Artificial Intelligence is Coming for Your Job
Meet the new principal headteacher Abigail Bailey from tony British boarding school Cottesmore School. The great thing about her is that she draws no salary and will never call in sick or split for maternity leave. She’s also whip-smart and runway model beautiful.
Oh, we might add: Bailey is not human. She’s an AI Chatbot who assumed her role last fall after the school advertised for the position and decided it couldn’t find a human to fill the role. The school’s AI instructor is also a Chatbot, so this goes to reason. Tom Rogerson, Headmaster of Cottesmore School, seems tickled to have a 24/7 on-call chatbot to deal with instead of a difficult employee. “It's nice to think that someone who is unbelievably well trained is there to help you make decisions,” Rogerson told the U.K. newspaper “The Telegraph,” “You don’t have to wait around for an answer.” British education expert Anthony Seldon predicts that by 2027 robots will replace teachers who will be reduced to teacher assistants.
Maybe not today, but in the near or distant future, AI could zap your job. Advertising, accounting, law, healthcare, education and hospitality are a few of the industries that come to mind, but few desk or service jobs are exempt. Entire first rungs of career ladders could be erased.
This isn’t an overnight phenomenon. For years, robots have been in the making. Kids competed at high school robot competitions and graduated with STEM majors in college. Books and movies chronicled the adventures of lovable droids in storylines. Meanwhile, robots started handling menial tasks. Soon, the iRobot’s Roomba were zipping around carpets and sucking up dog hair in homes across the country. It’s safe to say most backyard pools in America have robot cleaners. As technology progressed, the more technical, repetitive tasks in factories such as welding have been increasingly replaced with robots.
Then they got smarter
With the launch of Chat GPT in late 2022, Generative AI began its assault on white collar professions. Why hire a writer when you can use Gen-AI to write all your copy for you? In 2023, Chat GPT 4 passed the bar exam, scoring in the 90th percentile. It also passed the CPA exam in May after failing it the first time. Both Google’s Gen-AI medical chatbot and Chat GPT have passed the U.S. medical licensing exams.
People pushing AI continually claim it will only help humans by removing busy work so people can focus on more complicated tasks that require a human’s critical thinking skills and empathy. And these things are true. They say that robots break down and can’t read human cues, which is also true. And they also claim that AI/robots will never replace humans.
And this is where we call B.S. Their actions speak otherwise. We recently interviewed an AI software executive who professed the efficiency of Gen-AI in making happy employees and no loss of labor. A visit to his website revealed a white paper boasting that the use of his company’s AI software allowed a client to eliminate the need of 50 interns. And it’s not just interns who are getting axed. Google was the latest in a string of big tech companies to announce layoffs. It said ad sales and engineering positions were eliminated because of AI. This LinkedIn blog post from December sums it up well: Is this the year of the employee or the year of the robot?
Next time you go to a restaurant, a robot might escort you to your table. Robot Lab based in Dallas, sells a wide range of robots: school, restaurant, cleaning, delivery, hospitality and assisted living models. Host and hospitality model Pepper is designed to greet customers, request party-sizes and names, manage the queue at the entrance and call guests when their table is ready. It sells another robot that will deliver food to your table. Robot Lab’s education robot retails for $12,990, and allegedly can teach core subjects like reading, writing, algebra, as well as STEM classes and coding. Not sure what happens when you have an unruly customer or kids who don’t feel like learning, but we digress.
Perhaps the most hard-to-believe application of AI is the AI Doctor’s Office from Forward a San Francisco. In late 2023, it began rolling out CarePods that are created to automate medical check-ups for routine medical care, not emergencies. CarePods, which work with an app for diagnostics, are being rolled out in malls and gyms in cities like San Francisco, New York, Chicago and Philadelphia.
Forward Founder and CEO Adrian Aoun told Fierce Healthcare in a story about the CarePods,
“Today, healthcare is based on doctors and nurses. And they're awesome, but you're never going to scale doctors and nurses to the whole planet. Our insight was actually that healthcare should just be a product. We should just take every single thing that doctors and nurses are doing and just migrate it over to hardware and software because we can scale that healthcare to the planet."
When we showed the CarePods promo video to an internist MD friend, who has her own private practice, her response was, “Dear God. Maybe I can buy one of those? I wonder if it can perform a pelvic exam.”
Kidding aside, the advances in AI are surpassing the expectations of even those that created it. With the tidal wave of investments pouring into AI technology right now, it’s clear this cannot be stopped. The only way to conquer it is to understand it. Make sure humanity has a stake in the future. And that starts with you.