Graphic of robots on laptops

The rise of machines has been a talked about for years now. Film directors play on a fear of the destructive side of robots and conspiracy theorists have predicted an Artificial Intelligence (AI) invasion. But a very real concept is that robots could well start taking our jobs. We have already witnessed a fully automated cabin crew and gone are the days of the school crossing assistant, all to be replaced by machines. They won’t complain about long hours or late nights and they don’t even require sick days, a bonus for employers. But does this mean that all our jobs are at risk of falling to artificial intelligence? We have looked at several jobs that could be at risk from the AI revolution and some which have already fallen victim to it.

Checkout Assistants

This is one example that nearly everybody will have witnessed already. Your local Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s or whichever multinational supermarket you shop with, will have introduced self-checkout systems. We are all familiar with that ‘unauthorised item in bagging area’, but when running smoothly, self-checkouts are an effective concept for all shoppers nationwide. Taking a step up from this, Amazon have introduced a de-humanised supermarket for their consumers. Inside Amazon Go, the only humans you will see are your fellow bargain hunters.  Automatic checkouts and security have made sure that this ‘just walk out’ method of shopping is indeed very real. Everything inside Amazon Go is controlled by your smartphone along with the technology inside the store. But without the patrol of androids in the supermarket, who’s going to clear up that spillage in aisle four?

Drivers

Machines are already dominating the aviation industry, and now they are slowly making their way onto our roads. Tesla’s billionaire boss, Elon Musk, has previously stated that AI is more dangerous than nuclear weapons. A tad drastic perhaps, but this hasn’t stopped his motoring company implementing it within their vehicles. First came cruise control, followed by automated parking and it seems that a completely driverless car is not far over the horizon. But there are still questions over the safety of such inventions; can AI match humans for judgement and do they have the ability to react to the demands of busy roads? This is all currently too much of a risk for the likes of Tesla and Google. It may come as a surprise to many, but even high-tech robots can’t match humans for their driving ability just yet.

Doctors but NOT Nurses

This one is an interesting point to consider. So why doctors and not nurses? There is a simple reason; doctors diagnose a patient with a symptom or illness, whereas nurses provide care for them. There will always be the need for human compassion and interaction, this is a trait that AI’s will never be able to inherit, no matter how smart they become. It is however, entirely possible for droids and robots to carry out health checks and identify any problems. While this may seem like a blockbuster movie scenario, it may well become a growing profession for AIs, coming to a clinic near you!

Bookkeepers/Librarians

Books, what are books? Believe it or not, these things do still exist, and they are still available to purchase or borrow from the local library, which still exists too right? The rise of smartphones and tablets have made sure that we no longer need to leave our homes, for anything. Weekly shop? Grab your tablet! Fancy a pizza? Order through your phone, and this is no different for books and magazines. Unlike a library or bookshop, there is no limit to space in the digital world. Here you can access any edition of any book that has ever existed; that’s over 130 million in just modern history alone. With the rise of AI, you can access any book online, have it delivered to your door and best of all there’s no risk of the dog chewing through it.

Farmers

The AI invasion has even made its way into the most rural areas of our countryside. Farming however, is not entirely at risk from robotics. Most AIs must follow a system to be successful, and farming is not an entirely repetitive job. Farmers do, however, already rely heavily on technology to assist them with their routines. Tractors, combine harvesters and other machinery are a common concept when it comes to agriculture. AI is unlikely to completely take over a working farm, it just doesn’t have the intelligence to do so, yet. What it will do is provide efficiency, soil monitoring and crop yielding using technology, allowing the human workforce to make time for the more complicated and demanding tasks.

 

Whilst most of the ideas discussed in this article are merely speculation, the rise of artificial intelligence is very much a real concept. Some scenarios have already come into fruition, Amazon Go’s AI only supermarket and a robot only cabin crew are just a couple of examples that are already out there. Who knows what will happen in the future, will androids really take all of our jobs or are we just too indispensable? Maybe they will even start writing their own blog posts, but surely, they can’t provide the same degree of humour, can they?