Artificial intelligence (AI), once considered a futuristic and science fiction technology, has increasingly assigned more functions to robots. The resource is already used in everyday life, in Internet searches and dialogue with virtual assistants such as Siri and Alexa, and its adoption in the labor market has also grown. With this, some professionals are concerned and raise the following question: will robots steal the jobs of humans? The precision and speed of the devices may scare, but the belief that AI will leave employees unemployed is a myth.
According to a report released by the World Economic Forum in 2020, work automation is expected to close 85 million jobs worldwide in medium and large companies by 2025. On the other hand, the same research points out that 97 million jobs should arise because of AI, that is, a positive balance of 12 million opportunities. Below, Techidence lists six reasons why robots can’t steal your job.
1. AI can only work from a database
Artificial intelligence is software that can “learn”, from prior programming and pattern observation, and apply the acquired content to their next actions. However, AI must have a solid database to function, and, more importantly, it must be prepared to handle the data it receives. Therefore, if the machine receives information that it has not been programmed to interpret, it will not know what to do.
Although technology has evolved and already has several functions in society, artificial intelligence still needs a human to program them so that it can interpret data. On the other hand, flesh and blood people have a much better ability to adapt than machines and can solve problems – or at least try to – even if they have not been “programmed” to deal with them.
2. Robots should complement human labor, not replace it
Even as artificial intelligence has gained traction in the marketplace, robots have generally taken on functions that are limited to the repetition of tasks or jobs that do not require a multiplicity of thinking. This means that in most of the areas in which the technology is active, it serves to assist human work. In this way, AI takes care of routine, “mechanical” jobs – such as inventory control in a company – while the human skills of communication, reasoning, and personal relationships tend to be ideal for more subjective tasks.
During SXSW 2021, artificial intelligence expert Kai-Fu Lee revealed that different areas can benefit from the mutual work of machines and humans. A good example, according to him, is medicine: “The doctor can stop trying to be artificial intelligence, trying to memorize all the new treatments and drugs, and become a more empathetic caregiver. I think that’s a transformative impact on the medical profession,” the scholar reported.
3. Robots have no soft skills
Soft skills are competencies related to the way people relate to others. Because they are more subjective skills, artificial intelligence has not yet been able to reproduce them. This, incidentally, is precisely one of the reasons why robots should not steal jobs from humans: machines have no soft skills since they have no emotions.
Empathy, teamwork, resilience, creative thinking, and listening skills are among the soft skills most valued by companies. Artificial intelligence could only come close to replicating them if it could program human relationships – however, fitting human complexity into an algorithm is a challenging task.
4. Other professions will emerge from AI
The more computers are programmed to perform repetitive functions, the more professionals are hired to maintain them. This means that the existence of artificial intelligence can also help create jobs in different areas, such as data science, computer engineering, and programming.
Areas that are not directly related to information technology can also benefit from a boom in opportunities. This is the case in the human resources sector, which will need professionals specialized in recruiting and selecting talent trained to work with big data, data architecture, machine learning, and software development. Some jobs, in turn, do not even exist on the market and will emerge when other demands appear.
5. Robots have no emotional intelligence
As stated earlier, as much as machines have evolved exponentially in recent decades, they are not capable of assessing and categorizing human emotions as humans themselves are. Moreover, human beings are different. If an artificial intelligence learns that higher voice tones are related to more aggressive behavior, for example, it may misinterpret a person who naturally speaks louder. So regardless of how well programmed, an AI is to respond and hold conversations, a human being is still the most appropriate choice to interpret and relate to other people.
6. Robots need humans to function
Although some artificial intelligence has autonomy in their operation, it is flesh and blood people who program the lines of code to make the machines work. Moreover, it was a human being who created the device and defined its functions and details, from the software to the shape of the parts. So it is not difficult to understand that robots need humans to work, and without humans the devices become unusable.
In addition, the functions and applications of AI keep growing, which also increases the need for skilled humans to handle them. Someone will have to design and program the machine, as well as drive its task execution process. Should any machine have problems, it will be people who will maintain and operate them again.