It’s officially here. Scientists, AI experts and even businesses are preparing for the age of Artificial Intelligence. And as machine learning encroaches into human domains, jobs are at risk. Researchers at the University of Oxford have estimated at almost 50% of all U.S jobs are at risk in the coming decades.1
The threat is highest for low paid, procedural occupations, but even mid-level jobs may not be that safe.
If you’re a truck driver, telemarketer or mid-level accountant, the prognosis isn’t good. Even today, machine learning has shown aptitude in replacing these jobs. For example, the Financial Times believes that machine learning poses a threat to conventional equity fund managers – because machines are more capable of tracking and learning from market movements at speed than humans are.2 Nor are other mid-level analysts safe. Earlier this year, a Japanese firm replaced human agents with an AI, and estimated that productivity would rise 30% as a result.3
But fear not. At Xpress Money, we’re watching the rise of fintech and AI, and believe it to be a force for food. And we’ve assembled some advice for young people who want to plan a future-proof career.
Choose a technology career:
While Machine Learning is most definitely a thing, and is giving rise to software that can learn, the true singularity- when machines become smart enough to programme themselves still seems decades off. Today, we still need tech experts to programme the computers that automate our lives. The most powerful AI systems still rely on human ingenuity to write code, create equations, innovate algorithms and feed in datasets. If you have a career in machine learning, you’re not about to go obsolete just yet.
Head for jobs that require language skills:
Language is complicated, and is probably going to be one of the last frontiers conquered by AI. While machines are doing a great job taking over process-based jobs that can be defined within parameters, the sheer complexity of language designed for human minds and mouths will take some doing to learn. While there are reports of websites turning to machines to create content, AI can’t create rich prose that really grabs people and demonstrates human creativity. So head for language skills, and you’ll stay ahead of the curve – for now.
People relationships are your friend:
It’s a truism – people get along with people. And there are certain jobs that require those interpersonal relationships. Even if an AI managed to develop the grunt and heft to take over some processes within those jobs, the task of developing interpersonal relationships will still fall to humans. So jobs in teaching, nursing, and therapy are insulated from the march of machine learning – because people trust people.
Prepare for flexibility:
The days of working 40 years for the same company are already on the way out. In the future, this is even more likely to be the case. Many employment scenarios see humans working seven or eight4 part-time jobs that make the most of their creative skills. So the trick is to have more than one talent or skill to bring to global economies. So don’t specialise – generalise instead.
Despite, or perhaps because of, the advances made by AI, there’s hope for a better world. This world has been shaped by humans, and we collectively have no wish for our economies to change for the worse in a picture that would utterly exclude humans. Granted, many of the jobs that are performed by humans today will vanish. But at Xpress Money, we’re very confident that new jobs, and new job titles, will spring up to replace these lost opportunities. We can’t really envision a scenario where humans will agree to becoming second-class citizens in their own world. The rosiest outlook is where robots take over menial jobs to free humans up for creativity, innovation and a better quality of life.