As artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning continues rapidly evolving to meet the demands of an increasingly technological world, many are questioning what these developments mean for their own personal economic viability and the future of work as a whole. Will technology replace humans in the workforce? If so, to what degree? However, there’s no cause for alarm if you grasp the job skills AI can’t replace and take steps to upskill yourself in at least one area that involves creativity, planning, physical ability, judgement, empathy, or technology management.
First, it’s essential to understand exactly what AI is and its technological capabilities to determine the job skills AI can’t replace and develop professionally in these areas.
What Does AI Really Mean?
Simply put, AI is machine intelligence in comparison to natural intelligence inherent to humans and other animals. Conceptually, AI indicates that a machine can think independently of a human operator and make decisions based on programming data.
What can AI do right now?
Currently, AI excels best at completing repetitive tasks, processing large amounts of data, and answering basic questions in customer service and recruiting. Due to complex algorithms, AI can perform computing tasks far quicker and more efficiently than its human counterparts, helping research and development make substantially faster progress.
Among the most notable current AI applications are IBM’s Watson, which powers research covering a range of fields, and Microsoft’s Azure Machine Learning cloud-based platform. Many of us have already welcomed AI into our homes in the form of smart assistants like Alexa, Siri, and Cortana.
However, for all of AI’s capabilities and strengths, there are still job skills AI can’t replace which will go on to define the future of the human side of the workforce.
The Top 6 Job Skills AI Can’t Replace
Empathy is the top quality that makes us uniquely human. It is literally the essence of humanity. While computers can engage in basic human interactions like customer service over the telephone, their very nature precludes them from any sort of natural ability to connect with humans on an emotional level. Consequently, they are unable to assist with managing emotions, reading feelings, teamwork or meaningful communication.
The power of imagination and thinking outside the proverbial box are inherently human qualities that involve creating ideas that don’t already exit. AI machines are able to create music, writing, and art. However, they only accomplish these tasks by recognizing patterns and data analysis rather than producing something entirely new. Being able to conceptualize something new from scratch is unique to humans.
A person doesn’t have to be an inventor, author, or musician to leverage their creativity to master job skills AI can’t replace. Those are merely specific manifestations of being able to think abstractly in problem solving. For example, talent recruiters must use creativity to devise new ways of attracting quality candidates.
While machines are exceptionally competent at developing strategy in games like chess that are bound by rules and logic to determine outcomes. Consequently, the outcomes are predictable. However, the future doesn’t play out like this in the real world. Many jobs rely on dealing with uncertain outcomes, changing priorities, and information gaps.
4. Physical Ability
As humans, we have a natural appreciation for the physical abilities and skills that are implicit with many popular sports. We are specifically inspired by humans accomplishing these things. These sorts of feats would not have the same emotional weight if carried out by a machine.
Frankly, it’s frightening to imagine a computer replacing a lawyer or judge for legal matters. When it comes to conflict and ethics, not everything can be viewed in purely black-and-white terms. A naturally human sense of right and wrong dictates a great deal of how we view and determine any given situation. Logical reasoning simply falls short of the mark.
Similarly, conflict resolution and negotiation are job skills AI can’t replace. While particular facets of any given argument may be factual or legally accurate, many conflicts also involve emotion and irrationality. For example, legal cases do not always proceed rationally and can have hidden motives and agendas that aren’t apparent to all involved parties.
6. Technological Management
While the most at-risk jobs tend to be in the realm of technology, humans are still needed to create, manage fix AI technology as it continues progressing. Business consultant Bernard Marr told Forbes that “automated systems will still require oversight, especially at the beginning. Even if an AI system can take over the bookkeeping for a company, an accountant will still be needed to check for errors. Likewise, while a computer might be programmed to make ad buys for a company, a marketing expert would want to double-check that the purchases are aligned with the brand.”
No matter where your career takes you, it’s increasingly necessary to be aware of the job skills AI can’t replace and to invest in upskilling, training, or retraining in areas involving empathy, creativity, physical ability, judgement, planning, and technological management if you want to stay relevant and irreplaceable in your field.