Computer scientists have been developing artificial intelligence for years. It’s been used behind the scenes in countless industries ranging from banking and retail commerce to manufacturing, logistics, real estate, healthcare, travel, and more. But it was only a matter of time before AI breakthroughs resulted in some major disruptions to the daily lives of average workers.
Chatbots such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Google’s Bard are suddenly—and unexpectedly—making international headlines for the radical, game-changing capabilities they’ve dumped in our collective laps. From being able to write complex, thoughtful articles and essays to composing original works of music and art, this new wave of AI technology is a wake-up call for many employers, job-seekers, and future college students.
Entire career fields which once seemed destined to need human involvement for at least many years to come are now, overnight, starting to look obsolete or near extinction. Of course, even as AI replaces some human workers, there will be a need for workers who understand AI and how to harness its power. In other words, the people who work with artificial intelligence instead of trying to fight against it will be better positioned. So let’s explore a few career fields that might get downsized and consider some that may see an uptick in hiring in the years to come!
Jobs at risk because of AI
There are dozens of career fields that are already or soon will be impacted by the explosion of AI. Below are just a handful. For a comprehensive listing, check out Business Insider’s 10 roles that AI is most likely to replace.
Customer service careers
We’re all used to website chatbots and automated customer service phone chats, but in time AI will take over more—if not most—customer-facing roles. While customers still currently prefer to work with a real person, that is mainly because our fellow humans can answer more detailed questions. Once AI can do the same thing, the public will buy in. And corporate America is very keen to make that happen because human customer service agents are expensive.
Thus we’re already seeing the rise of the so-called digital human, a hybrid of computer graphics “coupled with advances in artificial intelligence” to put “humanlike faces on chatbots and other computer-based interfaces.” We’ve already seen how advanced deepfakes can get, so it won’t be long before we’re all interacting with artificial yet realistic-looking digital customer service reps.
AI is throwing tech workers under the bus. It seems like cruel irony, but tech jobs are among the most at-risk for being replaced because AI can write code, perform data analysis tasks, and do much of the work of computer programmers and software engineers.
This doesn’t mean those jobs will go away entirely. But, for example, OpenAI is already training its AI “to replace some software engineers.” As Mark Muro, a Brookings Institute fellow, puts it, “What took a team of software developers might only take some of them.” With that in mind, see below for some technology jobs that do have a positive outlook!
AI is surprisingly creative! DALLE-E 2 can “create realistic images and art from a description in natural language,” meaning a user can type in a text description and the program will instantly generate unique, visually engaging works of art in seconds.
Meanwhile, mere months after ChatGPT shocked the world with its writing prowess, ChatGPT-4 has blown the original edition out of the water. Both versions took the bar exam (a rigorous test law students must pass to become licensed attorneys). ChatGPT-4 scored in the 90th percentile compared to ChatGPT’s 10th percentile.
Less known are OpenAI’s music-composing Jukebox, a “neural net that generates music, including rudimentary singing, as raw audio in a variety of genres and artist styles,” and MuseNet, which can produce “4-minute musical compositions with 10 different instruments, and can combine styles from country to Mozart to the Beatles.”
All these programs are already affecting creative careers such as writing (i.e., content creation, copywriting) and advertising (including graphic design). AI is currently having some bugs worked out to improve its factual correctness, but in time it’ll be able to write accurate technical materials and even report about the news!
To learn more about creative career options, check out Gladeo’s Creative Careers webpage and resources.
Jobs that should grow because of AI
When it comes to career outlooks, there are never any guarantees. However, at the moment AI-related careers are hot and projected to get hotter. These include job titles such as:
Big data engineer
Business intelligence developer
Machine learning engineer
Natural Language Processing (NLP) engineer
Alas, such high-tech positions don’t appeal to everyone. These jobs tend to require at least a bachelor’s degree, usually in computer science, math, or statistics. However, the degree requirement may change as the talent gap widens. Many employers do, or will, consider applicants with sufficient certifications and practical, related experience.
Jobs that won’t be impacted by AI
Some career fields won’t see a huge change either way, except that perhaps AI-enhanced tools may be utilized in certain aspects of the job. Trade careers, in particular, should enjoy stable job security since AI can’t do the work unless it is integrated into robots. While this does occur, such as in automotive manufacturing, it usually isn’t cost-effective unless there is an assembly line type of process.
Trade careers are very hands-on. Some trade careers are referred to as “skilled labor” jobs, such as electricians, cooks, carpenters, welders, mechanics, truck drivers, and plumbers. However, a few points to keep in mind are:
Skilled labor jobs often pay as much if not more than many so-called “white collar” jobs
The term skilled labor can apply to white collar jobs such as doctors, nurses, firefighters, engineers, and other hands-on workers!
Many trade careers don’t require a degree, but instead involve learning (while getting paid) through a lengthy hands-on apprenticeship program.