Is Your Job Artificial Intelligence-Proof? Here’s a Checklist to Find Out


With the sudden surge in artificial intelligence projects being conducted by some of the world’s most cash-rich companies like Google, Microsoft, Apple, IBM, Amazon and Facebook, there is a lot of uncertainly about how artificial intelligence will affect our daily lives in the future.

Will it be an enabler for humans or a replacement for human employees? That’s the big question on a lot of people’s minds.

But before we can explore that as a real possibility, let’s look at the various areas where artificial intelligence is already permeating our lives.

In an earlier article, I debated whether artificial intelligence, or AI, can really replace our primary caregivers – our doctors. Despite the ability of artificial intelligence and predictive/cognitive analytics to absorb, process, store and retrieve information millions of times faster than any living human, there can be no replacement for that human touch.

But not every industry is like that. For example, automated systems are already a major part of manufacturing and industrial processes because it’s often cheaper and infinitely safer to have a machine do the job of a human.

In yet another article, I discussed the various applications of artificial intelligence in the fields of technology, business, education and more. The more I delve into this subject, however, one thing is clear: some jobs will definitely be lost as AI silently creeps into our world, but there’s a clear pattern of what types of jobs will be most affected.

So that brings us to the question, is your job AI-proof? To answer that, we need to look at the different criteria that would make a job “AI-friendly” as it were. If you score a 5 or higher on this checklist, then you might be looking at employment section of the newspaper sooner than you think!

The Artificial Intelligence-proof Job Checklist

Each item carries 1 point for a YES answer and 0 points for a NO. Score yourself a 0 or 1 on each point in the checklist and see how you fare at the end of it.

  1. Your job primarily involves repetitive tasks.
  2. Your job is to analyze data, process it and present it. (For example, accounting and reporting)
  3. Your job can be learned by someone else in less than a month.
  4. You do NOT manage the productivity and performance of a team.
  5. Much of your job is already automated, and you merely supervise and monitor the workflow.
  6. Your job does NOT involve a large amount of judgment calls based on experience.
  7. Your job primarily involves executing well-documented processes.
  8. There is already a surplus of candidates to fill your position.
  9. There is already a technology available or under development that can replace you.
  10. Your job does NOT require specialized knowledge or intellectual skills.

What’s Your AI-proof Job Rating?

7-10: If you scored a 7 or above on the test, your job is most likely to be replaced in the next few years. To protect yourself from imminent redundancy, learn new skills in different areas so your specialized knowledge will allow you to move to an AI-proof job.

4-6: You’re relatively safe because much of your job depends on core decision-making that is not easily replaceable. However, it is recommended that you improve your soft-skills, people-management skills and leadership skills. These are the real AI-proof characteristics of any job.

1-3: Congratulations! You have a job that cannot be easily replaced by an artificially intelligent entity. But don’t get comfortable just yet because you have to keep honing the skills that are keeping redundancy at bay. In other words, keep getting better at your job until you’re among the best at what you do.

What Jobs are at Risk?

Some jobs are inherently AI-proof, but that doesn’t mean they will stay that way for ever. As an example, a few years ago one would have thought that a sales job was replaceable. But today there’s an entire industry dedicated to sales automation, which can market products and services online, attract customers, sign them up, put them into the sales lifecycle, provide ongoing support and invoice them at the end of it all.

Machines will not replace all of us someday, but we will definitely see large-scale shifts into automation because of artificial intelligence. Banking and financial services, for example, will lend themselves very easily to automation. Manufacturing is very similar, as are several industrial processes currently being executed by human operators. Massively popular skill sets such as security services, customer service, technical support, secretarial services, accounting, reporting, technical services and so on are also susceptible to disruption by AI entities of the future.

But it’s not just me saying this. Here’s a recent list of jobs that Oxford University, UK, says are under threat from artificial intelligence.

  1. Security guard
  2. Nuclear technician
  3. Real estate agent
  4. Baker
  5. Taxi driver (you knew that was coming, right?)
  6. Pharmacist
  7. Butcher
  8. Budget analyst
  9. Umpire/Referee
  10. Telemarketer

Other Jobs that are Likely to be Replaced

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What Can You Do to AI-proof Yourself?

The point of this article is not to frighten you. My objective is to prepare you for the inevitable. Here are a few tips you can follow to AI-proof yourself:

  • Do not wait until your job description can be fulfilled by a computer program.
  • Keep upgrading your skills and experience across a wide range of areas that are still related to your field of expertise but still out of reach of artificial intelligence.
  • Learn what are called “transferable skills” such as team management, presentation skills and so on that can be used on any job, not just the one you’re doing now.
  • Constantly watch for signs of disruption within your industry.
  • Never stop learning and acquiring new skills.

Continual growth and learning should be part of your daily diet. It’s the only way to stay safely within an “AI-proof job zone” that is already shrinking by the year. It’s the only way to make yourself indispensable to your company. Never get complacent and never make the mistake of assuming that there is any measure of “job security” in what you do. That’s the only way to survive the impending onslaught of artificial intelligence on our livelihood.

Artificial intelligence and AI-enabled technologies are great for the future of humanity, but is it great for yours?

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