Jobs AI Can & Cannot Replace?

Artificial intelligence (AI) has become a buzzword today with applications across industries. Discover which jobs AI or robots may/may not take over in the future.

Jobs AI Can & Cannot Replace?
Photo by Ryoji Iwata / Unsplash

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is one of the fastest-growing data-driven technologies used globally. The evolution of the artificial intelligence field in the last few years has been nothing short of phenomenal.

Data suggests that AI adoption in the last decade alone has skyrocketed and has more than doubled since 2017. However, between 2019 and 2022, the adoption of AI technologies leveled out at somewhere between 50% and 60%. Likewise, digital budgets towards AI have sharply jumped from 40% to 52% between 2018 and 2022.

Overall, it is safe to say that the field of AI has come a long way since its inception and has become an increasingly indispensable technology that’s completely transforming industries and lives worldwide.

While this unprecedented rise of AI has undoubtedly transformed several industries, enhanced productivity, and automated routine tasks with great speed and accuracy, it has also generated deep concerns and a larger debate about job displacement.

In fact, in a recent survey by PWC, out of 52,000 people across 44 countries and territories, almost 30% of the workers confirmed that they were concerned about their jobs being replaced by AI within the next three years.

This post explores the complexity of AI vs. the constant human battle for jobs and examines which jobs AI can and cannot replace. Let's get started.

A Historical Perspective

Despite the massive achievements of technology by 1900, the subsequent decades witnessed exponential advancements over several parameters. These led to paradigmatic shifts in career opportunities and the job market.

Compared to 18th-century industrialization, the 21st century AI advancements, such as automation, deep machine learning, and natural language processing, are deliberate and not just the byproducts of trial and error efforts. In today's AI revolution, AI providers and practitioners follow these advanced principles to design, build, and deploy new technologies.

However, the concept of AI is not new as such. It can be traced back to the 1950s when researchers started to explore the idea of creating intelligent machines for the first time. Gradually, the idea picked pace, and expert systems developed in the 1970s. Later, the 80s saw the emergence of the neural network, followed by the advancement of deep learning algorithms in the 2010s.

Research also shows that amid the rapid adoption and rise in demand for Generative Artificial Intelligence tools such as ChatGPT, GenAI-based startups have more than doubled since 2021.

The Jobs AI Can Replace

As some jobs and careers undergo significant transformations with the advancement of AI, acquiring the latest or new skills will be essential for staying relevant in the job market.

This section looks at jobs that are likely to be replaced by the advancement of artificial intelligence technology.

1. Repetitive Jobs

The first category of jobs that are likely to be replaced by AI are repetitive jobs such as data entry, telemarketing, etc. This is simply because AI's ability to process and analyze vast amounts of data diminishes the need for manual data entry.

The result is higher productivity, streamlined workflows, minimized human error, and improved overall efficiency as repetitive, manual, and routine tasks can be offloaded to AI.

Statistics also show that more than 60% of workers in a recent survey said that adopting AI within the workplace has boosted productivity.

2. Data Analysis

AI and machine learning have always been instrumental in data analysis as they can handle vast amounts of data much more efficiently than humans, making data analysts redundant and impacting their job prospects.

However, there will still be a demand for data professionals with AI skills such as deep learning, computer vision, natural language processing, robotics, and more. Statistics suggest that this demand for data analysts with AI skills is predicted to grow by an impressive 36% through 2031.

3. Customer Service

Many companies today handle client inquiries via chatbots and automated messaging. These bots are equipped to efficiently handle queries and answer basic questions, thus freeing humans to address more strategic tasks especially for labor-intensive services like home cleaning companies and dog training camps

Here are some of the other ways chatbots and automated customer service systems using AI can handle the jobs of customer service representatives

  • Predictive analytics can analyze customer data to predict behavior and needs accurately. This enables customer service executives to anticipate demands and make personalized recommendations.
  • AI can also track and analyze client sentiment to detect any client trends, patterns, and issues. This data can be helpful to improve customer service and satisfaction.

This is also why, by 2020, 80% of businesses had already implemented a customer service solution.

In an interesting phenomenon, buyer intelligence startup Humantic AI leverages AI’s scale and efficiency to help customer-facing teams build deeper, more human relationships with their buyers.

4. Manufacturing Jobs

AI and robotics have taken automation in manufacturing to an entirely different level. Machines can now perform repetitive tasks faster and more accurately than human workers.

Additionally, artificial intelligence can be applied to assembly line production data to improve both maintenance planning and failure prediction. This leads to less costly maintenance for production and assembly lines.

Data supports the fact that a whopping 93% of companies recognize AI as the main technology for driving growth and innovation in the industry by decreasing human labor in manufacturing, processing automation, quality inspection, and more.

The Jobs AI Can't Replace

While Artificial Intelligence has already entered many professions, not all jobs will be replaced by AI, especially those that rely significantly on personal connections, cognitive abilities, and emotional intelligence.

Let's look at some of the jobs that AI can't replace.

1. Creative Jobs

While generative AI can enhance or assist several jobs for creative problem solvers such as writers, designers, or artists by speeding up and scaling their work, AI cannot replace creative thinking or creative problem-solving.

Put simply, jobs in creative fields like music, writing, art, and design are likely to remain safe from AI as they can't draw from emotions, personal experiences, or a unique perspective on the world.

2. Emotionally Intelligent Jobs

Emotionally intelligent jobs such as leadership & management roles, therapists, counselors, and human resources require high emotional intelligence. Apart from this, they also require striking a fine balance between unbiased decisions and the greater good of the company, something that AI alone is incapable of doing.

For instance, HR professionals handle multiple aspects of employee management, such as training, recruitment, conflict resolution, and employee well-being. Their role typically involves understanding human dynamics and making subjective judgments based on individual circumstances, which AI can't do.

3. Complex Decision Making

Complex decision-making jobs such as high-level strategists & analysts, legal professionals, and research scientists/engineers require thorough analysis, critical thinking, and a high level of understanding.

While AI can help analyze and sync data from various sources, it cannot match how humans approach the decision-making process, as it requires empathy, creativity, nuanced judgment, intuition, prior experience, and the ability to take stock of multiple factors.

For example, you’re a company wanting to expand markets to increase revenue. While AI can help pull useful data, it can not decide between exploring emerging platforms and marketing on Telegram communities or Discord groups.

The Collaboration Between AI and Humans

Companies today need to redesign their business processes to get the most out of AI technology. This means not just implementing AI technology but also developing staff or employees who can collaborate or work effectively at the human-machine interface.

This can be achieved in two ways, as discussed below:

1. Using AI as a Tool

AI is a valuable tool to augment human efforts to develop intelligent solutions to vexing problems. Some of these are:

  • Healthcare: Artificial intelligence, powered by deep machine learning algorithms, can be used in healthcare. Specifically, AI’s imaging capabilities are significantly useful for cancer identification and screening. For instance, Huawei created Track.Ai, an easy-to-use device that can identify visual disorders in children so treatment can begin before it can cause blindness.
  • Text editors or autocorrects: AI algorithms use machine learning, deep learning, and NLP (natural language processing) to identify incorrect language usage and suggest corrections in word processors, texting apps, etc.
  • Tools for people with disabilities: Another way AI acts as a great tool is by helping people with disabilities improve the accessibility of products and services. For example, AI can be used to develop clear audio descriptions for videos, making them much more accessible to visually impaired people.

2. New Job Opportunities

Apart from acting as a tool, AI could also create various new job opportunities as it grows further. A few of these are:

  • AI Trainer: As an increasing number of companies implement AI systems meant to interact with the outside world, AI also needs to learn a few things about the business it's a part of, and that's what the job of an AI trainer is.
  • AI ethicist: An AI ethicist ensures that AI and related technologies are used safely and ethically. This role ensures that AI is responsibly developed and used to benefit all stakeholders.
  • Machine Managers: In this role, a person will oversee AI-operated hardware and systems to ensure that the actual machines learn to work with AI instructions.

Case Studies

In this section, we will discuss a couple of case studies to understand the role of AI and how AI can collaborate with humans.

1. Banking and Financial Services: An Industry Where AI Successfully Took Over Certain Jobs

Today's banking and financial services industry is undergoing a phenomenal transformation due to the advent of AI applications. There are multiple use cases of AI in this space where the tech took over certain jobs, such as:

  • Intelligent robots are replacing human agents for processing loan applications in fractions of a second.
  • Robo-financial advisors are replacing humans to sift through massive volumes of data in a few seconds to recommend the right investment decisions or utilize specialized financial tools such as personal loan calculators or other innovative solutions for optimal financial planning.
  • AI-based decision intelligence technology detects fraudulent transactions by analyzing multiple data points.

Data also suggest AI could significantly impact the banking & finance industry and can lead to enhanced productivity of almost 2.8 to 4.7 % of the industry’s revenues every year.

2. Warehousing: A Sector Where AI and Humans Are Working Hand-In-Hand Successfully

An excellent example of AI and human collaboration is Amazon's warehouse robots that work in perfect collaboration with staff in their fulfillment centers.

The key role of these robots is to bring various items to human pickers so it gets easy to pack and label for dispatch.

The AI robots move entire shelving units and are programmed to watch out for humans so they will not collide and cause any accidents.

In Conclusion

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a fast-growing field that can revolutionize how we work and interact with technology. As AI continues to disrupt several industries, the future workforce and job market will also change rapidly.

Future automation will successfully address business challenges that are too complex, expensive, or time-consuming for humans to solve. While some jobs or careers may disappear entirely, others will be completely transformed by new technologies and advanced AI capabilities.

Having said that, the impact of AI on job market survival is quite a complex issue that varies significantly across industries, human skill sets, and types of jobs. While AI advancement will likely continue to coincide and embed itself into the job market, it won't necessarily impact several professional careers still looking for human labor and critical thinking.

Overall, the future of AI and its collaboration with the job market should center on how AI can improve efficiencies along with humans—not instead of them.


1. AI could replace the equivalent of 300 million jobs

2. The impact of artificial intelligence on the future of workforce

3. Generative AI and the future of work in America - McKinsey

4. Generative AI likely to augment rather than destroy jobs - ILO

5. What the future of work will mean for jobs, skills, and wages - McKinsey

6. These are the jobs most likely to be lost – and created – because of AI

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