Monday, January 23, 2023

What Jobs Are Safe From Automation?

“It's tough to make predictions, especially about the future.” – Yogi Berra

That doesn't mean people don't try. Recent advances in Artificial Intelligence have a lot of people predicting what jobs are an are not likely to be replaced by computers. Technology is challenging the ideas about what jobs can and cannot be replaced by technology. Doug Peterson, who shares a lot of interesting articles, recently share this one predicting that leaders will not be replace. It's an optimistic article. 5 Reasons Leaders Shouldn't Worry That Generative A.I. Will Take Their Jobs |

A lot of jobs we once thought were completely safe are being seen in a new way lately. AIs are creating what looks to many like art for example. This is forcing us to take a hard look at how we define art. Some recent visits to museums had me already asking “what is art?”

Today we joke about AI attempts to write short stories, poetry, and other narratives. A lot of our stories in movies an even books are formulaic. How long before AIs can write Hallmark Christmas movies I wonder? What used to be a joke may be a prediction of the future.

A lot of people are speculating on  the future end of the programmer profession. People have been predicting that would decades but we are closer to that than ever before. Software developers today think they are safe though because they (we) know that end users are terrible about describing what they want a program to do. Will the future bring courses and training on how to talk to AIs? Possibly. I can sure see the need for it.

People who are not teachers are suggesting that AIs will take over for human teachers. As someone who spent 15 years teaching I am not so sure about that. I think the human touch will remain important for the future. Teaching is a lot about reading people and establishing relationships. Wil AI be able to do that? I am not sure anyone knows.

One area I think people have an advantage over AI is that we are bad with risk analysis. What may seem like a flaw leads people with some luck, some imagination, and some hard work to beat the odds. We see potential needs when a pure look at the data would not see anything. And we are often willing to defy the odds for things we believe in. I am not sure AI will get there.

Thinking about the possibilities of AI and what it means for the future of work is a critical topic. It’s something we need everyone, but especially students, to be thinking about.

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