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Man vs. AI: these jobs are safe, for now...

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© Willyam Bradberry/Shutterstock

 When we hear about artificial intelligence, there are often people who refer to a fourth industrial revolution. This idea is not entirely far-fetched: in fact, as this technology develops, we will see more and more people losing their jobs to AI in the future. However, humans have particular skills that machines simply cannot replace. Not yet, at least...

AI is progressing exponentially year after year and the media often likes to exaggerate what this technology can do. But the truth is that, although this technology is actually making great strides forward, the use of an AI-only workforce is still in doubt.

There are those that have spoken out about the potential for future AI applications in industry. Kai-Fu Lee, the author of bestselling book AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order, told last month that half of current jobs will be taken over by AI within 15 years. That seems like a bold claim, but does he have a point that most people aren't really fully aware of the effect AI will have on their jobs?

Certainly, AI offers many possibilities in the simplification and automation of some work processes, but it is not yet able to work in total autonomy, especially in jobs that require special skills that only human beings can master.

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AI is able to perform many, but not all, tasks. / © Phonlamai Photo/Shutterstock

Jobs requiring empathy

Although AI is increasingly being used in medicine to try to detect diseases more accurately, machines certainly don't have what you would call bedside manner. The so-called 'emotional informatics' is still far from being able to recognize human emotions and, therefore, have the ability to respond to patients in an appropriate way. It is therefore unlikely that a job requiring empathy will be ready to be replaced by technology in the short term. Doctors, nurses, social workers, and other caregivers, you are safe for now.

When critical thinking is essential

How many times have you seen a science fiction movie in which the character asks the computer what to do in a critical situation? In most cases, the action that needs to be taken by the human being given is 99% wrong. Yet, despite this, the protagonist still performs it and still achieves the goal. In short, no matter how advanced the current artificial intelligence may be, it is not yet able to calculate how much bravery the human being has in critical situations.

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If the AI believes that your decision is wrong, it may not be 100% wrong. / © NextPit

Creativity and the arts

Various AI-enables software can create, but the technology is not necessarily good at making creative choices. Technically, we have already had several examples of how it is possible to create recipes, music or art thanks to artificial intelligence, but the results are not so stimulating. So, any work that requires real creativity, such as that of authors of literature, architects or the musicians, do not need to worry about AI stealing their jobs for a while yet.

Complex physical skills

Every day we see the birth of new robots capable of performing increasingly difficult physical tasks, but there are still a significant number of skills and abilities that they can not master. Sport, for example, is one of the fields in which, nowadays, robots equipped with AI can not excel, especially in teams. Sure, precise, repetitive movements are not a problem for robots, but when combined with decision making, the AI underperforms. So, if you have any particular physical or sporting abilities that are essential to your job, you're safe for now.

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Robots still cannot master different human physical abilities. / © Phonlamai Photo/Shutterstock

Imagination and speculation

One of the human qualities that cannot be attributed to artificial intelligence is imagination. Current AI works by taking existing data processing it and acting on the basis of parameters. Imagination, or simply the ability to dream, are not programmable activities. So, dear thinkers, visionaries, philosophers and so on, you still have a clear advantage over technology. For now...

What other jobs do you think AI still can't do yet?

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  • 17
    Gavin Runeblade Feb 9, 2019 Link to comment

    Humans are absolutely terrible at understanding exponential growth. We understand that 4 is double 2 and 8 is double 4. But we're really bad at figuring out just how fast that gets into the millions and then quadrillions. Exponential growth looks like nothing at all is happening for a long time, then by the time we realize it is speeding up it is too late and stuff is happening faster than we understand or can process. We also tend to think the future will be like the past.

    All of which is to say people who think "for now" means anything longer than "for the next 3 or so years" are very likely mistaken.