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Artificial Intelligence (AI) has progressed leaps and bounds in the past few years. Siri, self-driving cars, robots, deep learning platforms-these are just some of the hottest AI technologies in the world today, and they are set to disrupt the labor landscape in ways never before imagined. Companies that want their business to grow and stay competitive in the digital age will eventually want to integrate some form of AI into their operations.
It's pretty much a given that the integration of AI can be useful for companies, but what about the employees that they displace? Which jobs will the dawn of automation threaten? Which ones will remain safe?
The good news is that this isn't the first time that technology turned established industries upside down, and just like in the past, AI is not expected to be the purely disruptive force that naysayers are claiming it to be, at least that's what experts are saying. Although specific jobs will undoubtedly be lost, new ones will be created along the way, and some if not many existing job positions will experience a redefinition. Take a look at some of the industries and the jobs under them that face the biggest challenges as AI technologies grow more advanced:
Jobs affected: Drivers
Just a little over a decade ago, many scientists believed that a computer could never drive a car because of the complex thinking facilities required by the task, from staying on your lane to observing road signs, to watching out for obstacles, to knowing when to speed up and slow down, and so on. Today, with what self-driving cars have managed to accomplish, one can only assume that these scientists are eating their words. As vehicles achieve full autonomy, the day may come when the world no longer needs physical drivers.
Jobs affected: bookkeepers, paralegals, lawyers
To defend their case, attorneys often need to sift through tons of documents and texts to obtain evidence. AI can take on much of these functions, from organizing data to locating and collecting information, to even picking which documents are relevant to a case. Put succinctly, legal AI helps law firms do away with the need for researchers. There are even AI that can handle parking and divorce cases, which can render junior lawyer jobs obsolete.
Jobs affected: Doctors, nurses
In the UK, AI has started taking over some of the tasks usually performed by doctors and nurses, such as deciding which emergency patient to see first, diagnosing disease, and identifying the best course of treatment. Some robots have even started carrying out surgery. Currently, medical AI primarily serves as a complement to physicians and healthcare workers, but due to AI's superiority in capturing and analyzing medical data, not to mention the precise way they carry out medical procedures, the technology is poised to be a harbinger of doom for many in the medical field.
Jobs affected: Journalists
A few of today's news giants have started to use AI-powered production software to condense news articles into a script, evaluate the credibility and newsworthiness of current events, and even add a synthesized newscaster voice to a piece of news video. With many media companies scrounging for capital, the rise of fake news, and other issues that plague the media world, there's plenty of evidence to suggest that AI could soon put a lot of journalists out of work.
Jobs affected: Labor workers
Machines have been replacing skilled workers for the better part of the millennium. But more than just taking on the physical aspects of manufacturing, AI may soon make creative and logical decisions and even respond to issues along the manufacturing process in real time with little need for human intervention. Very soon, we may be able to see factories and manufacturing plants that are entirely automated.
Industry: Food and Catering
Jobs affected: Cooks, chefs
Last year, a burger-making robot replaced the cooks in 50 restaurants in California. This year, tech giant IBM showcased a cooking AI capable of creating recipes from scratch using a full library of taste chemistry and pairings. All this while serving the meals up at speeds that human chefs could only hope to achieve.
Jobs affected: financial analysts, stockbrokers
Jobs in the world of finance are slowly being taken over by AI, and for a good reason, considering that robots are predicting fluctuations in share prices much better than their human counterparts since 2016. With billions of dollars at stake, many financial investors are favoring these financial tools as they can spot trends and trade at a much faster, more accurate, and more effective pace.
Industry: Customer service
Jobs affected: Telemarketers, call center agents, customer service personnel
Business AI is starting to cater not only to big-name companies but small and medium businesses as well. When this becomes fully realized, startups and grassroots companies will be able to operate and compete alongside large enterprises. As it stands, modern business AI now have the power to answer customer query without human intervention while reducing wait times for customers to receive their replies. As chatbots get smarter, they won't even have to rely on a script the way human customer service agents do, leading to a more personal customer service that drives today's business practices.
It's not the end of the world
A lot of the changes brought about by the AI revolution depends on the industry you work in and how quickly it adapts to the technology. For the most part, however, humans are expected to still be in the loop, albeit at an altogether different capacity than before. Some are even saying that AI will create more jobs than it destroys.
As the world progresses forward in AI, combining your chosen field with some computer knowledge can be the way to overcome the onslaught, not to mention it could also be extremely rewarding. Whether it's studying the framework behind self-driving cars or providing consultation on how to turn laws into algorithms, there are plenty of exciting opportunities to be had in an AI-driven world.