Artificial intelligence is transforming the world of work, automating many tasks that were once done by humans. AI can perform quite a few different functions, such as data analysis, image recognition, natural language processing, and generative content creation. However, not all jobs are equally vulnerable to being replaced by AI. Some jobs require human skills and qualities that are hard to replicate by machines, such as creativity, empathy, intuition, and ethics. These jobs are more likely to be AI-proof, meaning they are less likely to be automated or outsourced to AI.
In this article, we’ll go over what makes a job “AI-proof”, and list some examples of jobs we feel will still be viable in the AI era.
What Makes a Job AI-Proof?
According to experts, jobs that require critical thinking, problem-solving, and strategic decision-making based on nuanced considerations are more likely to be AI-proof. For example, professions like doctors, lawyers, researchers, and senior executives rely on their expertise, experience, and judgment to make informed decisions in intricate situations. They also need to communicate effectively with clients and colleagues, and adapt to changing circumstances and expectations.
Another factor that makes a job AI-proof is the degree of human interaction and emotional intelligence involved. Jobs that require building trust, rapport, and empathy with others are less likely to be automated by AI. These include professions like nurses, teachers, therapists, social workers, and salespeople. They need to understand the needs, emotions, and motivations of others, and provide personalized care, guidance, or solutions.
Another aspect that makes a job AI-proof is the level of creativity and originality required. Jobs that involve generating new ideas, products, or strategies that are novel and valuable are more likely to be AI-proof. These include professions like artists, writers, designers, inventors, and entrepreneurs. They need to use their imagination, intuition, and aesthetic sense to create something unique and meaningful.
Lastly, but definitely not least, are the physically and labour-intensive field of jobs. These include professions such as plumbers, electricians, construction workers, and even athletes. Jobs that require physical strength and skill are less likely to be replaced by AI anytime soon. Plumbers, in particular, are likely to be needed for many years to come. Why? Well, even if we reach a point in which AI is a physical entity (i.e. robot workers), having to work so close to water and other natural elements that are involved in plumbing would prove extremely difficult for a robot due to the electrics!
What Jobs Are Not AI-Proof?
On the other hand, jobs that are repetitive, routine, or standardized are more likely to be automated by AI. These include jobs that involve performing simple or predictable tasks that can be easily automated by coding and algorithms. Examples of such jobs are data entry clerks, cashiers, telemarketers, drivers, and factory workers. These jobs are more prone to being replaced by AI because they do not require much human skill or judgment.
Another category of jobs that are not AI-proof are those that involve processing large amounts of information or data that can be better analyzed by AI. These include jobs that involve sorting, filtering, or extracting insights from complex or unstructured data sets. Examples of such jobs are accountants, analysts, auditors, and journalists. These jobs are more likely to be augmented by AI because they can benefit from the speed, accuracy, and scalability of AI. We have already seen quite a few AI-powered accounting software available online over the last few years.
10 Examples of AI-Proof Jobs
Here are some examples of jobs that are likely to be safe from AI in the next 15 years:
- Plumbing: Plumbers are always going to be required, as they are one of the foundations for a healthy and modern infrastructure. Plumbers are responsible for the supply of water, sewage systems, heating systems, and more. These responsibilities would be almost impossible for an AI to perform based on current technology.
- Physical Therapy: Physical therapists help patients improve their mobility and function after injuries or illnesses. They need to evaluate patients’ physical abilities, design and implement exercise programs, and provide manual therapy. Physical therapists also need to motivate patients, encourage them to follow their plans, and adjust their interventions as needed.
- Psychiatry: Psychiatrists diagnose and treat mental disorders using various methods, such as medication, psychotherapy, or electroconvulsive therapy. They need to conduct interviews and tests to understand patients’ symptoms, histories, and personalities. Psychiatrists also need to establish trust and rapport with patients, provide counseling and guidance, and monitor their progress and well-being.
- Athlete: Being an athlete is very physically challenging and getting into the field on a professional level is not that common. Athletes need to train extensively, follow strict diet plans, and practice their skills regularly in order to compete on the top level. Even if AI robots were to manage these physical feats, it’s unlikely that they would be matched against human athletes.
- Nursing: Nurses provide hands-on care to patients with various medical conditions. They need to assess patients’ health status, administer treatments, monitor vital signs, and communicate with doctors and families. Nurses also need to show empathy, compassion, and emotional support to patients who may be in pain or distress.
- Social Work: Social workers help people cope with various challenges in their lives, such as poverty, abuse, addiction, or disability. They need to assess clients’ needs and situations, provide resources and referrals, advocate for their rights and interests, and coordinate services. Social workers also need to empathize with clients, respect their diversity and dignity, and adhere to ethical standards.
- Teaching: Teachers educate students on various subjects, such as math, science, or history. They need to plan lessons and activities, deliver instruction, assess learning outcomes, and provide feedback. Teachers also need to engage students, inspire curiosity, foster collaboration, and manage classroom behavior. While teaching will always be best done human-to-human, there are a number of AI educational tools that can help teachers to engage with their students.
- Design: Designers create visual concepts for various products or services, such as logos, websites, or apps. They need to understand the needs and preferences of clients or users, use design software or tools, and produce sketches or prototypes. Whilst there are many AI tools for building websites, such as AI website builders, there is still lots of manual design work involved in order to make a unique and engaging design.
- Entrepreneurship: Entrepreneurs start and run their own businesses or ventures, such as restaurants, shops, or startups. They need to identify opportunities and problems in the market, develop solutions or products, and secure funding and resources. Entrepreneurs also need to use their vision, passion, and leadership to motivate and manage their teams and partners.
- Research: Researchers conduct studies or experiments on various topics or fields, such as biology, psychology, or economics. They need to formulate hypotheses or questions, collect and analyze data, and report and interpret the results. Researchers also need to use their curiosity, critical thinking, and logic to advance knowledge and discover new insights. AI can help researchers with their tasks, but a researcher will always be required to think and to oversee projects.
How to Future-Proof Your Career?
As AI becomes more advanced in the workplace, it is important for workers to try and future-proof their careers by developing the skills and qualities that make them AI-proof. Some of the ways to do this are:
- Learn new skills and technologies that complement AI or enable you to work with AI. For example, you can learn how to use AI tools or platforms for your job function or industry. Prompt engineering is a very new field which involves communicating with AI tools.
- Enhance your human skills and qualities that differentiate you from AI. You can improve your communication skills, emotional intelligence skills, creativity skills, or ethical skills. Anything that makes you stand-out and unique will help here!
- Seek opportunities for lifelong learning and career development that allow you to adapt to changing demands and expectations. For example, you can take online AI courses, attend workshops, join professional networks, or seek mentorship.
AI is not just a threat, but an opportunity for workers who can leverage its potential and coexist with it. By being aware of the impact of AI on your job and industry, and by taking proactive steps to enhance your employability, you can make yourself more AI-proof and thrive in the future of work. Just by being aware of how AI may impact the job market already puts you ahead of much of the competition!