18 09

By Nadia Zaifulizan

In the era of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and automation, there are more jobs that can be done by robots effectively, in a shorter time, with minimum to zero errors. Automation will enable repetitive work to be done by robots or systems efficiently with minimized risks. AI will enable a deeper insight of a vast amount of data for various intelligence applications.

Although AI and automation is able to revolutionize and improve production and service provision, they also come with some “side-effects”. The disruption brought about by automation and AI will make many jobs eventually obsolete, replacing human workers of similar job class with systems and robots which can do and achieve more than the human worker in a given time. This is especially so with jobs that are routine, repetitive, straightforward, clerical, labour-intensive, low skilled, or do not require a higher level of mental aptitude.

Example of jobs that can be affected by automation and AI (as explained by Forbes, Fortune, CNBC and BBC) include:
1) Warehouse and manufacturing jobs
2) Insurance Underwriter
3) Drivers
4) Administrative jobs
5) Research and data entry
6) Customer service
7) Retail checkout
8) Food service
9) Recruitment
10) Outbound sales
11) Advertising

What Can We Do To Ride This Wave?

The risk of job losses due to AI and automation are real, so much so that it became the basis of Andrew Yang’s Universal Basic Income (UBS) campaign for the United States’ 2020 presidency. Since many jobs are at risk of being replaced, what we can do is look at the aspects of jobs that will highly likely be able to withstand the AI and automation disruption.

Jobs that are centred on creative productions, that involves rare ideas and execution, that requires the human medium, are likely more valuable in the future. This includes arts, entertainment, and literature – the area which are relatively least affected by the AI and automation boom.

Jobs that are niche are very difficult to replicate, are very focused and industry-based. Niche jobs require very specific experience, knowledge, and expertise. Many niche jobs involve exclusive skills and talent pool for the work to be completed. Niche jobs that are dependent on local context and human interaction can also be difficult for AI and automation to execute without the proper technological advancements and relevant long-term in-depth machine training.

Highly technical
Although there are technical jobs that can be automated, some highly technical jobs rely on the deliberation, consideration, and skills of humans to be successful. These highly technical work will still require human enablers and human contribution to fine-tune and transform the needs of the project into reality.

Personal care
Personal care jobs that require interpersonal skills and emotional intelligence are highly likely to continue to be executed by humans. Image recognition AI and Machine Learning have a long way to go before they can gain insight and intelligence of human emotions based only on physical look. Jobs like psychologists, psychiatrists, counselors, will need humans for effective execution.

Automation and AI based
Even at a time where automation and AI will take over many types of jobs, the planning and design of automated and intelligence systems will require humans to curate, conduct, and test. Humans know best what humans desire and need, thus they will be able to decide the needed direction and features of the intelligence systems that they will create.

What Next?

Since the rise and dominance of automation and AI on the job market is a definite future scenario, humans will be highly likely affected if adaptation steps are not taken. Job pathway should be more focused towards prioritizing building niche careers, developing unique skills and specialization, harnessing specific or rare talents, and encouraging life-long learning and adaptation. Starting a new job or continuing with an existing one should closely consider these measures for the future of work.

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