Are You In Danger Of Being Replaced By AI?

AI playing chess

Since the inception of artificial intelligence (AI), even as an idea, the worry that it will one day replace humans has been floating around. The worry first came to fruition during the historic chess match between the chess computer Deep Blue against the reigning world champion at that time, Garry Kasparov.

In their first match, Deep Blue made history by being the first machine to win a game against a world champion. Since then, AI players have continually made strides – with the Google backed AlphaGo beating the Go world champion. A feat that was once considered impossible for a computer.

On the blue collar front, mechanisation and automation have reduced the number of people needed on a production or assembly line. Shipping vessels that once needed crews of several hundred people to operate can now carry 100 times as much cargo with only a handful of people onboard. Robots have replaced humans in manufacturing, allowing businesses to produce more than ever before – while employing fewer and fewer people.

So naturally, people working white collar jobs are worried that the next advancement in technology will come for them. 

Should I be worried as well?

So now you’re probably wondering, should I start worrying about being replaced by an AI as well?

Earlier this year, a letter called for ‘a pause’ in AI training was published. The letter called for a six-month break in the training and development of new AI, and it was signed by 33,000 people, including some very influential persons such as Elon Musk and other professors from the world’s largest universities as well as other representatives of science and business.

In the letter, it is stated that they believe “AI systems with human-competitive intelligence can pose profound risks to society and humanity.” How does AI pose this risk? In this case, it was related to the potential of the livelihoods of programmers being affected.

Every company seems to have AI on their 2024 plans. There are even job advertisement for roles that are specifically to do with using AI or monitoring AI platforms. Essentially, it involves training AI to do the job that a human worker is doing. For example, when Netflix advertised a product manager role for its machine learning platform or a media company looking for an AI-powered reporter as reported by a local UK news daily.

How does AI pose a risk?

This led to some people from some professions worrying about the longevity of their careers. In particular, people from the creative industry started thinking of picking up new skills due to the rapid growth of AI. 

Every profession from law to medicine, retail and even filmmaking can see inroads being made by using AI. But AI’s rapid growth does not necessarily mean all doom and gloom.

Yes, it’s true that in humanity’s long history automation has rendered quite a number of jobs obsolete. But with automation, and now AI, comes a host of new tasks to be carried out, and new jobs as well.

Of course, the process is sometimes hard and yes, it will take time to adapt. Yes, some people will be pushed to the wayside, but generally, the number of jobs has never really dissipated due to automation.

Therefore, perhaps it’s not really time for you to worry about AI replacing you just yet, but there are some steps you can take to ensure automation does not render you obsolete.

Steps you can take

If you’re still worried about AI replacing you at your jobs, here are some steps you can take to ensure that you are not easily replaceable.

Incorporate AI

Instead of worrying about the possibility of AI replacing you, learn how to incorporate AI in your work. You have to remember, that no matter how advanced AI gets, it is still a tool. Someone will still need to wield it in the workflow, and that person might as well be you.

Cultivate leadership and management skills

One aspect of a human worker that AI will have issues in emulating is leadership and management skills. You should remember that AI is designed to be a worker, not a decision leader in a working environment. So if you can cultivate your leadership and management skills, you will make it very hard for AI to replace you.

Polish your critical thinking

And finally, one truth about the current state of AI that everyone needs to know is that while AI is good at collecting and collating data, they don’t really have the capability to interpret and analyse that data. Which is why you should polish your critical thinking, so you can fill in the gaps that AI leaves.

Upskilling will help

And there you have it. Although perhaps there is some reason to worry about AI’s capability of taking over your job, there are still things that only humans can do.

The verdict is still not in on whether AI could be used either to replace or complement what workers do. The current capabilities of most AI tools may actually require more human intervention to ensure accuracy. Jobs that involve mechanical tasks and job functions which require massive physical labour are the ones that most AI automation is focused on at the moment. When applied correctly, it should help increase productivity.

But if you’re still worried, one last thing you can do is always try to upskill yourself. Upskill will ensure that no matter what happens in the future with AI, you will always have something else to fall back on.

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