A recent Forrester report suggests that Artificial intelligence, or “AI”, will replace six percent of jobs by 2021. The big question is: which jobs are most susceptible to automation?
1. Customer Service Reps
AI is projected to replace the majority of customer service jobs. Instead of outsourcing such jobs overseas to developing countries for a fraction of the cost, by 2021, automated call center agents, chatbots, and digital assistants will tend customers to customers for almost no cost. Apple, Amazon, and Facebook are already using similar AI, but in 2021, the technology will surely be far more advanced and comprehensive., Facebook already allows business to create chatbots using its Messenger platform, and use them for customer service like answering queries or accepting payments. The company is also developing DeepText, which is set to revolutionize the way that AI understands what users write. Google is already positioned to dominate the automated personal assistant market by leveraging the myriad of data available via its Maps application, and technologies like WaveNet are helping AI speak as naturally as a human would.
2. Professional Drivers
Self-driving cars and unmanned vehicles like drones make drivers obsolete. Freight transport like trucking could be handled more efficiently and economically with trains or self-driving vehicles that can transmit location data and shipping statuses in real-time.
Taxis are already being phased out in a variety of major metropolitan cities due to self-driving experiments from Google, Uber, Tesla, and a handful of car manufacturers who are starting to tap into the self-driving market. For now, the technology is still in its infancy and human psychology may not be ready to let go of the wheel. Five years from now, however, when the technology is more mature and is proven safe, have people will be more willing to jump on the self-driving bandwagon.
3. Care Takers
Advances in Soft Robotics are helping to create robots that can touch and feel like humans do. Thin plastic materials infused with pressure sensitive nanoconductors have lead to viable prototypes for artificial skin, and will help make robots better able to handle delicate tasks like cleaning, changing diapers, caring for the elderly, nursing, dog walking, styling, and more. In less than a decade, we may see a world where we leave our kids with real life Dot robot nannies or take them for haircuts at the robot barbershop. Insanely accurate machines will inevitably become the cheaper option, and less than perfect human professionals will become comparatively expensive.
With the ability to collect and analyze data from a plethora of vastly different sources, Financial Analysts, Think Tank researchers and otherdata specialists may become obsolete. In fields like Customer Analytic, for example, AI will transform marketing. AI will collect data, analyze them, add context and then give suggestions on how to improve customer-brand interaction– all more quickly and cheaply than human analysts today.
FiveThirtyEight.com is a website that already uses Big Data like trends and preferences in addition to political polls to accurately predict elections, and is a microcosm of what we might expect for the financial and securities industries as a whole. AI can already do it better, faster and cheaper because the infrastructure is the same–it’s only the vocabulary that changes. Whereas a person might spend their entire career learning the jargon and trends particular to their industry in order to know what information to track, AI can simply swap out the terms and use its immense access to information to practically scour the world for an answer.
Losing six percent of jobs to automation seems like a relatively small number. But considering how quickly technology is compressing our timelines for success, but must also consider how it might compress our timelines for failure. The revolution isn’t coming– it’s already here. While many jobs will be replaced by machines, the positive side is the freedom it will allow is to pursue other interests. By staying current with the latest technologies and continuing to seek out training for changing professions, we can help ensure a lucrative and productive place in an increasingly automized world.