated

    While humans are likely to remain in jobs that fall within those categories, that doesn’t mean those professions are entirely protected from the growth of AI.In fact, notes Joanne Song McLaughlin, associate professor of labor economics at the University of Buffalo, USA, most jobs, regardless of industry, have aspects that are likely to be automated by technology.

    “In many cases, there is no immediate threat to jobs,” he says, “but tasks will change.” Human jobs will focus more on interpersonal skills, Song McLaughlin continues.

    “It is easy to imagine that, for example, AI will detect cancers much better than humans. In the future, I suppose doctors will use that new technology. But I don’t think the entire role of the doctor will be replaced.”

    Although a robot can apparently do a better job of finding cancer, he says, most people will still want a doctor (a real person) to tell them about it.This is true for almost all jobs, he adds, so developing those specifically human skills could help people learn to do their jobs alongside AI.“I think it’s smart to really think: ‘What kinds of tasks within my job will be replaced or better performed by computer or AI?’ And what is my complementary skill?’”

    Song McLaughlin gives the example of bank tellers, who once had to be very precise money counters. Now that task has been automated, but there is still a place for the cashier.

    “The task of counting money was made obsolete by a machine,” he says. “But now, cashiers are more focused on connecting with customers and introducing new products. “Social skills have become more important.”

    It’s important to note, Ford says, that an advanced education or a well-paying position is not a defense against the advancement of AI. “We could think that a person with an administrative job occupies a higher place in the structure than someone who drives a car for a living,” he points out.

    “But the future of the white-collar employee is more threatened than that of the Uber driver, because we don’t have self-driving cars yet, but AI can certainly write reports. In many cases, more educated workers will be more threatened than less educated workers. Think about the person who works cleaning hotel rooms: it is very difficult to automate that job.”In short, seeking roles in dynamic, changing environments that include unpredictable tasks is a good way to avoid job losses to AI. At least for a time.

    Resonance Costa Rica
    At Resonance, we aspire to live in harmony with the natural world as a reflection of our gratitude for life. Visit and subscribe at Resonance Costa Rica Youtube Channel
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