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Will AI Steal Your Job? Or Will It Make You Irreplaceable?

The AI revolution is well underway, and this futuristic tidal wave of change is transforming the way we live, work, and play.

Quite understandably, that has many of us concerned about its potential impact on the job market.

Will AI steal our jobs?

The answer is “yes”… unless you learn to surf the wave.

The impact of AI on the job market

In a ZipRecruiter survey done in early 2023, 62% of people were concerned that ChatGPT and other AI tools could replace their jobs, with the highest concern being among Generation Z (76%) and those without high school diplomas (72%).

And frankly, who can blame them?

According to a March 2023 report by Goldman Sachs, roughly 66% of current jobs in the US and Europe “are exposed to some degree of AI automation,” while about 25% of all jobs could be performed by AI.

And in another study, OpenAI (the creators of ChatGPT), together with the nonprofit research lab, OpenResearch, and the University of Pennsylvania, found that 80% of the US workforce could see at least 10% of their tasks impacted by AI. While around 19% of staff could see at least 50% of their tasks being impacted.

Bleak enough for you?

Well, there’s good news. But before we get to that, let’s talk about what types of jobs will be affected — including some new job opportunities that may arise.

Jobs most likely to be replaced by AI

So what types of jobs stand a high chance of being replaced by AI?

Any job that has one or more of the characteristics outlined below. The more they apply to your job, the more likely it is that your job will be impacted:

  • Involves carrying out routine and repetitive tasks.
  • Involves a standardized set of rules or procedures
  • Involves physical tasks that follow a fixed, predictable pattern
  • Involves the processing and analysis of data
  • Involves basic decision-making based on data and common patterns
  • Does not involve creativity or human judgment
  • Does not involve the understanding of human emotions

To illustrate further, below are some examples of job types that may be at risk.

Tech jobs (e.g. software development, data analysis, etc.)

Although computer programming is in high demand, ChatGPT, and similar AI tools are likely to replace coders.

Why?

Because AI is amazing at crunching numbers quickly and accurately.
ChatGPT, for example, can already write code much faster than any human could.

OpenAI is already thinking about replacing its software engineers with AI.

Media jobs (advertising, content creation, technical writing, etc.)

ChatGPT and other AI tools are also having an enormous impact on the media industry.

That’s because AI is at a point right now where it can read, write, and understand language-based data extremely well. And it will only get better as time goes on.

Because of this, media companies are starting to use AI tools to create content, instead of relying solely on human writers.

Customer service jobs

Customer service chatbots are getting smarter. It won’t be long before AI-enabled chatbots will be the norm, able to understand the nuances of what customers are requesting.

Jobs that will not be replaced by AI

There are still limitations to what AI can do. And there will, therefore, be certain jobs that only humans can perform.

So what sorts of jobs will stand the test of time?

Essentially, any job that requires one or more of the following “human” qualities that AI just can’t replicate:

  • Involves human creativity
  • Involves human empathy, emotional intelligence, an understanding of human emotions and behaviors
  • Involves the ability to engage and connect with other people on an emotional level, as well as build deep relationships and trust
  • Involves effective communication and/or negotiation skills
  • Involves critical thinking, strategic planning, and decision making
  • Involves the ability to adapt to new situations, solve complex problems, and deal with unpredictable circumstances
  • Involves human judgment and intuition
  • Involves leadership

Examples of jobs that encompass such qualities include CEOs, teachers, counselors, surgeons, human resource managers, marketing professionals, and copywriters.

As @naval puts it:

Automation means not having to do anything twice……All that remains are creativity and judgement.

New job opportunities

While it’s inevitable that AI will automate and replace some jobs, there is a flipside: New job opportunities will emerge as a result of this AI revolution.

So not everything is doom and gloom!

Some of these jobs are existing AI-related positions that will grow in demand over time, while others will be new positions created as a result of AI.

Below is just a small sample of the types of new job opportunities we’re already seeing:

  • Prompt writers: As AI language models like ChatGPT become more prevalent in different industries, a new demand for professionals called ‘prompt writers’ has emerged. These experts specialize in writing effective prompts that direct AI models to generate precise, relevant, and valuable outputs based on the specific requirements of the users.
  • AI developers: As AI systems become more advanced, the demand for this group of specialists to design such systems will continue to grow. AI developers and engineers are responsible for creating specific algorithms, building neural networks, and developing natural language processing capabilities.
  • AI consultants and strategists: As businesses around the world increasingly adopt AI, there will be a growing need for AI consultants and strategists to help businesses formulate strategies to leverage AI technologies and implement AI-based solutions that improve their current operations.
  • AI-assisted healthcare specialists: Here’s a good example of a new role in a non-tech industry. These are individuals who specialize in the operation and maintenance of AI-assisted medical systems. With the increasing use of AI in healthcare, such as the use of AI algorithms for disease diagnosis and treatment planning, there will be a growing need for such specialists who can manage and maintain these systems.

Preparing for AI’s impact on our jobs

Here’s the good news that I mentioned above. The AI revolution is here to stay, but you can “AI-proof” your jobs and prepare yourself for this new world. Even more importantly, you can leverage AI to make your position irreplaceable. Here’s how.

1. Work with AI, not against it

As AI becomes more widespread in the workplace, you must learn how to work with AI, not against it.

How?

By leveraging its strengths and making up for its weaknesses (and vice versa).

This is commonly called collaborative intelligence, whereby you can combine AI’s speed, accuracy, and efficiency with human qualities such as creativity, emotional intelligence, and social skills.

The result? You will make yourself irreplaceable.

In practice, this might look like using AI in your job to automate routine tasks and optimize some of your current work processes, freeing you to focus on other, more important aspects such as planning and thinking creatively. Which in turn will make you more effective and productive at your job.

A good example is content writing. Sadly, many writers will be replaced by AI. But some will learn to use AI to research and write drafts, then use their own creativity, empathy, and human experiences to improve them. These writers will write better content than AI, and they’ll be faster than most humans.

As machine language engineer, @svpino, puts it:

AI will not replace you. A person using AI will.

2. Learn and develop new skills

Another way to prepare yourself is by learning and developing new skills and knowledge.

Start to learn about AI prompts and algorithms that will allow you to leverage powerful tools such as ChatGPT to the fullest. And if you’re working in technical areas such as software development, take the time to learn popular AI programming languages such as Java, Python, and R.

At the same time, don’t just focus on hard skills in your job; instead, develop soft “human” skills that can’t be replaced by AI. Such skills will become increasingly important in this new AI world and can set you apart.

3. Keep up-to-date with AI developments

Keep up-to-date with the latest AI trends, developments, and tools by reading industry publications and credible websites/blogs, following thought leaders and influencers, attending conferences and workshops, and interacting with other professionals in your field.

By doing so, you can better understand how such developments will impact your industry and job, prepare yourself for what’s to come and learn how to leverage AI as part of your job. This is especially important if you are in an industry that has a high chance of being disrupted.

Some examples of excellent AI resources you can refer to are:

  • Open AI blog
  • AI magazine
  • OfemWire
  • WGMI Media
  • Zain Khan
  • Hasan Toor

4. Be open to new opportunities

Some jobs will be taken by AI; others will be created, or maybe merged. If you want to stay ahead of the game when it comes to AI, you need to step outside of your comfort zone and be open to new opportunities.

Don’t be afraid to try something new, whether it’s learning a new programming language (e.g. prompt engineering) or working in an entirely new industry (e.g. autonomous vehicles).

5. Explore jobs requiring creativity, empathy, and human interaction

And if push comes to shove and you lose your job, look to replace it with innately human jobs — this goes back to the soft skills that I mentioned above.

That tidal wave is picking up speed. Don’t ignore it. Don’t fear it. Grab your surfboard and start paddling. You might just find yourself doing better than ever — and enjoying the ride.

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