Jobs that will be replaced by technology

August 15, 2017

As universities continue to graduate increasing numbers of students, there are many obvious question on where will these new graduates work in the future. I had a convo with a friend two days ago and it was all about artificial intelligence and its impact. One which we picked out comprehensively was about medical profession. In our chinaware we wondered whether there will be an expanded role for medical professionals due to ageing populations and concerted efforts to reduce costs while improving outcomes is likely to force the adoption of new technology which will then likely erode the number of roles currently performed by medical experts.My friend argues that globally, governments, patients and doctors know that healthcare costs will need to reduce if treating of more people is to be achieved. It’s clear that driving the cost down is what needs to happen.The use of medical robots to assist human surgeons is becoming more widespread. At the moment, the cases your blogger is familiar with is where they are being used to improve patient outcomes and not to reduce the cost of surgery. There is no doubt cost savings will come when robotic technology matures.Automated diagnostic or automated doctor will become the norm in the future. We both agreed that this will eliminate a small proportion of these practitioners but not all as some experts have made us to believe. Also, he noted that robot performing a brain surgery with higher efficiency than a human surgeon is now possible according to a project my friend is involved. He also shared how robot manufacturing for customized client-specific drug for maximum efficiency has become commonplace.It is in the area of medical diagnostics where many people see possible significant cost reduction while improving accuracy through use of technology instead of human doctors.Also, already common for genetic testings to be carried out automatically and very cost effectively by machines. They analyse and automatically produce a report. In blood tests, it can be as simple as a blood count through to tests of diabetes such as insulin or glucose levels. They can also be used for far more complicated tests such as looking at a person’s genetic makeup.

Many diseases need a pathological diagnosis, where a doctor looks at a sample of blood or tissue, to establish the exact disease, a blood test to diagnose an infection, a skin biopsy to determine if a lesion is a cancer or not and a tissue sample taken by a surgeon looking to make a diagnosis will in future be done by machines and not human beings. All pathological diagnoses are made by a doctor using pattern recognition to determine the diagnosis and as my friend noted, artificial intelligence techniques using deep neural networks, which are a type of machine learning, can be used to train these diagnostic machines. Machines learn fast by using their pooled data to continue to improve.With time, an appropriately trained machine will be superior at pattern recognition than any human could ever be.Many lives will be saved and the cost of health care to the world’s poor will be minimal and, in many cases, free.For this to become a reality, it will take experts to work with machines and help them learn. Initially, the machines may be asked to do more straightforward tests but gradually they will be taught, just as humans learn most things in life. My friend believes that the medical profession should grasp these opportunities for change, and future young doctors should think carefully where the medical jobs of the future will lie. It is almost certain that the medical employment landscape in the next decade will not look like the one we see today.Other jobs we though are threatened by artificial intelligence are chefs. Automated chefs are going to replace expensive cooks in a number of restaurants and everything else will be outsourced to artificial intelligence powered robots, including cleaning, preparing food, delivering to customers, processing payments, filing tax returns and accounting, ordering from vendors among other tasks. Also, we figured out how in future there will be no human police around, and possibility of automated police or military personnel will be a source of concern, as you would have algorithms that decide who to kill or who to arrest. So this might not happen for the next decade but we both agreed that it will in the next two decades. All of us know that drones are slowly replacing soldiers in a number of wars, and have the power to kill based on some algorithm with no one complaining about. The challenge is that criminals and terrorists might be attracted too by this type of technology.We also thought of teachers as we know them today being obsolete. Some topics such as mathematics or computer science can be taught by robots, at least for students that are self-learners. The biggest threats for teachers is both machine learning and online training. In conclusion we agreed that for the next decade, artificial intelligence will be more about shifting the nature of the job rather than eliminating it.

Contador Harrison