In the realm of artificial intelligence (AI), a whirlwind of uncertainty, anxiety, and eager anticipation persists. The apprehension about AI potentially displacing jobs and revolutionizing education echoes past fears surrounding revolutionary technologies like electricity. While electricity held a certain physical hazard, it also unveiled unprecedented possibilities. Similarly, AI is primarily recognized for its ability to execute routine tasks with remarkable precision and speed. But what trends will AI usher into the labor market?
A fake image of the pope donning a mock white robe created ripples across social media—a clever jest for some. However, images were also manipulated before the AI era. Photoshopped, we used to say. Similarly, fake news predated AI, debunking concerns about its newfound propagation. The coverage of the Ukrainian conflict exemplifies how one-sided information can sway opinions, highlighting that blame often lies with the recipients themselves. Social media profiles shape content exposure, mirroring a characteristic of AI seen when websites promptly propose flight tickets for a named foreign city. Is this aspect harmful or helpful? If flight plans align and prices are good, all seems well, right?
Navigating the Digital Age
Considering the impact of AI on education and future job markets raises parallels with earlier tech innovations like spreadsheets or pocket calculators. Strikingly, certain domains remain strictly loyal to traditional methodologies that impede seamless AI integration. Must students confine themselves to paper-bound library research, or can they harness the internet’s search prowess to compose reports? If internet searches are acceptable, is it not reasonable to expect code to transform raw data into human-readable documents? The education is assumably not about converting Google search results to a document, it is about the content. And the content in this example is not original anyway, so why not let the AI compose the whole document from scratch? What are we exactly teaching and learning?
Elevating Efficiency and Competitive Edge
The advent of robots didn’t diminish manufacturing employment; it reshaped roles toward safer and more valuable tasks, augmenting competitiveness. AI follows a similar narrative—those embracing it attain a competitive edge. AI augments workload for some and streamlines operations for others. It can address the shortage or flexibility of human capabilities, as exemplified by Moticheck’s AI-driven management mentor addressing resource scarcity. This mentor offers 24/7 counsel, overcoming human limitations and economic barriers. Notably, AI extends beyond commerce, contributing to life-saving solutions, such as mapping abandoned Ukrainian minefields, for example. AI is certainly an enabler!
Unyielding Logistics and Beyond
Logistics is a prime domain where AI substitutes humans, ensuring swift, fatigue-free operations. AI-driven vehicles stick unfailingly to traffic rules, accommodating speed reductions near schools, for example. This trend expands, as AI-driven logistics redefine office hours, just as buses and cars currently necessitate drivers.
However, logistics is merely one sphere where AI excels. Presently, AI fuels job creation across several sectors, including:
- Data processing: Crafting AI models, algorithms, and machine learning systems.
- AI researchers: Pioneering AI applications in novel scenarios and architectures.
- Software engineers: Developing and optimizing AI systems.
- Robotics engineers: Enhancing robots’ perception, learning, and decision-making.
- Healthcare technologists: Enabling diagnostic, drug discovery, and patient care advancements.
- Financial analysts: Facilitating fraud detection, algorithmic trading, and risk assessment.
- Customer experience specialists: Fostering chatbot integration and virtual assistants.
- Cybersecurity analysts: Identifying and countering AI threats.
- Marketing analysts: Automating campaigns and personalizing customer experiences.
This list remains inexhaustive, acknowledging AI’s role in creating opportunities and fostering innovation.
Contrariwise, certain professions face vulnerability:
- Data entry operators
- Drivers (car/bus)
- Assembly line workers
- Call center staff
- Stock traders
- Travel agents
- Customer service representatives
How do I know that? I asked Chat GPT 🙂
This list has a point to make. Many of these occupations have already been turned by humans into an emotionless routine process where there is no room for independent thinking. A man should not do a machine’s work. If the above are the jobs where millions of people work around the world, AI also threatens less common professions, for example even recruiters and lawyers. We have to take into account the evolution of technology. For example, translation engines are already able to offer very good translations today. Better than human translators? I don’t know, but they translate faster for sure. Here it is good to think about the saying of Arianna Huffington, the founder of the Huffington Post, “Pause is not a flaw in the human system, it is a feature.”
Preserving the Human Element
In assessing the job loss risks associated with artificial intelligence, there are clear roles that are so mechanized that it is difficult for humans to compete here. But in all other roles, a person will not lose his job to artificial intelligence soon, but to a person who can skillfully use AI. So we have to learn to use new tools. Googling is yesterday, and libraries are the day before yesterday. This is when obtaining information necessary for working life. Every business must think about how AI can help save costs, grow faster, and create a competitive advantage. However, Alexander Duma’s “The Three Musketeers” is it’s still good to borrow from the library when going on vacation if you don’t have the book yourself. It can be thought that creative roles will not be taken over by AI anytime soon, because AI does not have the unique experience and empathy, as a writer or an artist. Let me emphasize that generative AI generates very little. It uses existing formats, models, and elements to resemble existing work. This is good in marketing for example, but can not be called an art. You can not call a new music album generated by AI The Beatles album no matter how much it resembles The Beatles. AI can stand in as a new emerging artist but once the code can be repeated the work will not be treated as art as we know it. Thus, we humans are left with tasks, the successful completion of which requires empathy, feelings, and a unique life experience.
By Martin Rajasalu, July 2023