3 Career Fields Robots Can’t Replace

Automation and artificial intelligence (AI) have proven to be useful to recruiters and hiring managers, who were early adopters of the technology. While many fear that this technology will eventually replace human jobs, there are just some roles that require that specific human touch.

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In a recent LinkedIn® blog post, Kai-Fu Lee—a LinkedIn influencer, an AI expert, and CEO of Sinovation Ventures—shares 10 jobs that are safe from automation. Here, we’ll cover just a few of them, but if you want to check out the whole list, click here.

Health and Wellness Careers

Psychiatry. Lee says that roles such as psychiatry, social work, and marriage counseling are all professions that require strong communication skills, empathy, and the ability to win trust from clients.

As we’re learning with the advancements of chatbot technology, these machines require human training through repetitive tasks in order to deliver the best outcome. Because psychiatry and other counseling roles require such in-depth interpersonal skills, it may be virtually impossible to train a machine to react like a human in emotional situations.

Physical therapy. We all have that one family member who busts out the signature “robot move” during weddings, and you know how awkward and clunky he or she looks doing this; it should come as no surprise that robots do not possess the dexterity that is required to provide a literal human touch in the role of a physical or massage therapist.

These types of jobs involve applying very delicate pressure with your hands and being able to detect minute responses from a client’s body, says Lee. “These essential features of therapy make this profession inherently humanistic, and not fit for AI.”

Medical care. We’ve seen the many technological advancements in modern medicine and how they’re being used to enhance human longevity, which makes it even more relieving to see that robots will not be taking over medical care, entirely.

Lee says that a symbiotic relationship between humans and AI can help with the analytical and administrative aspects of health care; however, doctors and nurses will still be necessary. This point is becoming increasingly clear as psychiatry and physical therapy have shown us.

Science and Technology Careers

AI-related research and engineering. Lee predicts that “as AI grows, there will naturally be a jump in the number of AI professionals.” Lee also believes that some entry-level positions could eventually be automated in light of this. As we’re seeing with current recruiting technology, automation is a great way to free up recruiters’ time to provide a better experience to the candidate.

When it comes to AI-related positions, these “professionals will need to keep up with the changes caused by AI just as, in recent years, software engineers have had to learn about assembly language, high-level language, object-oriented programming, mobile programming, and now AI programming,” Lee says.

Computer science and engineering. Engineering professionals, such as computer scientists, engineers, IT administrators, IT workers, and tech consulters, are becoming more in demand as AI and automation improve, “but these jobs require staying up-to-date with technology and moving into areas that are not automated by technology,” says Lee.

As we’re already beginning to see with chatbots, this sort of technology still requires a human to continue to develop and improve the technology for the end user. And let’s not forget that one instance when two Facebook chatbots created their own language and then proceeded to plot with each other in shorthand—which is yet another reason why having a human at the helm is of vital importance.

Creative Careers

Fiction writing. 2016 was the start of a long battle with “Fake News.” And in the last few years, we’re beginning to see that some sources responsible for the fake news are robots, especially on social media websites like Twitter and Facebook.

Jonathon Morgan—CEO of New Knowledge, a security firm that monitors online disinformation—in an article for Quartz says, “Among the hundreds of millions and billions of [Twitter] accounts there’s a pretty significant proportion that’s not real, not authentic human beings having communications with each other—it’s mechanized engagement fraud; attention fraud.” Despite this, Lee still says that robots will not be taking over fiction writing anytime soon.

“Storytelling requires one of the highest levels of creativity, and one which AI will have difficulty emulating,” says Lee. “The success of a great work of fiction lies in original ideas, interesting characters, an engaging plot, and poetic language. All of these essential components of writing are hard to replicate through algorithms.”

Lee confesses that AI will be able to write social media posts, suggest book titles, and perhaps even imitate writing styles, but “the best books, movies, and plays will ultimately be written by humans, at least for the foreseeable future.”

Teaching. Teaching seems like one of those careers that a robot would actually be a perfect fit for. However, even though a robot may have “all the answers,” teaching is not an ideal profession for AI. If you have children—and an Amazon Alexa—I’m sure you can relate to the fact that robots and students are notorious for conspiring for homework answers.

Lee does say that AI will be of great assistance to teachers, but the customization and creativity required to create a curriculum, the one-on-one mentoring students need, and the desire to have students learn independently all prohibit robots and AI from taking over this career field.

We continue to hear about robots taking over the world and how every employer is struggling to fill positions because of a “skills gap,” but if your position requires just an ounce of creativity, I think you’re safe from the robot takeover.

As Lee has indicated numerous times, AI requires constant training on human emotions and interactions—things that only humans are born with and can reasonably understand. While it remains to be seen whether Lee’s predictions will come true, one thing is certain: AI still has a long way to go before it can master how humans work.

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