Some Think These Jobs Will be Replaced by AI. We Disagree
Career InsightsFeatured Postposted by ODSC Team May 4, 2023 ODSC Team
The calls that artificial intelligence will replace jobs have only grown as ChatGPT and other generative AI tools have taken the world by storm. But, believe it or not, that’s not the whole story. In fact, much like the industrial revolution, the AI revolution isn’t going to make jobs a thing of the past. Instead, what we’ll likely see is a shift in how many jobs operate and accomplish their functions. So let’s take a look at a few job titles and see why some are saying they will be replaced by AI, and then why that won’t be the case.
Data Scientists and Programmers
Thanks to the introduction of AI programs such as ChatGPT and Microsoft/GitHub’s Copilot, doomers have been sounding the horn. They’re claiming that AI has gotten to the point that many of these jobs, especially at the entry-level, are poised to be replaced by AI. Why? Labor costs of course. They point to how expensive it is to have specialized staff to complete these functions and do them well. But is that the case?
At least for the foreseeable future, no. Why? Well, it’s in the nature of large language models, such as ChatGPT. They’re great to reference and act as a sounding board. But to attempt to use them to independently write programs, provide proper analysis of data, communicate to stakeholders, and other important data/programming-centric duties is still far off for any AI. ChatGPT can’t be expected to pull data from SalesForce, create a visual, and then turn around and explain to stakeholders what the data means. Only a human can do that. The same thing with programing in Python or any other language. The AI acts as a great reference and assistant but it can’t do any of these jobs independently.
Writers and Marketers
This is another set of jobs that many have claimed are going the way of the dodo bird. We’ve all seen the articles about how certain websites have begun to turn to ChatGPT and other AI programs to churn out content and even create some original work. This has frazzled many as employers and contractors look at the newest tool and believe it provides a quick way to reduce overhead. And from their perspective, it might make sense.
But, even though there are some functions that could be automated well with AI programs, such as basic content creation, outlining, etc, there are many other functions and skills that AI is unable to fill when it comes to these roles. Though ChatGPT can scrape the web and tell you if something happened or what the current market trend is, it’s unable to create or come up with original ideas very well. This doesn’t even account for content creation. Often, especially if not edited by a human, it’s not hard to spot AI-generated content online. Because of that, the need for well-rounded writers and marketers isn’t going anywhere.
Receptionists, Accountants, and Bookkeepers
One thing that AI is really good at is sifting through data, organizing it, and providing the results. Because of this, bookkeepers, accountants, and even receptionists are worried that their skills are unlikely to keep up with AI, let alone be able to match the costs associated with using an AI program. But should they worry?
Well, let’s take the receptionist position first. If it isn’t clear, AI isn’t quite there when it comes to taking on the duties of a receptionist. Yes, there are programs that can assist with calendar invites, meeting notes, and other well-known tasks, as these tools have been around for decades and receptionists haven’t gone anywhere – all they did was adapt to the newest tool. This same idea can be seen with accountants and bookkeepers. Those two positions, if AI was really a threat, would have gone away years ago. Why? Well, look at Turbo Tax. Easy to use, automated features, and allows for everyday people to accomplish many of these tasks without the need for an account or bookkeeper.
So why are these jobs still here? Well, the thing is, as with receptionists, accountants and bookkeepers evolved with the times and learned how to use these new tools. Many don’t just take a pen to pad and manually handle a client’s taxes. Instead, they use programs such as Quickbooks to do the heavy lifting. So instead of their value being lost, their value ended up increasing thanks to new technology.
Customer Service Representatives
Much like with receptionists, there is a great deal of worry and stress that AI will soon make customer service professionals a thing of the past. Think of telephone operators and how common they used to be. Many claim that as chatbots become more powerful, and learn from interactions with human beings, those within customer service will soon see themselves obsolete. But, is this the case?
Though this field, on paper, seems to be one of the most obvious to be sensitive to advancements in AI, there are two main reasons that aren’t the case. First, AI simply put, is nowhere powerful enough to fully replace the human element. No matter what some might claim, the desire to speak with a real person is very important for most. Don’t believe me? Give your bank a call and enjoy the process of reaching a human. But there is another reason as well.
It’s just not efficient to use AI when compared to working with humans. Yes, you can reroute a customer around but AI often is unable to understand nuance, and when it comes to customer service, and this is an extremely important skill to have.
Of course, you’ve seen the machines in stores. Whether it’s on TV, the internet, or even in person, it’s becoming more and more common to see robots work alongside humans. Because of this, some claim that as time goes and robotics advances with AI, the human element will likely become less and less needed. But is that the case?
To put it simply no. Yes, an Amazon warehouse can afford to have a team of robots take on the work of dozens of people or even work with them to enhance their own productivity. But most retail jobs still can’t be automated outside of some specific instances. That’s where humans come to play. Companies like Walmart and Chipotle are investing in AI, but they also understand very well that human labor is still a far better match for the needs of their locations.
Though many may not realize this, there is a growing belief that sales positions are at risk of being automated by AI. The reason is that tasks that salespeople perform, such as lead generation, prospecting, and customer segmentation, are repetitive. And if AI excels at anything, it is in its ability to handle repetitive tasks. Compound this with companies using AI-powered sales tools that are helping sales teams automate functions.
But that’s not the whole story. Though AI can automate some tasks in sales, it’s still quite far from being able to completely replace human salespeople. Like with data analytics, and other communications-heavy positions, such as writing, sales require human skills such as empathy, persuasion, and relationship building, which are difficult to replicate with AI.
This position has been one of the most popular fields that some claim is sensitive to the increment of AI. That’s due to the development of self-driving trucks and autonomous delivery vehicles, which many companies and startups are heavily investing in and developing in the hopes of using in the real world. This of course would affect the job of millions across the country as truck driving is one of the most common well-paying jobs in the United States. But are truck drivers close to joining the Redsmiths in the ash heap of history?
Well, to put it simply, no. The issue is that there are several limitations that need to be addressed. First and foremost, safety is a major concern. Accidents involving self-driving trucks have occurred, highlighting the need for further testing and safety improvements, and regulators expect that any technology, before full public deployment, be able to meet high standards of safety. Then there is the fact that technical limitations are a major issue.
The fact is that self-driving trucks rely on complex sensors and algorithms that can be affected by inclement weather, poor road conditions, and other factors. Finally, cost and implementation challenges, including the impact on jobs in the transportation industry and the need for additional training and education, need to be considered as well. So even though the idea of having a truck drive itself across the country to take care of payloads, the sheer costs of upgrading an entire fleet, let alone the hundreds of fleets that make up the entire industry would be astronomical. So trucking is still safe.
How to Stay Ahead
So now you know, AI isn’t waiting in the background to take your job any day now. But, just like with any technological advancements, being able to stay ahead of the rest of the market by improving your own skill set is critical no matter the industry or field. With ODSC Europe this June and our Ai+ Training platform, you’ll get everything that you need to stay ahead of the curve and develop the skill foundations you need to never worry about AI taking over your job.