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The AI workforce is on its way

Doctors / Surgeons top the list of jobs that are likely to be done by Artificial Intelligence and robots in the not-so-distant future. 


The authors* of a new book, ‘Beyond Genuine Stupidity - Ensuring AI Serves Humanity’ have looked at human job roles that could be transformed or eliminated completely by the use AI and robotics over the period from 2020 to 2030.



Doctors / Surgeons 

Fully autonomous and remote controlled robotic surgeons will diagnose, treat and operate on patients in areas where there are no physical human medics available. Humans might monitor or control these robo-docs via video from central hub hospital facilities in bigger towns and cities.  New service propositions might emerge such as autonomous vehicle based mobile doctors' surgeries which visit the patient to enable remote diagnosis and conversation while the doctor remains in their office.


Drivers / Mechanics 

From taxis to buses, trucks and rescue services - humans seem likely to be eased out gradually from these roles as regulations allow autonomous / driverless vehicles onto the roads. These new 'autonomous people moving units' can be designed around their primary purpose: moving people around on business, on leisure, and on holiday. They hold out the promise of being inherently safer, more fuel efficient and productive - freeing up drivers' time. They could also become self-diagnosing and connect with other vehicles to form self-insurance pools. The use of shape-shifting 4D-printing techniques could also result in self-repairing vehicles. 



Robots could perform tasks like crowd control and police drones could track and intercept criminals escaping from crime scenes. Autonomous police cars could undertake ultra-high-speed chases and then use either robots or drones to detain the occupants without risking human officers' lives.


Construction Workers & Building Maintenance

Robotic excavators could undertake trenching work for new construction projects while increasingly sophisticated 3D printing coupled with drones and robotic workers could replace many construction jobs. These might include demolition, bricklaying, plastering, plumbing, cabling, and carpentry. Provision could be made in the 3D printed construction process for the different properties and materials required - including external weather proofing, preparing internal surfaces for bespoke decoration and finishing which may be completed by robots, and installation of utilities. All of these construction technologies would be underpinned by AI providing the scope for autonomous construction with minimum human supervision. New materials used in the construction could include 'self-healing' properties and further reduce the reliance on human labour for repair and maintenance throughout the building's life.



A combination of technology advances, changing societal expectations, evolving business needs, and new educational insights mean we can anticipate deep transformations of the overall educational system and curriculum. While AI might be in charge of imparting most of the technical skills and information required by learners, educators would focus on developing human-to-human social skills. Life-long learning journeys would also require more insightful and sensitive mentoring capabilities. 



AI would enable real-time analysis of every transaction as it happens – thus reducing the potential for error and fraud and enabling a continuously updated set of accounts without human intervention. The ability to track and analyse every commercial and social interaction would create new opportunities for suitably skilled and reputable accountants who can leverage their trustworthiness and experience to become high-level business and financial advisors. The emphasis would be more on improving business results rather than collating and auditing them. 


Life Coaches / Therapists 

Automation forecasts today are already causing anxiety and stress among perfectly healthy professionals. When mass layoffs start, society could see mental health issues rise to crisis level. Addressing these issues would be fundamental priorities for life coaches and therapists. 



A range of search, analysis, and contract drafting tasks are already being automated. The use of AI across sectors might challenge existing regulations and lead to a whole raft of new legal precedent work requiring expert input. However, the elimination of the potential for human error would decrease the number of legal disputes. Additionally, smart policing devices and an expanding blanket of sensors will feed into AI judges where there would be little to no room for debate. Moral and ethical issues related to technology advances may become the next legal growth arena.



A vast swathe of management roles could disappear as the workforce they supervise, and the majority of their own tasks, gets automated. For those that still have roles, the priority will shift from managing the present to creating the future, designing how work gets done with an in-depth appreciation of the limitations and advantages of AI and human workers alike. However, the pursuit of maximum efficiency would not be enough in a constantly changing world; to solve new challenges and realise new potential opportunities will require uniquely human capabilities for some time to come and truly unleashing human potential would become the new source of competitive advantage.


Research and Development 

From pharmaceuticals to new materials and electronic devices - AI software is increasingly being used to conduct more and more of the R&D value chain. The use of AI helps compress the iterative innovation process of trial-and-error experimentation.  


In addition, there are numerous ways we might anticipate jobs could evolve in the future. Opportunities might arise in areas such as personal trainers, care of the elderly, the performing arts, helping older workers learn about the new and disruptive technologies and possibly teachers / classroom facilitators if greater emphasis is placed on developing life skills in smaller-sized, face-to-face classes. 


The industries of the future will also generate a significant volume of mainly graduate or master’s degree-level opportunities in everything from alternative energy and synthetic materials to human augmentation and driverless vehicles. 


Ultimately, today’s business leaders acknowledge that the robots are coming; it is just that we don’t know where they may have their biggest impacts.  


To stay ahead of the game, mental exercises like constructing scenarios can provide insights that challenge the ‘expected’ future and open doors to exciting new images of progress. Visions of the future are empowering tools at a time when drastic changes are afoot and uncertainty is high. They can help us prepare organisations and individuals for a range of possibilities and rehearsing the future also helps reduce the shock factor when the more radical developments do play out.   


* Authors, Rohit Talwar, Steve Wells, Alexandra Whittington, Maria Romero, and April Koury are from Fast Future Publishing, which specialises in books from future thinkers around the world, exploring how developments such as AI, robotics and disruptive thinking could impact individuals, society and business and create new trillion-dollar sectors.