The transformative impact of artificial intelligence on our society will have far-reaching economic, legal, political and regulatory implications that we need to be discussing and preparing for.
Artificial intelligence will definitely cause our workforce to evolve. The alarmist headlines emphasise the loss of jobs to machines, but the real challenge is for humans to find their passion with new responsibilities that require their uniquely human abilities. According to PwC, 7 million existing jobs will be replaced by AI in the UK from 2017-2037, but 7.2 million jobs could be created. This uncertainty and the changes to how some will make a living could be challenging.
While it’s a trend that worries some, tech advocates say automation will free human workers up to tackle more impactful and creative strategic projects.
Of course, some jobs are more easily transitioned to automation than others. It’s important for business owners to recognize and prepare for these potential shifts and for those who are in, or are soon to enter, the workforce to develop the skills needed for new opportunities that will arise. Below, 13 Forbes Technology Council members discuss the jobs they think will be automated in the next five to 10 years.
1. Insurance Underwriting
We will start to see an upward automation trend in needs analysis, underwriting and suitability analysis to determine the appropriate insurance product for an applying individual. With the increase in the availability of different data sources and maturing conversational AI technologies, the application process for insurance would be automated for a majority of applicants. – Thiru Sivasubramanian, SE2, LLC
2. Warehouse And Manufacturing Jobs
Repeatable task-based jobs are likely to be the first to be automated. AI excels at pattern recognition, performing sequenced tasks faster and with higher accuracy than human workers. Warehouse workers and other manufacturing-based jobs will be automated as robots will be able to move inventory with greater efficiency and with fewer safety concerns than humans. – Marc Fischer, Dogtown Media LLC
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3. Customer Service
Customer service still has a huge potential for automation. It’s not completely uncharted territory now, but the technology just isn’t where it needs to be to keep customers from getting frustrated because they feel they’re speaking to robots who can’t understand them. It is, however, improving rapidly, and I think that may be an industry that switches over entirely in the next few years. – Marc Alacqua, Signafire
4. Research And Data Entry
Look for small to mid-sized companies to rely heavily on Google, Amazon and others for research investments, resulting in research and data roles being automated. While bigger companies productize research, smaller product companies will not get bogged down by building “in-house” capabilities but will instead leverage offerings from bigger players to bring AI- and ML-enhanced products to market faster. – Andres Angelani, Softvision
5. Production Line Evolution
Production line robots have been a symbol of automation for years now, and they’re getting better. Other aspects of that line, like quality control, are next to be automated. For example, AI uses visual image-seeking patterns to determine if a car door is affixed properly. AI will not be a substitute for everything, but the combination of AI plus people is greatly improving assembly and manufacturing automation. – Artem Petrov, Reinvently
6. Local TV Advertising
The paper-based workflow and processes used to secure advertising on local TV are automating rapidly due to industry pressures such as the growth of streaming services like Netflix and digital ads. Automated “programmatic” advertising delivers vast efficiencies and transaction transparency, freeing buyers and sellers to spend more time on improving campaign results and growing revenue. – Shereta Williams, Videa
7. Pharmaceutical Discovery
While I don’t believe that the lab work will be fully automated anytime soon, I do believe that parts of the drug discovery process will be automated—for example, choosing the ingredients for your experiments, reading the relevant scientific data and even outsourcing some of the techniques and services. Making those processes more efficient will decrease the time to market for drug discovery significantly. – Dr. Karin Lachmi, Bioz
8. Banking Services And Retail Checkout
Jobs roles such as bank tellers and cashiers will be completely automated. Current self-service options such as ATMs and checkout kiosks will make this a natural progression. These job roles also require very little problem-solving, creativity or people-management skills, which are parts of the nuanced skill set that will be in demand and required in the future of work. – Marlyne Pierce, Modern Mogul Ventures.
9. Outbound Sales
Most people don’t want to have an awkward conversation, so it’s only natural that outbound sales will continue being automated. There are now AI bots that can have a conversation with a person through email, and when the lead becomes interested, pass the email to an employee to call the lead. This shifts the call from a cold outbound lead to a warm inbound lead, which is much easier to close. – Thomas Griffin, OptinMonster
10. Fast Food Service
The next decade will see complete automation of front-line fast food service production and distribution. We are already seeing sophisticated self-service kiosks within many fast food chains, whereby ordering food is as easy as a few touches on a screen. Many of the locations will be automated via robot-enabled artificial intelligence with perhaps one or two humans to oversee the entire facility. – Todd Rebner, Cyleron
11. Long-Haul Trucking
I think we will see significant numbers of self-driving trucks in the next five to 10 years, even before self-driving cars. There is a significant shortage of people willing to drive the big rigs down the highway and significant price pressure on their wages. Just think, wouldn’t it be great if all the trucks would stay in one lane? It would be a huge win for the shipping companies and for the general public. – Kurt Dykema, Twisthink
12. Delivery Services
Automation is best when it is a repetitive action. Restaurants already use automation to dispense your soda in the drive-through or fry up a batch of fries when more are needed. I see package delivery being automated at some point. Drones are already being tested to deliver packages—why not a self-driving truck with a drone to drop the package off at the door? – Michael Hoyt, Life Cycle Engineering, Inc.
13. Any Tasks That Can Be Learned
Within the next 10 years, tasks that can be learned will be automated. The focus for most engineers at the moment is advancing the Level of Automation (LOA) across the board to more advanced applications in industry. The way we will realize these advancements is by building systems that can learn things they need to automate on their own, and within the next 10 years, this should be the reality. – Vijay Bolina, Global FinTech