Artificial intelligence

Why AI Isn’t Stealing Your Job (Yet)

Stop worrying about AI taking your job.

The truth is no one knows what the future holds. I know that’s easy to say and harder to think with the endless news pieces which bloat our social feeds. We’re all navigating this together. Like we always do.

The following is my thesis and dubious speculations on the next few years (FYI, I’m not an AI expert. I work in L&D. These are my opinions on the impact on skills and careers at large)👇

1️⃣ Generative AI will replace/support tasks, not jobs

The media is scaremongering with the whole “AI will replace your job” content.

It might happen, and it might not. In my work, what we’re doing to research the roles of the future with generative AI is understanding what tasks it could replace and or support.

Based on this, we’re identifying the common skills needed to do those tasks.

The question then becomes whether current generative AI standards replace those entirely or only partly. If partly, what % and how much human interaction is needed?

Looking at this from a task lens (vs jobs) enables companies to evaluate where they can:

  1. Best utilise humans
  2. Simplify time-killing processes
  3. Get a clear view of the skills needed for org performance

Generative AI will replace some tasks and thus jobs, but it will also create new ones.

In new ones, you could simplify time-killing processes. You might work on the training data a Large Language Model (LLM) is fed. This might consist of quality checks, reducing code hallucinations etc.

The process of identifying tasks and skills for AI to enhance humans.

LinkedIn CEO, Ryan Roslansky proposed a similar concept when he wrote about how AI will accelerate workforce learning, and heighten the importance of skills in his article, Redefining Work.

Ryan proposed we stop looking at jobs as titles, and rather a collection of tasks. These tasks will evolve as AI and other technologies do. He recommends you unpack your job into the main tasks you do daily.

You can bucket those tasks in this format:

  1. Tasks AI can fully take on for you, like summarising meeting notes or email chains.
  2. Tasks AI can help improve your work and efficiency, like help writing code or content.
  3. Tasks that require your unique skills – your people skills – like creativity and collaboration.

2️⃣ You should unlock your human skills that current Generative AI cannot mimic

Too many of us think that current Generative AI is like the Terminator and just learns on its own. It doesn’t.

Tools Like ChatGPT are classed as narrow AI e.g can only focus on one or a select set of tasks but need human input. Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) is the Terminator and Ex Machina situation, and we may never get there (FYI, I’m not an expert so don’t hold me to that).

What I’m encouraging organisations to focus on is unlocking more human skills to work with new technology.

These skills include critical thinking, emotional intelligence, objective reasoning etc. Gen AI can’t do this and it is always needed.

Microsoft’s branding of generative AI tools as a copilot works well here. Ultimately, organisations should look to how any tool can empower and enhance the human experience, not replace it.

Focusing on nurturing your human skills will be worthwhile.

Thankfully, this way of thinking seems to be shared by some C-suite teams.

Kelly Monahan, managing director of Upwork’s research institute, told Tech Brew “We saw [C-suite executives] actually seeing this much more of an augmentation play with their workforce as opposed to automation”.

To clarify:

Augmentation = Supports and improves human decision-making and actions with technology

Automation = Completely replaces human decision-making and actions with technology


This quote from Kelly is part of a larger report from Upwork.

They spoke with over 1400 business leaders. The good news for humans is 64% of those C-suite respondents said the latest wave of generative AI tech will lead them to hire “more professionals of all types”.

Let’s change the conversation…

AI tools won’t replace jobs. They’ll replace tasks.

They’ve actually been doing this for decades already. Artificial intelligence is not new, friends.

As we continue experimenting and learning in this space, I’m intrigued about the effect of tasks on roles with new AI tools. This will no doubt change the jobs we know today.

I believe there’s a more actionable conversation with a focus on tasks AI can replace/support vs. jobs. This is the same with the introduction of any new technology. Old tasks go and new tasks emerge.

Anyway, that’s my thought over.

Before you go… 👋

If you like my writing and think “Hey, I’d like to hear more of what this guy has to say” then you’re in luck.

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