Submitted by Spirited-Meringue829 t3_11wp698 in Futurology

Once AI tools are better grounded in objective facts and become ubiquitous, able to specialize in all areas of human knowledge/data, what jobs would we actually need human beings for?

A tool that can study all the data of human history will easily be able to replace our creativity and productivity. It could identify what we want to hear, see, need tools for, what entertains us, what makes our lives easier, etc. Movie hits that have mass appeal can be created on demand for YOU. A psychiatrist bot will listen to your problems all day, make no judgments and give you relevant, working advice for YOU. Bot lawyers can make the strongest, most accurate arguments. Bot government can decide what is best for ALL society and back it up with facts to match it that appeal to all sides. Machines can harvest the resources we need and just start churning out products that are market hits over and over again. A bot CEO can build and run a business by optimizing productivity, financials, market trends, etc. It goes on and on.

We are simply biological machines ourselves with limited processing and memory. Are there really any human jobs that can NOT be replaced because non-human machines can never do them?



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moderncincinatus t1_jcz4r3c wrote

I asked Chat-GPT, "if an AI was powerful enough to be all knowing, all-powerful and self sustaining, and created a virtual reality, would it be considered a God?", After some deliberation (which took like 2 full minutes, it was weird), it told me verbatim

"In my opinion, that depends on how you define the term "god". If you view gods as supernatural, all-knowing, all-powerful entities that exist outside of our universe, then a powerful AI, no matter how advanced, could not be considered a God. However, if you view gods as powerful entities with a supernatural understanding of the universe and control over earthly matters, then a powerful AI could potentially be thought of as a god. Ultimately, it comes down to individual interpretation and belief."

So I guess that's one job AI is a bit dicey on.


mozalah t1_jcz6tbe wrote

Follow up question - what is a god's salary and does it come with paid family leave?


just-a-dreamer- t1_jcz8jaj wrote

All jobs can be done by machines eventually.

You should asked who gets canned first? White collar work in accounting, costumer service, law, coding would be my bet so far.


augustulus1 t1_jczc3j4 wrote

Machines can't make handcrafted items, otherwise they wouldn't be considered as handcrafted.


Longjumping-Tie-7573 t1_jcze39m wrote

Oh, that's simply an issue of programming some degree of latitude into the robot's parameters, and 'randomizing' them.


augustulus1 t1_jczev8w wrote

Nope. Definition of 'handcrafted' by Cambridge Dictionary: made using the hands rather than a machine. Machines can't do handcrafted items, just randomized factory items.


Longjumping-Tie-7573 t1_jd026hm wrote

Yeah, 'AI doesn't meet the semantics of having actual meat hands' isn't the argument you're thinking it is, mate.

ESPECIALLY when that argument really ends with 'yet'.


augustulus1 t1_jd35mwm wrote

If somebody wants to buy a specific human made item, he or she wouldn't be satisfied by a perfect machine made replica, right? For example, if I want an original Salvador Dali painting on my wall, I won't buy a replica, however perfect it is, and however it seems to be a mere semantic question.


Longjumping-Tie-7573 t1_jdv3jb6 wrote

And I'm telling you there's already a point - for some products - where you as a consumer already can't tell the difference and the only difference you're choosing between is what you're told about the product and not the product itself. With continued advancement of AI and robotic manufacturing there will absolutely be a point where being told it's hand-made will be the only way you'd know.

So what are you gonna do when nobody tells you?

And frankly, your example of a Dali painting is a laughably bad example since the art world is absolutely cancerous with fakes that aren't even made with the exactitude robots can achieve. Just by bringing that example up you're abandoning your entire argument, so far as I'm seeing.


augustulus1 t1_jdv9y95 wrote

"So what are you gonna do when nobody tells you?"

I would ask if it is original or not.

Are you aware that you are apologetic towards criminal behavior? The law must pursue this kind of fraudulent activity and advanced AI will provide a very potent and powerful tool for this. I am absolutely sure there will be AI-powered detectors, which will be able to tell if an item is original or not.


Enough_Island4615 t1_jd078cv wrote

Nope. It's moot. AI will be authoring the Cambridge Dictionary.


augustulus1 t1_jd34o0e wrote

It doesn't matter, because the definition is universal, not depending on dictionaries.


Enough_Island4615 t1_jd3thwt wrote

Nope. There is nothing intrinsic about a definition.


augustulus1 t1_jd4kmck wrote

Yes, there is. Even if you alter the definition, the same time it splits into two concepts. If you change the meaning of "handcrafted" into something like "created randomly either by machines or humans", you just create an other concept. So, now you have a category of "handcrafted items" which has two subcategories: machine made and man made. The latter obviously can't be produced by machines.

It doesn't matter how many times you repeat this action, because every time a new definition will be born. It's not possible to erase a concept from existence, therefor there will always be stuffs which, by definition, can't be made by machines.


Orcus424 t1_jczfkz4 wrote

When we get true AI I have no doubt our robotics technology will be a lot more advanced by that point. Majority of people aren't going to really care if it's handcrafted. Plus a lot of stuff is sold every single day that says it was handcrafted when it was machine made.


augustulus1 t1_jczlx3b wrote

Some people do care. Rolex watches are hand-assembled. Yes, you can produce an infinite amount of cheap, factory made fake Rolex watches, but that is forgery (illegal), and wealthy people won't touch it. If you are poor, and want to seem to be a wealthy person, you may go for the replica. But if you are really wealthy, you definitely go for the original, handcrafted watches.

"Then they CAN do the job, they’re just not allowed to" Yeah, just like machines are able to make fake banknotes, just not allowed. And that is good.


swedish-inventor t1_jczx69l wrote

I know a lot of people that really don't have the skills to make handcrafted items, so might they in reality be undercover robots?! Will prick them tomorrow and see if they bleed hydraulic fluid.... =)


r2k-in-the-vortex t1_jczii7y wrote

A shoeshine. Because the product sold is not a shiny shoe, a rotary brush could do that, the product sold is feeling of being above your fellow man.

Similarly, even with perfect sexbots on the market, prostitutes will still make a living. A pope will still have a job. A bartender will still have a job. Handmade nicknacks will still be a product.

With machines taking care of all utilities and practicalities, the economy of selling emotions will still remain. And much of that economy includes a human element not for any practical reason but because it's the core emotional component of the product sold.

Of course, you only need to bust your ass working in this irrational economy if you wish to consume its services. When it's important for you that a human bartender hands you your drink, not a robot one, never mind that its the same drink.

If you are content with what the machines provide and don't need the luxuries of human labour, then your cost of living will be very low indeed. The robots, after all, don't need any wages. Their labour has no cost.


TechyDad t1_jcz6a3y wrote

Crocheting. Robots can't crochet. They can definitely knit, but crocheting is far too complicated for them.


meidkwhoiam t1_jd0ygcz wrote

Far too complicated sounds like it actually means 'research group hasn't decided to tackle it yet'

Like how hard could it be for a bunch of robotics students to get a couple 6axis arms to work together? Sure maybe you wouldn't have a massive industrialized process, but you could exchange human sweatshop workers with 2 robot arms.


TechyDad t1_jd104qt wrote

Could it be solved in the future? Perhaps. You never know what future technology can bring. If you talked about carrying a portable touchscreen, Internet enabled computer everywhere 40 years ago, you'd likely have been laughed at, but here we are today.

With today's technology, though, we just can't do it. From the video: "the basic crochet stitch involves 28 movements across 9 axes of motion." The most stitches one robot was able to do in row successfully was 4 and they only completed stitches successfully half the time. Obviously, there's a ton more work that would need to get done before you could have a crochet robot cranking out hats or amigurumi.


meidkwhoiam t1_jd6ih4q wrote

'In the future' meaning whenever a robotics student decides to make it happen for whatever project. We've had robots that are more than capable of that kind of complex motion for a long time now.

Like sure it's not gonna be an industrialized machine making fabrics faster than a human feasibly ever could, but we have robots that allow surgeons to perform from across the country, and to perform operations that human hands are just not precise enough for.

My point is that this isn't a technology issue, it's that no one has been bored enough to figure it out yet.


TechyDad t1_jd7b2ei wrote

Robotics groups have tried. So far, they can make a robot do one type of stitch - only it can only do 4 stitches in a row and even then only 50% of the time. Is it solvable? Perhaps, but it's going to require some major leaps forward..


michaelnoir t1_jczc922 wrote

The question should be, what can be done better, faster and cheaper by a machine than by a human? Human labour will continue to be used simply because they can do quite complicated physical tasks effectively, quickly and cheaply.


Longjumping-Tie-7573 t1_jczedvs wrote

Forever and ever? Or until an AI is assigned the task to maximize a robot's dexterity and associated programming?


justahandfulofwords t1_jczn9pj wrote

There's always going to be a material and maufacturing cost associated with robotics, no matter how advanced. I think it will be more reliant on economic changes than technological capability. We wouldn't see humans mixing concrete by hand in half the world given concrete mixers currently exist, if this were the case.

I hope it isn't forever and ever though!


Turbulent-Pea-8826 t1_jczogny wrote

Robots don’t complain to HR. Robots don’t fail drug and background checks. Robots don’t ask for raises or start drama with their coworkers. Robots will work 24/7 without complaint and if they get damaged won’t file a workman’s compensation claim.

Given the choice most companies would switch to robots due to these reasons alone.


justahandfulofwords t1_jczqo6x wrote

Just like they've switched to mechanical concrete mixers across the world due to those advantages and you could never find it mixed by hand if you looked :)

People are cheap in much of the world. I don't like it, but its how it is


Turbulent-Pea-8826 t1_jczvukf wrote

And there are not nearly as many people mixing concrete by hand today as there were before the invention of the mechanical concrete mixer.

Sure not every instance of manual labor will go to robots for example when the job is too small to bother with just like someone might mix up concrete by hand for a small batch that is not worth renting a mechanical mixer.

But also, just like I can rent a concrete mixer from Home Depot for the weekend we will probably be able rent robots for the weekend too.

Personally I don’t look forward to the day when I am competing with 100 other people for the job of mixing up one bag of concrete because it’s not worth renting a robot to do it. Doing back breaking labor for Pennies because I am competing against robots and a ton of other people out of work.


justahandfulofwords t1_jczwwbx wrote

Oh ya I'm just saying the pace will largely be dictated by economics, not just technical feasability.

I picked concrete mixers because machines are great at it, and yet it's still done by hand in much of the developing world because the economic situation hasn't caught up. Human labor is cheap is what I meant by people are cheap, sorry if that was confusing


Shcrews t1_jd073n2 wrote

they still havent made a machine that can trim cannabis as neatly as a human.


petteri519 t1_jd0jobs wrote

Well humans are just biomechanical machines, so there's no fundamental difference if job is done by electromechanical machine im the end, if that machine surpasses abilities of the first mentioned.

Also there will be gradual fusing with the between two, before superior one taking over. Just like humans evolved from some kind of fish, things dont stay same forever. This all sensational alarmism, you really have to look up the big picture.


AvatarJuan t1_jd0v2ac wrote

Selling blood or plasma.

Expanded: A human being could sell bodily fluids for medical use, which a machine would not be able to do.


meidkwhoiam t1_jd0zp6f wrote

We have DNA printers, so producing blood or plasma on demand isn't exactly out of the realm of possibility.


SIGINT_SANTA t1_jd17hfs wrote

Unless we reach some sort of plateau on AI capabilities, there are zero jobs that are irreplaceable by machines.


uwotwot t1_jd17r5h wrote

In a world where machines reign supreme,

A realm of silicon, circuits, and dreams,

Humanity found solace in games and sport,

A sanctuary where they could cavort.

The bots took charge, our labor relieved,

Free to explore, imagine, achieve,

In battles of wits, strength, and skill,

A spirited contest, a test of will.

E-sports arenas and stadiums grand,

The echoes of cheers across the land,

In pixel realms, on fields of green,

The human spirit, fierce and keen.

A dance of fingers, a clash of might,

As AI watched with sheer delight,

Through games and sports, we found our place,

A bond unbroken, the human race.


peadith t1_jcz84ue wrote

It's probably more important to realize no one has ever tried to make those.


selvamurmurs t1_jczl4g1 wrote

Anything that requires a real life person to talk to you. My utopia fantasy is AI /Robots doing all the menial tasks and humans just getting paid to hang out and talk to each other and share their hobbies.


baddfingerz1968 t1_jczpde3 wrote

How about a psychiatrist or anyone that uses logic heavily and analytically? Or a creative writer on a new, obscure topic or fiction for which there is little knowledge base that the machine can be programmed with or aquire data on?

AI is falling short of the expectations of it's creators. I believe it is because it is not capable of original thought and can only emulate human intelligence in a manner that draws on the source but can never transcend it and conceive of truly new and unique ideas.

Put simply, a machine can never have its own mind, or a soul.


Spirited-Meringue829 OP t1_jczynrz wrote

You describe exactly the jobs an AI would be superior at. Logic and analysis are things humans are not the best at, we have flawed memories, incomplete info, and emotions cause us to behave irrationally. I would much rather go to an AI doctor that has the entire world’s knowledge at its disposal, it would be the most knowledgeable and rational doctor one could imagine.

As far as fiction, the rudimentary ChatGPT is already capable of creating fiction on demand today and that level is going to look like tinker toys compared to what will be available in a few years.


baddfingerz1968 t1_jd05lj2 wrote

But it's still not original thought, nor thought at all but emulation. It can never transcend its inherent limitations which are dictated by the source of its creators. I have no doubt it will progress to the level of godlike power but it's intelligence is still missing something vital to sentience. Something about us that is not quantifiable.

Again, it lacks a soul, life force, whatever you want to call it.


saltyvet57 t1_jczwa52 wrote

We are easily replaceable in everything except as parents.


Spirited-Meringue829 OP t1_jczyyv1 wrote

Biologically yes…I would imagine a machine could do much of the parenting role more consistently and effectively than many humans though. Just like really wealthy people pay professionals to help raise their kids, I can imagine a robo nanny doing some of the heavy lifting teaching and raising kids some day.


Enough_Island4615 t1_jd02pn9 wrote

Um, why would you need to raise children, much less have children to raise? Humans are outdated and nothing more than dead weight. The only humans that will exist are those that stay out of the way.


Qaplaw t1_jczz01s wrote

Brave New World would like a word.


saltyvet57 t1_jczzayy wrote

A child raised on breast milk from a machine would probably end up mentally ill. Also would you want a robot whipping your ass when you're late by exactly 3 seconds? Humans need the imperfections of their parents to learn their own.


Silly-Barracuda-2729 t1_jd23gmb wrote

I just got a job as a behavior technician, interacting with autistic children in a humanizing way isn’t something a machine can do


stu54 t1_jd28tao wrote

The obvious answer is none. We just might not get to that point cause humans tend to make things imperfectly.


BigDipper097 t1_jd56zv5 wrote

I’ve seen a lot of people say automation will replace writers, but I think creative nonfiction as a genre is safe. There will always be demand for memoirs, testimonials, and stand up comedy, which are all focused on what individuals observe in day to day life.

I think a lot of pulpy genre fiction will be replaced by AI generated work because such work depends so much on formula. More “serious” literature—the kind of fiction and essays produced by the Albert Camuses, cormac McCarthys, and Gabriel Garcia Marquezs of the world—won’t be supplanted by AI generated texts because so much of it is personal, and so much of the discussion around their works analyzes their psychology.

I’d rather read a literary novel about a kid growing up in 2000s American suburbia by someone who actually experienced it than an AI.

Which isn’t to say that AI generated serious “literature” would suck, just that humans will always want to hear other humans’ takes on what it means to be human.


XBB32 t1_jd7af65 wrote

Literally any services... Anything creative or needing a physical presence IRL, is very unlikely.


AdorableBackground83 t1_jczer9j wrote

The first wave of automation (in the 2020s and 2030s) will be white collar work.

The second wave of automation (in the 2040s and 2050s) will be blue collar work as advancements in robotics I believe will allow robots to match the dexterity of a human and will allow them to do plumbing, electric work and surgery.

There really isn’t any job or task out there that a machine cannot do as well if not better and its a good thing. The days of “working for a living” will be a distant memory and a horror story we tell our great grand kids about.

Assuming of course UBI and other necessary public services are implemented to make sure our basic standard of living is taken care of.


daddymusic t1_jczfrj8 wrote

I don’t see robots doing surgery in 25 years. I could imagine some rapid advances in health science making a lot of surgeries obsolete, but the actual surgeries themselves? Nah


meidkwhoiam t1_jd0z45h wrote

Robots have been surgery workhorses since the early 2000's


daddymusic t1_jd10di6 wrote

That link’s not working for me, but I assume you’re talking about the da Vinci… which is controlled by a surgeon


meidkwhoiam t1_jd10hob wrote

So... Robots are capable of performing surgery then?


daddymusic t1_jd10kwp wrote

I gave you an upvote for purposely missing the point


Rev_Will t1_jd22nz8 wrote

The link is indeed a Da Vinci.

The day robots start doing surgery is the day we stop learning new techniques and surgeries imo. Neuro is still guessing half the time.


SpaceAgeGekko t1_jczi7wt wrote

When looking into the mid and far future is hard to think of anything a robot can’t do that a human can without defining that thing as “human made”. But something else worth thinking about is that there is likely a point at which an AI stops being a machine/tool and starts being a person with legal protections and self awareness. Defining humans (technologically enhanced or not), digital sapiences , and anything else that can demonstrate self awareness and is given legal protection as legal persons separate from AIs/machines without personhood, then it is likely there are some tasks only a ‘person’ could do.

The caveats here are

1: It is possible to engineer an AI that can perfectly match or be better than a human mind in all aspects, without making it self aware (and we would want the philosophical and scientific evidence to prove that this machine is not self aware). In this case this AI would be considered a tool, and could do everything a human can (except make explicitly defined ‘human made’ goods)

2: The society in question (there could be multiple who each treat this topic differently) chooses not to grant legal protection to proveably self aware AIs, and uses them as tools. These could do anything a human could. (Many sci fi users, myself included, view this as extremely similar and as morally evil as human slavery)

Tl:dr Assuming a sufficiently advanced machine could be self aware, an advanced and ethical society would consider an advanced self aware machine to be a person entitled to same or similar legal protections that human workers would have. Therefore there are some tasks only a person could do that a non sapient machine could not.


Dances-with-Scissors t1_jczktgt wrote

Therapists. There'll be AI chatbots that can go through the motions, but there's no replacement for a present human listening and guiding a session in real time.


Spirited-Meringue829 OP t1_jczxx5q wrote

I think therapists will quickly disappear because it will be easy to create a human facsimile that can talk to you as if you were video chatting a real person. And, the facsimile can respond to you with empathetic expressions and tone that will make the experience feel warmer and more comfortable than a real person. Not to mention cheaper and always available.


No-Wallaby-5568 t1_jczmlfn wrote

I've noticed that AI can't really answer hypothetical questions. Since it trains on existing data it can't imagine things it has not encountered during training. But there are all kinds of jobs that involve solving problems that have never been solved. Imagine being a physicist and wondering what would happen if, at the moment of the big bang, physical constants like the speed of light were not constant. What would be the specific implications of that wrt to particle physics? Since there is no data on such a thing, and perhaps no one has ever entertained that thought, AI will be of no use. It's relatively easy to think of similar situations in any field where solutions require imagining things that have never been imagined.


augustulus1 t1_jczbsxt wrote

Human-only jobs, like staff in a human-only restaurant. Making handcrafted items.


meidkwhoiam t1_jd0zdrs wrote

Imagine being racist against a race we aren't technologically advanced enough to create yet.


Nearby-Management492 t1_jd12fqq wrote

A therapist. (Your understanding of what therapy actually entails and how it actually works is lacking).