Within the past 21 hours, a LinkedIn news segment titled “‘Father of AI’ says don’t fear it” was read by over 720 users. Something about the number of readers on LinkedIn alone clicking on this article tells me that many do in fact fear AI. Specifically, they–myself included–fear that AI will eventually make their jobs redundant. Perhaps AI will eventually even make entire fields of work redundant. And this fear is very real. We’ve seen it time and again; and with this fear often comes great resistance. The automation of garment making famously led to textile workers–the original Luddites–destroying the very sewing and knitting machines that aimed to replace them. These days, AI, too, aims to automate and increase the speed of many processes that are currently performed by humans. So, is your job also in danger? Will AI replace you at work?
And crucially, no matter what your current job entails, is AI inherently that which we must embrace and involve in work processes to not be left behind?
It’s a complicated topic. So, let’s talk about it.
Is the Advancement of AI Good for All Workers?
These days, “Luddite” is most often used as a derogatory term for someone who opposes technological advancement. But the original Luddites were workers who protested the use of machinery to skirt around larger, systemic problems in the garment industry, like poor labour practices.
Many business owners within the garment and other textile industries had to close their workshops because the advancement of sewing and knitting machines made garments faster than human hands, and thus cheaper for customers. Eventually, workshops run entirely by hand simply could not keep up.
The same went for the workers themselves. As Joan Perkin writes on History.com, “Sewing machines were not liberating for women who tried to make a living by sewing. Those who worked in sweat shops worked harder and harder but then had their piece rate wages lowered.”
And sure, AI is not quite the same as the invention of sewing machines–namely, it is not solely labourers who are affected by this emerging technology. But similarly still, many white-collar workers, especially those with traditionally less hierarchy within a company, are those whose jobs are at risk.
Specifically, with the rise of large language models (LLMs) in AI, such as ChatGPT, many whose jobs involve writing text or entering data may face difficulties in their fields in the coming months to years.
10 Jobs That AI Will Make Redundant
Of course, AI is itself a large umbrella term that describes all kinds of forms of technology. LLMs, for example, specifically aim to create “high-quality, coherent text that is often indistinguishable from that of a human,” as Peter Foy writes for MLQ.ai. And this means that more employers will likely start cutting down on hours or staff in general with a decrease in language-based tasks.
However, The World Economic Forum suggests that this is in fact good news. That is, with forms of AI such as ChatGPT-4, the latest version of the LLM as of the publication of this blog, many workers can instead expect to work on more productivity-based tasks related to augmentation and automation.
Still, employers ought to recognise that many in the following positions may require these jobs because they may be the only ones accessible to them due to many factors, including socio-economic status and ablebodiedness.
- Data entry clerks
- Bank tellers
- Postal service clerks
- Cashiers and ticket clerks
- Administrative and executive administrators
- Material-recording and stock-keeping clerks
- Accounting, bookkeeping, payroll clerks
- Statistical, finance, and insurance clerks
- Door-to-door salespeople and news and street vendors
As well, before making drastic changes within the workplace towards automation, employers should also remember the critical role humanity has in countless industries.
As Ian Shine and Kate Whiting write for the W.E. forum, “when it comes to very human traits like coordinating between people, like helping with decision-making and reasoning or communicating, that’s where actually you see an uptick.”
So, even if AI can replace many tasks certain workers perform daily, that does not inherently mean it should.
10 Jobs That Will Become More Popular Because of AI
On the other end of this spectrum of job changes, then–to perhaps nobody’s surprise–the W.E. forum anticipates an estimated 2.6 million jobs to arise related to AI and machine learning, as well as big data and information security.
Moreover, as professional services company Accenture notes, “There will also be entirely new roles to recruit, including linguistics experts, AI quality controllers, AI editors, and prompt engineers.”
Here are the top ten positions the W.E. forum anticipates will be most in-demand.
- AI/machine learning specialists
- Linguistics experts
- Sustainability specialists
- Business intelligence analysts
- Information security analysts
- Fintech engineers
- Data analysts and scientists
- Robotics engineers
- Agricultural equipment operators
- Digital transformation specialists
So, if you feel you should (and can) pivot in your career, consider some of these positions for a perhaps more reliable and sustainable career following the growth of AI. Nevertheless, it’s important to remember that even within jobs that can be replaced by AI, workers themselves will always be invaluable and irreplaceable.
As such, instead of entirely replacing human workers, employers and employees alike ought to always seek to reach a compromise that allows workers to maintain their positions and worker rights while also adopting technology to improve their processes.
For an example of how you can use technology to improve your work, rather than replace you entirely, check out our blog post on using AI for recruiting here.