5 Job Skills that AIs Can’t Do Better than Humans


Irrespective of the rapid insurgence of the disruptive technologies, there are certain job skills can never be automated – even AIs and robots can’t do better than humans. Thanks to the 4th industrial revolution (which is driven by digital, biological and physical innovations), professionals are concerned what skills they should develop to prepare themselves.

Our answer is twofold – Firstly, people should understand clearly about the developments and aspects of digital transformation technologies such as AI and data science. They should realize their potential and what machine learning is actually capable of doing. Secondly, professionals should focus on building job skills that cannot be automated and which robots can never outperform humans.

What AI can actually do better than humans

Artificial Intelligence is constantly pushing the boundaries and helping machines improvise their performances. If you’ve watched the recently released Netflix sci-fi movie, I am Mother, the AI raises a teenage girl and controls an entire army of robots. With machine learning disruptive many industrial sectors already including health, finance, agriculture, retail etc. could they ever become better than humans? Well, the answer is ‘yes’, at least in many job skills, where a machine’s proficiency outlives humans’ actions.

Here is a classic example of AI performing better than us –

RankBrain is a machine learning AI that handles the toughest web queries in Google‘s search engine. This artificial intelligence understands the meaning of words and phrases, and can hence guess what should be displayed on the top ranking pages in never-seen-before searches. This Google’s newest algorithm is better than its biological creators. When tested, while humans could guess 70% of the time, RankBrain’s success rate was 80%.

Moving beyond the AI vs. human job skills conundrum

With artificial intelligence making rampant advances every year, there have been numerous gossips doing around the corner that further fuel the wave of fear among people. For instance –

“New technologies threaten around two-thirds of jobs in the developing world.” ~ BBC

“Robots ‘to take 50% of our jobs by 2050 and outperform humans at almost anything.’” – Mirror

I think the danger of AI is much greater than the danger of nuclear warheads.” ~ Elon Musk

Even though large-scale AI is yet to shape our daily life, the future implications are the hot topic on everybody’s lips. Will the AI take your job? Apparently not, at least not today nor tomorrow but yeah possibly 30 years down the lane.

Arguably, robots are increasingly becoming part of our lives, making our job skills much easier by automating several tedious and mundane tasks.  Right from Jeff Bezos’ pet robot dog and Lil Miquela, the world’s first ever computer-generated fashion influencer to Indian airline Vistara’s ‘RADA’ – a unique robot that uses AI technology to assist customers, address their queries and entertain them and the world’s first robot kitchen created by Boston-based restaurant Spyce. Hence it’s obvious to speculate if the robots are really going to replace humans.

Robots can never have emotional skills

That being said, jobs that demand emotional skills are both indispensable and difficult – perhaps impossible – to automate. Computers are nowhere being able to compete with humans on the ability to really understand and connect with another human being. No matter how far the machine learning goes in adopting human intelligence, it can never have real feelings.

Emotional skills are particularly crucial in the healthcare sector, where there’s an impending need for more healthcare professionals. As per the World Health Organization, the world will need 40 million new health workers by 2030 and we’re on course to fall short by 18 million.

7 job skills that aren’t about to be automated

  1. Empathy

Even though healthcare sector is leveraging disruptive technologies including AI, AR & VR to do things more accurately such as detecting diseases on a scan, a patient certainly wouldn’t want to hear the news about his cancer bluntly from a robocall. Even though we are making strides towards affective computing, humans are yet to induce intelligence into the machines that can genuinely recognize human emotions and respond to them appropriately. Hence, job skills that require empathy like physicians, nurses, caregivers, and therapists are unlikely to be outsourced to technology any time soon.

2. Creativity

Having a creative mind means that you can dream up new ideas and innovations that do not currently exist. Computer programs are good at enhancing the commands by spitting out a number of options, but they’re not good at providing creative choices. Any job that requires true creativity such as writers, artists, musicians, architects, engineers, inventors, entrepreneurs, etc., are probably safe for a long while based on these results.

3. Judgment

Isn’t it a scary thing to imagine a robot replacing a lawyer or judge in legal matters? Logical reasoning by a human goes so far with the concept of “should” that doesn’t exist in a robot brain. Skills like conflict resolution and negotiation cannot be replaced. Even if the technology is implemented in the legal sector such as blockchain, lawyers and judges can stay assured as they are tech-proof in the future.

4. Context

Automated systems fail to recognize the context of any scenario or application. The problem lies in extending the automatic reasoning of AI systems so as to understand the context of any decision. Robots cannot adopt job skills required to understand any business model, competition and leadership.

5. Strategy

These days, organizations are implementing a lot of automation in their marketing practices. For instance, automation tool can send a Tweet for you at a particular time of day, every day. While these are huge time savers, the automation tools are just tools at the end of the day. They cannot strategize things, they cannot create any plan needed to give the meaning and relevance of the individual task. Job skills that require strategic thinking are safe in the future and cannot be replaced by robots.

To conclude…

The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.” ~ Albert Einstein

Everything that is being written about how robots are going to replace human jobs is intimidating to think about, especially if you’re working in a sector that is predicted to be replaced by AI in the near future. However, one particular skill that is most important throughout this whole societal shift is the ability to adapt.

If you’re concerned that your job skills might be one day outsourced to AI and other machine learning technologies, the best thing you can do right now is to enhance your soft skills such as communication, strategic thinking, problem-solving, empathy, and creativity to name a few.