January 26, 2024

Will AI Take Your Job?


Will AI Take Your Job? - A Comprehensive Look at AI's Impact on the Workforce

We notice that a lot of doubts from job seekers if their job will be replaced by AI one day. This topic came to my forefront following a meeting with my professors last month, where I explored the acceptability of postgraduate students using AI in their thesis writing. Surprisingly, the answer was yes. The rationale given was that while AI handles the writing, its effectiveness heavily depends on how humans prompt it, understand the content, and integrate these inputs in a repetitive cycle. This insight resonates strongly in the broader job market, especially considering the mass retrenchment in the IT industry lately. Let’s explore which roles might be more susceptible to AI replacement and how we can adapt and thrive in this evolving landscape.

Roles That Might Be Replaced Easily by AI, Especially Entry-Level or Junior Level Roles

1. Routine and Repetitive Jobs

Jobs that involve repetitive tasks and don’t require much in the way of problem-solving or creative thinking are at the highest risk. This includes positions like data entry clerks, assembly line workers, and other roles where the tasks are predictable and consistent.

2. Basic Customer Service Roles

With the advent of AI-driven chatbots and automated response systems, basic customer service roles, particularly those that involve answering routine queries, are increasingly being handled by machines.

3. Basic Analysis Jobs

Positions that involve straightforward data analysis, which can be algorithmically predetermined, are also at risk. These roles, often found in sectors like finance and market research, might see a shift towards more machine-driven analysis.

4. Junior Software Engineers

Automation in coding and software development, especially for routine and basic programming tasks, may reduce the demand for junior software engineers. AI-driven development tools can generate code, debug, and even optimize basic software tasks, which are typically the domain of junior engineers.

5. Content Creators and Journalists

AI’s ability to generate basic news articles, reports, and even creative content like music and artwork, is impacting jobs in journalism and content creation.

6. Legal Assistants and Paralegals

AI’s capacity for document review and legal research is transforming roles in legal assistance and paralegal services.

7. Education Support Staff

Automation in grading and personalized learning material preparation is affecting administrative and support roles in education.

AI: The New Office Buddy, Not the Boss

First off, let’s get something straight: AI is more like that helpful office buddy who takes care of the boring stuff so you can focus on the cool, creative parts of your job. It’s great at crunching numbers, sorting data, and doing repetitive tasks. But can it replace the human touch, the creative spark, or the ability to read a room? Not quite.

Sure, AI is changing how we work, but that’s not new. Remember when computers first came into offices? There was panic then, too. The trick is to stay ahead of the curve. How? Upskill, reskill, and be curious. The more you learn, the more you’ll find AI can’t compete with your uniquely human skills – like empathy, creativity, and critical thinking.

New Doors Are Opening

Think of AI as a door opener, not a gatekeeper. With AI taking over the mundane tasks, new roles are popping up. Ever heard of AI ethics specialists or machine learning fairness auditors a decade ago? Probably not, because they didn’t exist. AI’s creating jobs that we didn’t even dream of, namely, AI and Machine Learning Specialists, AI Trainers and Educators, AI Product Managers, Content Moderators and Fact-Checkers, and etc.

Real-world examples abound where AI has transformed roles and industries. In healthcare, AI has revolutionized diagnostic processes, enhancing medical professionals’ capabilities. In finance, AI algorithms are increasingly used for risk assessment and fraud detection, while in retail, AI drives personalized customer experiences. These examples underscore AI’s role in fostering innovation and efficiency across sectors.

Also, the recent advancements in AI-powered language translation have significantly reduced language barriers, making it easier for people from different nations to collaborate and work together. Modern translation tools, powered by AI and machine learning algorithms, have become increasingly sophisticated and accurate, enabling real-time, near-seamless translation of spoken and written language.

These AI translation services are not only popular among individual users but also widely adopted in various business scenarios. They facilitate communication in international trade, cross-border collaborations, global meetings, and even in customer service where clients and service providers speak different languages. This technology has opened up new opportunities for businesses and individuals alike, allowing for smoother interaction and cooperation across different linguistic and cultural backgrounds.

These developments in AI not only signal a shift in the types of jobs available but also herald a new era of global connectivity and cooperation. As AI continues to evolve, it promises to further bridge gaps – not just in language, but in skills and opportunities, paving the way for a more integrated and innovative future.

For layman employees like you and me, integrating AI or tools like ChatGPT into our daily work can significantly enhance productivity, streamline workflows, and foster more informed decision-making. Here’s how you can make the most of it:

    • Information and Data Analysis

Leverage AI for quick data analysis. Whether it’s sorting through large datasets, summarizing reports, or extracting key insights, AI can handle these tasks efficiently, allowing you to make data-driven decisions faster.

    • Enhanced Research and Learning

Utilize AI tools for research and learning. They can provide quick answers to queries, suggest resources, and even help in understanding complex topics, keeping you updated and knowledgeable in your field.

    • Improved Communication and Writing

AI can assist in drafting emails, reports, and presentations. Tools like ChatGPT can suggest content, help with language polishing, and ensure your written communication is clear and professional.

    • Problem Solving and Creative Thinking

For challenging problems, AI tools can offer different perspectives or solutions you might not have considered. They can be a source of inspiration and a sounding board for brainstorming sessions.

This is your cue to become a lifelong learner. The world’s changing fast, and the best way to keep up is to keep learning. Whether it’s a new software, a course in emotional intelligence, or just staying in the loop with industry trends, every bit helps.

In Singapore, educational institutions such as Tertiary Courses Singapore, London School of Business & Finance (LSBF), and AI Singapore offer comprehensive courses in Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, AI Ethics & Governance, and Data Analytics. These courses, which vary from basic to advanced levels, are designed to prepare learners for the evolving AI landscape. They cover practical applications, theoretical foundations, and ethical considerations of AI. While these courses are not directly provided by Workforce Singapore (WSG), they align with the national skill development initiatives and may receive support from WSG. Additionally, programs like the 5-Day AI Bootcamp by SMU Academy are available for professionals to enhance their AI skills using SkillsFuture credits. These courses, catering to different professional needs, offer an opportunity for Singaporeans to utilize their SkillsFuture credits effectively in an AI-dominated era.

The Human Factor: Irreplaceable

At the end of the day, businesses are about people. And people want to connect with, well, other people – not machines. Your human experiences, insights, and interactions are things AI can’t replicate. That’s your ace in the hole.

In conclusion, while AI is reshaping the job landscape, it’s not the end-all-be-all. It’s a tool, an ally, and in some cases, a catalyst for new opportunities. Embracing change, continuously learning, and leveraging our unique human capabilities are the keys to not just surviving but thriving in this new era. Let’s not view AI as a threat, but rather as a challenge to grow and a chance to redefine our roles in the workforce.

This article is written by:
Angel Lim @ Anradus Pte Ltd.
Industrial & Organizational Psychologist