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Artificial intelligence

Five jobs likely to be replaced in the future by artificial intelligence

With the growth of AI and China’s heavy investment in the tech, and the pursuit of improved productivity and profits, humans may lose out to machines in a number of roles. We look at five posts likely to be affected

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 24 April, 2018, 6:33pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 24 April, 2018, 6:32pm

The growth of artificial intelligence (AI) worldwide in the coming decades is a given and China is at the forefront of it all.

China’s State Council laid out an ambitious AI strategic plan in July 2017 to create a domestic 1 trillion yuan (US$147.80 billion) AI industry and make China the world’s leading AI innovation centre by 2030.

It’s early days yet, but the Chinese population’s eagerness to embrace new technologies, along with supportive government policies and budget, mean that AI infrastructure is guaranteed to appear here sooner rather than later.

Globally organisations of all sizes and industries are pursuing AI-driven automation to help improve productivity and profitability. The question is: if AI develops to a point where machines will take over humans’ jobs, what will those jobs be? Here are five examples of what the future could look like.

Law enforcement

RoboCop may not yet be available, but China announced plans in November to build an unmanned police station powered by AI in Wuhan in Hubei province. Chinese financial paper Caijing Neican, reports that it will offer simulated driver examinations and provide registration services, thanks to state-of-the-art facial-recognition technology.

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It will be introduced to help users avoid sitting at stations for long periods of time, sign up for accounts, or download apps. The cutting-edge AI technology will access all the individuals’ information as soon as it sees the person’s face.

Bookkeeping

One of the most obvious ways in which AI will make inroads is in accounting and bookkeeping, which can be easily automated. A range of accounting software facilitators already offer automated data entry, and other bookkeeping practices. The move is being promoted as essential as it will diminish mistakes introduced by human error, but most importantly of all, it will also be faster and work out at a lower cost.

Job interviewers

Graduate schemes, with the likes of Goldman Sachs and Unilever, are increasingly using AI features to conduct interviews. Students are asked to set up a webcam on their computer or phone, instead of sitting in front of an interviewer.

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Questions appear on the screen, and interviewees are asked to make a video recording of their answers. Powerful algorithms scan the videos and pick up the words or phrases that the interviewees are using, and how confidently they answer.

The AI interviews are used to help narrow down the thousands of applicants involved, until a shortlist is made and final in-person interviews take place.

Telemarketing

The future for telemarketers looks bleak. AI is already being used to find the best advertisement targets to make it easier for customers to learn about the most attractive products and services online. Direct customer advertisement would also not be needed in the long run, with direct phone sales falling in popularity as the age of digital advertisements goes from strength to strength.

Receptionist

The advancement of new technologies such as Amazon Alexa and Google Home could potentially see human receptionists replaced, with voice-activated response getting all the details necessary instead. Employers lose business opportunities when office receptionists are not available to respond to every customer, or take calls from potential customers. However, if ever there was a job that needs the human touch it is surely this one.