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Innovation

These are the jobs most likely to be taken over by AI

Knowing how emerging technology will impact jobs is information that can help professionals stay relevant and competitive in an AI-driven world.
Written by Maria Diaz, Staff Writer
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The potential of artificial intelligence (AI) systems to take over people's jobs is one of the most common fears surrounding the technology. It's partly why many people hesitate to try tools like text and image generators, and why there's such a strong demand for stronger AI regulation. 

These concerns aren't entirely off-base. The UK's Department of Education recently published a study that found that 10-30% of occupations can be automated by AI, with most of these being white-collar jobs. 

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Take the example of AI chatbots, which have the potential to take over jobs for telephone salespersons, solicitors, psychologists, teachers, and market and street traders and assistants, according to the study. These chatbots, such as ChatGPT and Google Bard, can handle routine and repetitive tasks easily and consistently, operate around the clock, and interact with many customers simultaneously.

Occupations most exposed to AI and LLMs

Rank Exposure to AI in generalExposure to LLMs/AI chatbots
1 Management consultants and business analystsTelephone salespersons
2 Financial managers and directorsSolicitors
3 AccountantsPsychologists
4 PsychologistsFurther education teaching professionals
5 Purchasing managersMarket and street traders and assistants
6 Actuaries, economics, and statisticiansLegal professionals
7 Business and financial project managersCredit controllers
8 Finance and investment analysts and advisersHuman resources admins
9 Legal professionalsPublic relations
10 Business and related associate professionalsManagement consultants and business analysts
11 Credit controllersMarket research interviewers
12 SolicitorsLocal government admins
13 Civil engineersClergy
14 Education advisers and school inspectorsHigher education teaching professionals
15 Human resources adminsCollector salespersons and credit agents
16 Business, research, and adminsEducation advisers and school inspectors
17 Financial accounts managersHuman resources managers and directors
18 Bookkeepers, payroll managersNational government admins
19 National government adminsVocational and industrial trainers and instructors
20 Marketing professionalsSocial and humanities scientists

The study also looked at the jobs most likely to be exposed to AI in general, including tools beyond AI chatbots, like AI-assisted diagnostic tools in healthcare and algorithmic trading in finance, for example. The top five jobs most exposed to AI in general include management consultants and business analysts, financial managers, accountants, and psychologists.  

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"The occupations most exposed to AI include more professional occupations, particularly those associated with more clerical work and across finance, law, and business management roles," according to the research study. 

The relationship between how likely jobs are to be replaced by AI and how likely their workers are to benefit from the use of AI was found to be very close. AI and automation can handle routine tasks, such as data entry and processing simple transactions. AI could also be used as a tool by human workers to focus on more challenging tasks that require deeper insight, empathy, or decision making.

Healthcare is a perfect example of how AI can enhance the work of professionals rather than replace them. AI can help diagnose tumors with complex imaging in less time than a human, but a human doctor must make final decisions and differential diagnoses, and they'll need to process all the patient's information after considering medical observations.

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The study stopped short of saying AI would replace these jobs with certainty, using the "most exposed to AI" qualifier instead. This qualifier means these jobs are likely to be aided or replaced altogether by AI tools or AI chatbots. The research used an approach that considered the abilities to perform different job roles and the extent to which these can be augmented or replaced by a selection of 10 common AI applications.

The occupations that are least exposed to AI tools include, unsurprisingly, those requiring manual work and skilled labor. Sports players top the list of occupations least exposed to AI, with roofers, construction workers, plasterers, and steel erectors. 

How can workers avoid being replaced by AI?

AI has the power to replace some workers. However, AI can also enhance workers' roles to help them save time and dedicate more energy to personalized tasks, make inferences with empathy or personal knowledge, and provide in-depth service to customers who need more attention.

Tools like AI chatbots can make creating, summarizing, and translating text easier, allowing human workers to revise, edit, and make necessary corrections and customizations. AI tools, such as ChatGPT, Copilot, and Bard, can create article outlines and summarize large documents in seconds. 

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These tools can also answer questions quickly, without needing to do an internet search or search databases. For example, an AI chatbot can be trained on extensive company material and data to answer queries that are specific to that enterprise.

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