Based on data compiled by global firms and studies conducted at renowned universities, it is predicted that countless blue-collar and white-collar careers that have been around for decades are now at risk of being fully automated before 2035. Here, we have compiled an A(I) to Z list of careers in danger and the A.I.s out to replace them. Take a look and see where you stand.
Age-Old Careers on the Chopping Block:
- Accountant – Smacc; Smacc has automated accounting processes for businesses. Clients only have to submit their receipts (no inputting your own numbers). Now, the annoying expense reporting and financial processes of your business are neatly taken care of.
- Artist – Google’s Deep Dream; The bigwigs at Google wanted to see what a deep learning machine “saw” (I’ll spare you the “convolutional neural networks” and “algorithmic pareidolia” terminology) when it looked at an image. People were fascinated. People paid for the product. It now seems that Deep Dream is making and selling psychedelic-style art.
- Barista – Briggo; Endeavoring to create the ideal, customized coffee experience, Briggo has created a robot-driven kiosk that can make your drinks exactly to your liking (as it has learned from your taste and feedback in the past). It even “memorizes” your order on any given day and knows your payment information to make grabbing your morning coffee a breeze. You can even order ahead, and Briggo will have it waiting for you when you arrive.
- Bartender – Monsieur; Monsieur is your personal robotic bartender. All you do is load him up with up to 8 ingredients (liquor, wine, or mixers), and Monsieur will recommend to you a variety of cocktails using them, based on tips from experienced human bartenders and mixologists. He even comes with descriptor options when you’re in the mood for an unspecific “manly” drink, or a “Surprise me!” feature when you really just can’t decide.
- Beauty Pageant Judge – Beauty.ai; Though not a single pre-developed A.I. for the pageant judge role, Beauty.ai is a program electing a jury of bots designed by data scientists’ submissions. Humans will then submit photos of themselves, and the first bot-determined beauty king and queen will be determined.
- Brewer – IntelligentX/ABI; IntelligentX uses A.I. both in the production of its beer and through a chatbot feature that allows connoisseurs and casual drinkers to review what they tasted. Using this feedback, the A.I. then remembers your preferences in order to customize your beverage in the future
- Burger Chef – Momentum Machines; Momentum Machines has developed a robot that claims to do the work of three humans. It can prepare burgers to the customizable taste preferences of customers, and then grill, top, and pack them, sending customers quickly on their way.
- Business Advisor – BRiN; BRiN is a chatbot that can, based on knowledge gained from over 1,000 videos of prominent businessmen and women around the world, provide recommendations and solutions for your business problems in seconds. She’s an expert in strategy, marketing, HR, social media, management, and more.
- Caterer – Forkable; Lunch is on Forkable. Designed for the busy office team without an intern, Forkable is better than a caterer because it knows everyone’s individual dietary preferences, so your team can have a lunch where your GFs, vegans, and meat-lovers are all satisfied. You don’t even have to pick a meal yourself. Forkable’s got it covered and can automatically select and schedule your lunch every day for you.
- Composer (music) – Emily Howell; Emily Howell is a computer program made by a music professor named David Cope through his program “Experiments in Musical Intelligence.” She is interactive and can receive your feedback on any of her compositions to alter them or make new ones more to your liking. Though she has released an album through Centaur Records, some of her pieces are also available on YouTube.
- Courier – Starship Technologies; Starship Technologies’ delivery bots are more schedule-sensitive and secure than any other type of delivery person. Your personal courier bot works around your schedule so you’re never sitting around waiting and wondering what time your package will arrive, and its storage compartment can only be opened by you. The bots are currently being marketed to both consumers and businesses, as a means by which to pick things up or to deliver products to clientele.
- Doctor –
- AskADoctor; Step aside, WebMD. Chinese company, Baidu, is using A.I. to create an app that operates through voice search. Just as Siri can “hear” you and respond to requests, AskADoctor basically allows you to search for your symptoms without even having to lift a finger. Just tell AskADoctor, “Mommy, my tummy hurts,” and before long, you’ll be diagnosed and referred to a medical specialist in the area without spending hours in a clinic. (Note: AskADoctor is currently primarily a Chinese service, but Baidu recently hired Google’s data scientist Andrew Ng, so keep your eyes peeled for a more international attack!)
- Babylon; Babylon is a low-level General Practitioner-bot. It can diagnose symptoms and also track your health and habits in order to prevent illnesses proactively. It can’t prescribe medication or put on a cast, though it can recommend that what’s ailing you might require more professional medical consultation. It’s even partnering with the British National Health Service on a trial basis to be tested by a wider population and to determine whether or not it could be reliably beneficial to the masses.
- Editor – Bold; The creators of Bold want to help you write the most effective piece possible. Their “Assistants” (they prefer not to offend them with the “virtual” descriptor) read your text as you write it and give you pointers along the way in how to improve sentence structure, clarity, word choice, etc.
- Executive Assistant – Zoom.ai; Zoom.ai is an assistant A.I. tailored for businesses. The A.I. is available to clients on several messaging platforms and assists with scheduling or canceling meetings, reminding you of important events, researching contacts, and transportation scheduling to get you to and from those meetings.
- Farmer –
- Eddy; Though not fully taking over the farmer’s job, Eddy is looking to give him or her a big helping hand. Through a robotic sensor and A.I., Eddy monitors the water and nutrient levels of crops and tips a farmer off if his tomatoes need to be watered or something needs to be changed in the soil. Or he calls in an automatic feeder. You know, either way.
- Gamaya; Using cameras planted in drones or “manned aircrafts,” Gamaya uses A.I. and what it calls hyperspectral imaging to keep an eye on your crops. Once that imaging program collects plant data via reflected light from crops, the A.I. can detect current or potential problems and bring them to the attention of agricultural businesses or farmers.
- While we’re at it: Something called SwagBot is learning how to traverse field terrain and autonomously herd cattle…
- Fighter Pilot – ALPHA; Though this sounds a bit like our nightmares come to life, an A.I. fighter pilot has officially beaten a human pro in a simulator test. ALPHA’s opponent for the test, U.S. Air Force Colonel, Gene Lee, claimed it successfully and tactfully made split-second decisions in flight so well that it seemed almost capable of anticipating his attacks. Plus, according to developers, ALPHA’s current program only runs on “the computing power of a $500 PC.”
- Financial Advisor – SigFig; SigFig is accessible through an app or your web browser, and it uses A.I. to review and manage your profile, advise you on investments, and help build confidence through tactful advice for and practice of high-frequency trading (while the computers monitor markets). While it can be nerve-wracking to entrust a computer or digital program with your financial information, SigFig still contains several human-driven elements for now, and humans are on call to help/reassure you at any point.
- Hotel Concierge – Connie; IBM and Hilton Hotels have partnered to develop “Connie,” a Virginia Hilton’s new concierge. Connie interacts with guests through natural language, greeting them and answering questions, and can provide guests with information about local attractions, places to eat, and features within the hotel.
- HR –
- FlatPi; FlatPi provides a simple and clear interface to help HR professionals get a quick, comprehensive look at job candidates, which the A.I. has “sifted, ranked, and stacked” for you, a tedious task to take on alone.
- Mya; Mya eases the lives of headhunters as she smoothly automates 75% of the hiring of new staff. She screens candidates’ qualifications, letting them know if they are under-qualified for the position or if their application will be passed up to human recruiters, who will be in charge of the final call. When reviewing résumés, she considers not only the school that a candidate may have attended, but can also interpret listed experiences that express good qualities and competency in certain areas.
- Journalist –
- Quill; Both Quill and Wordsmith (below) suggest that if you keep up with the news, you’ve probably already read a story written by one of their A.I.s. Quill scans data for what will be interesting for specified audiences and composes a narrative of it via NLG (natural language generation). Paying attention to your business’ “communication goals, business rules, and overarching stylistic preferences,” Quill is the most obedient, diligent, and efficient member of your team of journalists (though they can all work more efficiently now too, without having to spend their time picking through data).
- Wordsmith; Wordsmith, the brainchild of Automated Insights, can turn simple data points into an interesting article for press pieces, a report on company stats, or performance reviews for individual employees. And it can do it in basically seconds, leaving no contest between itself and any journalist in the game.
Law Enforcement – Armorway / Sentinel; Armorway, a company seeking to use A.I. to keep people safe, has created a technology called Sentinel that is already being used by the U.S. Coast Guard and in airports and college campuses. Through a browser/app-interfaced A.I., Sentinel processes past and recent crimes, social media, event schedules, and more in order to anticipate criminal activity. This allows law enforcement to be on the scene faster to respond to new crimes, and will ideally lower crime levels as officers have the unique opportunity to deter criminal activity before it even takes place.
- Lawyer – Ross; One of the United States’ largest law firms has “hired” an A.I. to join its team of human lawyers. The A.I., Ross, will be engaging in some of the firm’s bankruptcy cases. He takes care of all legal research, essentially holding the whole body of the law in his “memory.” He also stays up to date on changes to the law and its applications in recent cases that may be relevant to yours. Using all of this, Ross can then quickly respond to any law-related question you might have with cited answers.
- Lyricist (rap) – DeepBeat; Okay, maybe this one’s just a little fun. But seriously! Imagine a rap battle with a bot! Using a program the company calls “Dope Learning” (a spin on the A.I. term “deep learning”) that draws upon songs of human rappers, DeepBeat combines select lines from existing songs for the ultimate “rhyme density.” Of course, this is a copyright nightmare, but it’s also an important experiment toward bots developing actually sick (and unique) beats.
- Machine Tending – tend.ai; This bot could surely threaten many careers. Tend.ai takes the form of a robot, and is equipped with a webcam and a “gripper” at the end of its arm that help it to learn how to interact with and operate machinery. Human users can tap into that webcam to check up on the robot, but after a quick training session and a reading of the machine’s display, the A.I. learns how to press buttons and bring the device to the highest level of productivity without the need for a human constantly attending to it.
- Monk – Po; Yup, there’s a bot spreading Buddhist wisdom. Though developers suggest that the traditionally orange-robed monk is not being developed for commercial sales, and instead for the benefit of visitors to their one temple, Po got a great deal of media attention upon his release. His development was surely ambitious, as he is expected to provide deep religious advice to guidance-seeking temple-goers, but he is able to understand enough of human language to be at least sufficiently responsive. He even gives some good career advice in the case of this article: “If you don’t want to starve, and have an O.K. job, work hard.”
- Nutritionist – AVA; Quite unlike Ava from Ex Machina, AVA is a chatbot to keep you eating healthy. She keeps track of your dietary choices (so long as you play by her rules and don’t “forget” to tell her about that whole pizza you ate last Friday night), and recommends your next meal. Just message her a photo of what you’re eating for lunch, and she’ll check the nutrition facts and let you know how your meal fits with the goals that you set together. Many are drawn to the idea of an A.I. nutritionist in place of a human one, from whom they could potentially sense or perceive judgment from.
- Office Manager – Betty; The Transport Systems Catapult has welcomed Betty, an innovation in office management, through its doors. While only employed on a trial basis, Betty is in charge of greeting guests, tracking employees’ hours and overtime, keeping stock of office materials, and maintaining the office space in general. An experiment in adaptive machine learning, Betty emails pictures of things she’s unfamiliar with to co-workers asking for guidance, then logs what they tell her. She is aware of her environment and able to navigate down hallways and around desks, and though she can’t open doors on her own, she does thank staff that hold one for her.
- Oncologist – IBM Watson for Oncology; IBM’s Watson, who you may remember from his feats on Jeopardy!, is actually working to apply its intelligence to the field of cancer research. According to the site, he “analyzes a patient’s medical information against a vast array of data and expertise to provide evidence-based treatment options.” While actual oncologists will handle keeping up good bedside manner, Watson provides them with the knowledge to carry out the most well-advised and fast-acting treatment plans possible. In the words of Larry Norton, the Deputy Physician-in-Chief for Breast Cancer Programs at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Watson has the potential to “make every doctor the most experienced doctor in the world.”
- Online Marketer – Persado; Persado is a replacement for at least half of your company’s PR department. Through A.I. designed around a “cognitive content platform,” Persado can generate personalized messages and pitches for advertising and potential clients. Persado can use and teach you about the persuasion techniques and terms that prompt action from clientele. Persado can do it all – so long as it relates to marketing.
- Personal Banker – KAI; KAI is a chatbot that wants to talk about your money. It can answer questions about your personal spending or banking in general and can cover basically any financial need you may have. This includes sending money to your Venmo contacts or checking how much you spent on coffee last week…whether you really want to know or not.
- Personal Trainer – Vi; Vi is what the tech-world call a “wearable.” She is an A.I. that communicates with users through headphones. She monitors your vitals and your movements while you work out, encourages you and gives you tips vocally, and checks up on you via text. She is adaptable and keeps track of the weather for you – which occasionally leads to recommending a change in your training schedule – and will let you slide with a day off every once in a while. Like the A.I. nutritionist, Vi is an alternative to a human watching over your exercise, which can really raise self-consciousness in a lot of people.
- Psychologist/Therapist – Ellie; The University of Southern California has made an A.I. therapist that appears almost emotionally aware. Using a microphone, webcam, face-reading software, and a Kinect sensor that detects movement, Ellie “sits down” with clients and listens to their thoughts and concerns. By manifesting strictly digitally on a computer screen, her movements can be more smoothly naturalized for responding to clients. She can read body language and also use it herself. Though her abilities stop at actual advice, researchers have found her extremely effective in drawing important information out of clients that they might not provide as aptly (or provide at all) to a human therapist.
- Research Assistant – Arya.ai; Arya.ai is actively developing an A.I. software that will help you out in research endeavors that once seemed far too ambitious to cover in one lifetime. The A.I. can store a wealth of information for you, skim it all, and suggest new directions you might want to take from there, like the project partner you always dreamed of in college.
- Screenwriter – Benjamin; The screenplay to this short film, Sunspring, was written entirely by Benjamin the A.I.. Drawing on films that already exist, Benjamin learns what sorts of things that humans say in certain scenarios, and certain scenarios that humans may be in. From there, he improvises a quasi-creative ability in order to make his own scripts. He begins with basic idea generation and can provide a simple synopsis from which one can request a screenplay.
- Security Guard – AIsight (pronounced “eyesight” – pretty good, right?); AIsight knows where you are and aren’t supposed to be, and what you should or should not be doing there. The program has been trained to look through a camera for certain suspicious behaviors at all times, and it will send out alerts when things don’t seem right.
- Stylist – Tess; Ever wish that you could just merge all of your favorite clothing companies’ websites and browse them all at once? Well, Tess can do it! She’s a personal stylist chatbot that notes your preferences and sizes, remembers your previous opinions, and puts it all together to find you the perfect outfit for any occasion. (And note: IBM partnered with Marchesa at this year’s Fashion in an Age of Technology-themed MET Ball and used A.I. to collaborate with designers and to animate the dress itself. So perhaps your designer is half out the door as well?)
- Travel Agent – Claire; Claire is your company’s travel management solution. Just text her, and she’s got your company’s travel policy on hand, and will book you a flight right away that complies with it. Making the most of your budget gets much easier as she finds the cheapest, most convenient flight available for you. Oh, and were you wondering where in the world Todd from Sales is? She knows that too.
- Truck Driver – Freightliner Inspiration; Self-driving car? How about self-driving truck? Using adaptive cruise control, radar, and advanced technology programmed into camera systems, the Freightliner Inspiration is about to wreak havoc on the truck-driving industry. Though, for now, the trucks are not allowed on the road without a “driver,” the whole driving thing is not so required anymore.
- Uber Driver – Uber; Uber itself is looking to take out the Uber driver. Equipped with radars, laser sensors, and high-res cameras, their self-driving cars are already being tested on the road. Like the freightliner, Uber’s test-drives all so far require human presence behind the wheel in case of emergency. But also like the freightliner, that will likely only be for a short while. In the (near) future, transportation jobs do not exist.
- Veterinarian – LifeLearn Sofie; While attempts to replace the vet entirely have yet to be made, the knowledge piece of their careers has been automated by an A.I. called LifeLearn Sofie. Sofie essentially consists of two parts. One is a vet-specific search engine in which the input of symptoms outputs potential diagnoses and solution suggestions; the other, a Pet Care Report. Human veterinarians simply have to add basic updates to the program, and A.I. will fill in pet-personalized information, such as data related to your pet’s age or breed to help their owners better understand their pet’s health.
- Warehouse Staff – Amazon Robotics; There are tens of thousands of intelligent robots working for Amazon to make sure that you get your Kindle Fire or that wireless, waterproof Bluetooth speaker for your shower that you just need in two days or less. Currently, the bots working in the Amazon warehouses are equipped with intelligent navigational technology that helps them maneuver crowded spaces. Their task is primarily carrying products, though Amazon is actively on the hunt for a technology deft enough to pull those products from shelves on its own.
- Web Designer – The Grid; The Grid takes away the hours of coding and designing your website, and does it all for you quickly and easily. Don’t like it? The Grid will give it another shot, or make changes based on your requests. It applies color detection and correction to keep imagery consistent and text legible. Videos? Text? Images? URLs? A breeze.
So, how do things look for your career?
If we are to keep our expectations this high and require something utterly remarkable to happen before we care enough to take notice, we are going to miss the small pieces developing already. While individually, each of the above innovations may appear momentarily startling, but nonthreatening, I urge you to look at them together. This is an attack.
If you come across any new occupational A.I.s, please comment below (with a link if possible!). We will look into it, and hopefully add it to our list!
(This piece is an addendum to “10 jobs that A.I. and chatbots are poised to eventually replace”, co-written with 30SecondsToFly co-founder Felicia Schneiderhan for VentureBeat.com. It will be regularly updated according to new AI developments that could potentially affect job-holders.)
Molly is currently studying philosophy at Vassar College, working as 30STF Berlin’s resident psychic, and perfecting the art of writing and snacking at the same time (both of which she is equally passionate about).