Six jobs humans are NOT likely to lose to robots

April 7, 2017
Six jobs humans are NOT likely to lose to robots

Image by Tatiana Shepeleva / Shutterstock, Inc
The rise of AI (Artificial Intelligence) is very real. Last month, Tresha Moreland published an article talking about six jobs humans are likely to lose to robots. But not all jobs are at risk of imminent automation – in fact, there are many jobs that robots may never be able to fully manage.

Which Skills do Robots Sruggle With?

I recently spoke to HR blogger and robot enthusiast Kazim Ladimeji, about the robotic future of HR. I recorded our conversation, and will be releasing it as a podcast over the next few weeks. But in the meantime, I’d like to look at something Kazim and I talked about – and that’s the three core skills robots have great difficulty emulating. Spoiler alert:

  1. Creativity
  2. Empathy
  3. Strategic thinking

Based on this, here are six jobs that I think robots will NOT be able to take away from humans. At least not during the next few decades.

1. Designers

OK, so maybe robots can already produce works of art. But this is largely following pre-programmed rules, or mimicking existing imagery in different styles. Robots are still unable to produce genuine creative thought – and by this, I mean making original decisions based on changing tastes, trends and flavours. For this reason, designers are not at risk of being replaced.

Graphic designers, fashion designers and artists can all sleep easy tonight.

2. Journalists

Again, a robot can write an article. But can it respond to trends in a way that takes advantage of the mood of the nation, in order to push a specific agenda? Not yet – and robots certainly won’t be jumping out of bed in the dead of night to travel to a warzone to capture the latest frightful happening.

True journalism is about more than simply putting words together on a page. It requires careful creative thinking, the ability to feel the ‘pulse’ of the world, and an understanding of how to use words in a way that influences how people feel.

3. Customer Service

A lot of customer service is already automated. Simulated “live chats” pretend to listen to your concerns, but in reality they just look for keywords and spit out pre-written help articles. While this can be useful, as a customer, you sometimes yearn for somebody who understands the situation you’re going through. And a robot simply cannot do this.

A great customer service department needs to show its customers true empathy. Robots struggle with empathy, and as such, customer service jobs are unlikely to ever be fully automated.

4. Health & Social Care

Not all care can be prescribed by assessing a list of symptoms and matching it against a list of possible solutions. Care of the young or elderly requires empathy of the situation, in order for a custom care plan to be developed. Besides, many vulnerable people require the feeling of a genuine “human” connection.

Sure, robots can assist in the delivery of health and social care. For example, we already use certain forms of robotics in surgery. But health and social care jobs are likely to be on the market for a long time.

5. Coaching and mentoring

To be a great coach or mentor, you need to understand the people you’re trying to motivate and inspire. Otherwise, how can you expect them to respect you? This requires empathy.

But beyond this, you need to apply your understanding of a person’s needs and abilities, into a strategic plan for helping this person develop. Robots may be good at certain strategy games, sure – if they’ve been programmed to crunch the numbers and analyse probabilities. But they are still not capable of original, strategic thought.

6. Engineers

On the subject of strategic thought, here’s another job that robots won’t be taking any time soon. Engineering! There are more than 1.7 million people employed in engineering in the UK alone, and it’s a job robots probably won’t be able to take over.

Whether you’re an architectural engineer, a civil engineer, a geotechnical engineer or even a hydrology engineer, your strategic thinking, and your ability to think outside the box to forge solutions, has placed your value above that of a robot.

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