Is AI Creating Jobs or Taking Them?

By Machielle Thomas

One of the most exhausting talking points about artificial intelligence (AI) is if the technology and its adoption will replace people’s jobs. It’s understandable—the job market is fairly tenuous as it is, and new technologies that can automate, streamline, and create efficiencies in a way no human possibly could gives people some pause. 

AI isn’t going to be replacing people. Robots aren’t taking over because this is real life and not a film. 

That said, AI has some specific applications where it can replace roles that are time-consuming, possibly redundant as is, and create new roles in the process. Think customer service support, analytics, engineering, compliance, and so much more. 

Ahead, we’ll go through some of the new roles AI has created, and take a look at some of the ones AI can do on its own, depreciating some human labor. Also, we’ll look at what employers can consider when implementing AI in their workforce, along with ways to keep AI accountable and fair. 

Why AI is impacting the job market 

AI seems like it’s everywhere because it is. According to Statista, the global AI market in 2024 alone is expected to reach 184 billion dollars. By 2030, that number is expected to reach over 826 billion dollars. What this means is that AI is becoming more accessible, and adoption of the technology is more normalized. 

Businesses are investing in AI as a way to help evolve different aspects of their companies, including replacing some roles. It’s not a diabolical plan to reduce the workforce to technology and computers alone to get stuff done. In many ways, this becomes an effort to save money in one spot, automate certain menial tasks, and apply that cost elsewhere. 

It’s a complex discussion because while AI does, in fact, replace certain roles, there are more roles that will need to be made to teach, train, and manage the technology. And that’s just right now. Before, we couldn’t conceive of where AI would go or where it would take us, and that’s still true for the future of work. 

What roles has AI added? 

Not all hope is lost when it comes to AI and the workforce. There’s a lot of bright, positive light because AI will still require some human intervention to be as successful as it needs to be, and AI can help streamline and optimize existing jobs.

Let’s take a look at some of the roles AI has added. 

  • Compliance: AI regulations will become something over the next few years, so it will be important to have compliance-related roles. This work requires employees to understand the ins-and-outs of all things AI to ensure systems adhere to security, legal, and ethical standards. 
  • Operator: As fast and smart as AI is, the technology will always need operators to work on it to ensure the systems generate expected outcomes. That also includes helping feed it data. 
  • Content: Content creation is vastly important in today’s digital landscape, and so much of it will need to be given to AI. It’s not in pursuit of replacing writers, illustrators, or artist generalists. Rather, to help ideate, content helps beget more content. 
  • App developer: AI models used for any business will require roles capable of fine-tuning, managing, and applying it to specific scenarios and/or tasks. 
  • Instructor: Who is going to teach people how to use AI? We will need instructors knowledgeable about the tool, and capable of keeping up-to-date on any trends or industry changes, and communicate those to people who aren’t so regularly integrated with it. 
  • Prompt engineer: Generative AI requires prompts to yield results. The better the prompts for the AI to read and analyze, the better the outcome. Prompt engineers will need to work on natural processing language models (NPLs) and optimizations.
  • Prediction analyst: The algorithms that drive our digital experience apply here, too, and there must be jobs that tackle that with AI. Human intervention can help with predictions derived from algorithmic determination. 
  • Integration specialist: Who is going to implement AI? Like any IT need, there must be a role, a person, others can turn to in order to understand implementation, documentation on how to use the tool, and general troubleshooting. Integration specialists can help provide a seamless application and integration of AI. 

What roles does AI replace? 

So much of where AI can be applied helps free up our time to focus on other important tasks. There’s a lot of manual, and oftentimes menial, labor that we’re required to do in nearly any role. AI can streamline and optimize that work, while doing it at a pace humans can’t naturally do. 

Let’s take a look at some of the roles where AI can take the wheel. 

  • Entry-level administrative task: Scheduling, data management, contacts, and so much more. There are a lot of tasks that roles like reception or office management are required to do. AI can help by performing, optimizing, and managing them all with much better precision.
  • Manufacturing: AI robots have become very valuable to manufacturing and assembly lines, performing repetitive, and, sometimes, labor intensive work.
  • Analytics: Much like entry level data entry or admin work, there are some basic analytics roles where AI can do the job with speed and precision, like summaries or reporting—providing information to the people who need it without the manual work required to get it.
  • Retail checkout: Self-service is not so much a trend but a steady inevitability. There are checkout kiosks in grocery stores and other retail businesses all over the place. These automated checkouts handle payment and inventory monitoring, while freeing up employees to do other tasks for the business. 
  • Telemarketing: This role has already been largely replaced by AI, and many of us have encountered it. But telemarketers before still had a number of tedious and laborious tasks that were repetitive in nature. AI takes the brunt of that and does it without any exhaustion, and more precision.
  • Proofreading: Much of the conversation between art and AI is that it’ll replace human creativity. What AI can actually do is help improve written text by acting as a proofreader or editor. With the correct grammatical applications and knowledge, using AI to proofread is an immense help, striving for better accuracy. 
  • Research analyst: Similar to analytics roles, here AI can optimize research analyst roles by taking on the work of finding, digesting, and compiling important market information for businesses and teams. 
  • Customer support: Customer service has already felt the positive impact of AI. With virtual agents answering essential business questions and transcribing calls for live agents, along with many other tasks in-between, AI is helping offload the demand in support. It can do this by triaging and prioritizing complex issues for live agents and taking on the more repetitive task in the meantime.  

What to consider when implementing AI in the workforce

If you’re a first time AI user, and thinking about what AI will do in your company, and how it will impact your employees, it’s important to consider some of the following questions beforehand. 

  1. What are the business’s overall goals and how does AI support that? 
  2. What tasks can be automated and how does that process look? 
  3. What roles will still need human intervention in AI? 

AI isn’t without its limitations. The technology is evolving constantly, which is inherently exciting, but can be overwhelming at times. Remember that creating roles targeted to supporting and maintaining AI does, in fact, lead to more jobs.

AI isn’t here to take jobs away from people, but what it can do is remove some of the ones that require manual labor and intense focus, streamlining and optimizing that work in a way that’ll allow those who performed them to grow into new career paths. 

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Interested in generative AI for customer support? Check out this guide to learn about the 3 key pillars you need to get started.

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