AI Takeover: Are any jobs safe? 

May, 2023 - Shoosmiths LLP

Progression of developments in technology have always led to impacts on the general workforce. With increased international focus on the speed of AI development and use, what could the impacts be of AI be on today’s workforce?

The BBC have recently covered that “a March 2023 report from Goldman Sachs estimated that AI capable of content generation could do a quarter of all the work currently done by humans. Across the European Union and US, the report further notes, 300 million jobs could be lost to automation. ”

There is a view that some jobs are less susceptible to AI influence. Martin Ford, author of Rule of the Robots: How Artificial Intelligence Will Transform Everything proposes three areas where AI takeover is less likely: 

  1. Creative jobs, ‘where you’re not doing formulaic work or just rearranging things, but you're genuinely coming up with new ideas and building something new.’;
  2. Highly interpersonal jobs, ‘where you need a very deep understanding of people. I think it’ll be a long time before AI has the ability to interact in the kinds of ways that really build relationships’; and
  3. Unpredictable problem solving jobs, like electricians or welders or plumbers for example, jobs ‘that really require lots of mobility and dexterity and problem-solving ability in unpredictable environments

In addition, Joanne Song McLaughlin, associate professor of labour economics at the University of Buffalo argues that whilst some roles might be wholly replaced by AI, others will be augmented  by AI, because a human element will always be required. For example, she suggests “AI will detect cancers way better than humans could. In the future, I’m assuming doctors will use that new technology. But I don’t think the doctor’s whole role will be replaced”.

It could be that the same will apply to the legal sector, indeed Shoosmiths operates software that enables a commercial contract to be reviewed in a matter of seconds. We have a number of tools including CIA. However, lawyers are still needed to check and verify the AI results, advise on unpredictable or unanticipated variables within the AI results (including any related human element), and advise on the wider impact decisions could have on the business/ individual in question. This also mirrors examples given in our previous articles, particularly in relation to AI used for recruitment purposes. Whilst CV scanning and interview monitoring software is undoubtedly useful, many would argue that a face to face interview is the ultimate test of compatibility when recruiting into a team.

General consensus appears to be that whilst some jobs may be completely replaceable, if AI can be incorporated and the role adapted to accommodate new technologies, many jobs will remain very much viable for human recruitment.  There is also the wider public policy considerations as to what effect AI would have the on UK, and indeed global, job market in terms of job displacement as well as the issues caused by the apparent lack of regulation in this area.  

It now seems clear that AI can not longer be ignored by business and to do so would lead to businesses being left behind by their competitors who are not afraid to embrace AI and adapt to it. This should be a key consideration for company board agenda’s, in house legal teams and HR professionals alike.

The jobs AI won't take yet - BBC Worklife


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