Since its emergence as a central player on the global stage, when one considers the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on employment, a predictable narrative surfaces. The common perception suggests that AI will lead to mass job displacement, reshape the entire work landscape, or, in the most pessimistic views, be a total disaster for our livelihoods.
While there may be some validity to these concerns, especially in specific industries set to be significantly impacted by the technology, the idea that all jobs will be simply washed away by AI, quite simply, untrue.
Despite the ongoing influence AI, and technology in general, is poised to have on the global workplace, it’s important not to get carried away with this notion and maintain a balanced perspective. Several jobs can be identified that will likely remain safe from the rising tide of AI.
The AI Workplace Impact
The workplace has consistently felt the influence of technology. A visit to a local supermarket brings to mind the self-service checkouts powered by technology. Similarly, a glimpse into a hospital reveals the integration of various technological innovations. Of course, the most evident of all can be found in the impact of computers and mobile phones in the conventional office setting.
As technology has become more advanced, it’s only natural that its impact on our day-to-day lives has grown. While AI is no new thing, the sheer rate at which it has recently been maturing has, unsurprisingly, caught the attention of the world as each of us has, in all likelihood, pondered the same question: “Will this affect my job?”
After all, AI is already being relied on in various industries. From PR to e-commerce, travel to entertainment, it hasn’t taken long for the workplace to wake up to the benefits that can reap from accommodating the technology.
AI can be used as a tool to enhance the productivity of employees and the efficiency of industries. Its abilities in data analysis, customer service, research and writing and cybersecurity have all played a part in AI’s now starring role in employment.
While there will always be an argument for technology’s inability to ever really replace the ‘human touch’, what recent times have told us, particularly in the last year since the domination of OpenAI’s ChatGPT, is how quickly our landscapes can change.
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Should You Be Worried About AI?
“There will come a point where no job is needed.”
These are the infamous words of Elon Musk to Rishi Sunak during the AI Safety Summit last November. “I think we are seeing the most disruptive force in history; we will have something that for the first time is smarter than the smartest human”, Musk continued.
But is there substantial weight behind this statement, is this fearmongering in its most simple form?
It’s difficult, or probably impossible, to deny that AI will continue to have a monumental impact on the global workforce. But the idea that no jobs will be left for us humans once AI has had its way? This seems a notion too difficult to reasonably swallow.
In an article, Goldman Sachs cited research from its economists Joseph Briggs and Devesh Kodnani to suggest that “a new wave of AI systems” could replace “the equivalent of 300 million full-time jobs to automation.”
Similarly, Forbes cited research from the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report that AI will replace some 85 million jobs by 2025, though included a much more optimistic point that some 97 million new jobs would be simultaneously created thanks to AI.
This brings about an important point. That is – the idea that AI will simply wipe out the workforce is far too simplified. Research from the World Economic Forum that AI will create just as many, if not more, jobs as it replaces emphasises the need to see AI as a transformative force in our employment landscape rather than its complete destructor.
So, should you be worried about AI?
It’s natural for everyone to harbour some concerns. After all, fear of the unknown is inherent in human nature and no one, not even Elon Musk, has any right to claim they know what will come from this technology in the future.
However, beyond contemplating potential workforce changes due to AI, a reassuring approach might involve examining jobs that appear likely to remain relatively unaffected by this technology.
Is Your Job Safe From AI?
Sky News recently reported that the job search engine Adzuna claims to have found several jobs where pay has remained resilient to the introduction of AI.
Ranking them by their advertised salaries at the end of last year, the safest job was found to be oncologists – doctors who study and treat cancer – with an advertised salary of £201,243.
Besides its healthy salary, Adzuna crucially also found that job opportunities in the area increased by 66.7% in just one year, battering the theory that AI is causing job losses in every area.
The job search engine also found orthodontists faring relatively well, with an average advertised salary of £113,576 – an increase from £102,842 the previous year.
Paediatricians, paving, surfacing and tamping equipment operators, surgeons, business consultants, and midwives all also ranked high on the list. All demonstrated an increase in job opportunities in the last year as well as an increased salary, all of which sat between £102,022 and £52,490 at the end of 2023.
This research underscores the irreplaceability of certain jobs by AI. Indeed, it suggests we’ll always need medical experts across all areas, just as we will always need those who can physically contribute to infrastructure.
Interestingly, sitting in 5th place on the list, the research also points to the position of AI/machine learning engineer as having an increase in job opportunities as well as a rising salary, going from an average of £70,658 at the end of 2022 to £90,139 likewise in 2023.
This salary increase aligns with the significant surge in AI utilisation globally, especially since the advent of innovations like ChatGPT. But these findings also corroborate the World Economic Forum’s assertion that AI will create just as many jobs as it displaces.
This more optimistic perspective counters the fear that AI spells doom for the entire workforce. Indeed, in certain areas, job opportunities and salaries are on the rise, and the technology is even fostering the creation of new employment opportunities.
So, it seems AI is not solely a harbinger of doom and gloom for the workforce; rather, it presents opportunities for growth and evolution. Remember – while the future implications of AI remain uncertain, they hold promise for positive transformations in various sectors.