But how far away is such a possibility? And which jobs will robots take first?
MailOnline takes a look at the professions where AI already has a foothold, as well as the posts which could be replaced in 10 and 20 years’ time.
Meat packers, cleaners and builders are among those that could be ousted by machines in the not-too-distant future, according to experts, while teachers, nurses and fashion designers are safe for now.
Speculation about the impact of AI on the workforce has swirled following the rise of computer software such as ChatGPT, which can create text and answer questions in a human-like fashion.
A glimpse of the future? Billionaire tech maverick Elon Musk has suggested that eventually no one will have to work thanks to the rapid advancements in artificial intelligence. But how far away is such a possibility? And which jobs will robots take first? MailOnline takes a look (stock)
Jobs most at risk
- Slaughterers and Meat Packers
- Pressers, Textile, Garment, and Related Materials
- Graders and Sorters, Agricultural Products
- Janitors and Cleaners, Except Maids and Housekeeping Cleaners
- Packers and Packagers, Hand
- Dining Room and Cafeteria Attendants and Bartender Helpers
- Food Preparation Workers
- Maids and Housekeeping Cleaners
- Cleaners of Vehicles and Equipment
Jobs robots are taking now
Call centre operatives
Experts say customer service roles across the world are already being taken by artificial intelligence.
Swedish furniture giant IKEA, for example, says 47 per cent of customer calls are now handled by an AI called Billie, while telecommunications giant has vowed to replace 10,000 jobs with robots.
‘The jobs of call centre operatives and telemarketers are among the ones most likely to be replaced by AI,’ Professor Carl Benedikt Frey, future of-work director at the Oxford Martin School, Oxford University, told MailOnline.
‘Technologies like ChatGPT are very good at reproducing human interactions in the virtual world.
‘However, this is only going to make in-person interactions, which cannot be automated, more important.’
Veteran advertising executive Sir Martin Sorrell has gone so far as to predict that all call centres will soon disappear with the development of AI.
Graphic designers and software engineers
Vacancies for graphic designers have plummeted by 58 per cent since 2022, according to analysis by job site Adzuna.
The company blamed this partly on the rise of chatbots such as ChatGPT and Google’s Bard, which have also stolen work from IT support analysts, web designers and software engineers.
Roles for the latter fell by 57 per cent, from 20,193 vacancies in 2022 to 8,644 this year, suggesting that companies are seeking out artificial intelligence to fill many of the jobs previously done by humans.
As discussed above, Generative AI is a big problem for us humans. Such are the advancements in this particular field that some chatbots like ChatGPT are able to create content indistinguishable from work done by people.
Not only that, but they can do it faster. A lot faster.
Human copywriters might take up to 90 minutes to write a piece that takes AI less than 10 minutes, which is why some firms are giving it a try.
Dean Meadowcroft was a copywriter in a small marketing department but was laid off four months after the company brought in AI to help with writing press releases, social media posts and other content.
Jobs least at risk
- Preventive Medicine Physicians
- Neuropsychologists and Clinical Neuropsychologists
- Chief Executives
- Molecular and Cellular Biologists
Jonathan Nelson, a senior digital marketing manager of growth for the American Marketing Association, also offered an insight into how companies are experimenting with the new tool.
‘You have AI write a 1,000-word article, and then go through and edit it to make it sound human again,’ he said.
‘It’s a framework for articles.’
Cleaners and security guards
The android developed by Aeolus Robotics has been used to great success in Japan, Hong Kong and Taiwan, where it has been employed by some of the countries’ biggest care providers to do the rounds.
It could also soon be coming to Britain, with the Japanese firm having confirmed that it is looking to expand into the UK and is in talks with distributors and partners.
The manufacturing sector – including car plants – has relied on robots for years, but the food processing industry has been a bit slower to pick up on the technology.
Not anymore though, it seems. Robots are now being used to transport heavy animal carcasses and to stack and move boxes for delivery.
AI ‘cutting machines’ have also been trialled to varying success, with some unable to match the precise cuts done by butchers or tell the difference between skin, fat, bone and meat in chicken and turkey-processing plants.
Meatpacking: Robots are now being used to transport heavy animal carcasses and to stack and move boxes for delivery
But even that is starting to change.
While robots can’t address every task on the meat processing line, they’re increasingly able to perform the bulk of them, including carrying out certain work on meat, as well as measuring and packaging it.
Roles at risk in 10 years
There’s no doubt that bricklaying requires a great deal of skill and experience.
But robots are increasingly trying to master it alongside other construction tasks, including concrete mixing and laying cement.
The introduction of 3D printing has also had a massive impact on the industry, which is always looking to increase the speed and precision at which things are built.
Advancements are improving at such a rate that experts believe builders are among those whose jobs may be at risk within the next 10 years.
Like copy editors, journalists too are under threat from the incredible rise of chatbots.
So much so that economist Paul Krugman said in a New York Times op-ed that ChatGPT may be able to do tasks like reporting and writing ‘more efficiently than humans’.
Like copy editors, journalists too are under threat from the incredible rise of chatbots (stock)
Professor Frey added: ‘What ChatGPT does is allow more people with average writing skills to produce essays and articles.
‘Journalists will therefore face more competition, which would drive down wages, unless we see a very significant increase in the demand for such work.
‘Over the next few years, generative AI is likely to have similar effects on a broader set of creative tasks.’
It comes after a government report warned that journalists who play a vital role in debunking misinformation are facing a growing threat from AI.
Tech giants such as Google are increasingly integrating the latest technology on to their platforms in order to generate their own content.
But this has raised concerns that it will stop millions of internet users visiting trusted news websites where they would normally keep up to date.
Waiters and waitresses
You may have already seen examples of Dalek-like robots trundling around restaurants across the globe.
They are not yet widespread, but the business certainly appears to be booming.
So much so that the digital media company DailyAI.com has warned that human waiters and waitresses have a 72 per cent chance of having their roles soon carried out by robots.
You may have already seen examples of Dalek-like robots trundling around restaurants across the globe, like this one in a small town in Oregon in the US
Futuristic: A robot waiter is pictured serving customers at a coffee shop in Jakarta, Indonesia
What is ChatGPT?
ChatGPT is a large language model that has been trained on a massive amount of text data, allowing it to generate eerily human-like text in response to a given prompt
OpenAI says its ChatGPT model has been trained using a machine learning technique called Reinforcement Learning from Human Feedback (RLHF).
This can simulate dialogue, answer follow-up questions, admit mistakes, challenge incorrect premises and reject inappropriate requests.
It responds to text prompts from users and can be asked to write essays, lyrics for songs, stories, marketing pitches, scripts, complaint letters and even poetry.
Even fast food giant McDonald’s has got in on the act, trialling robots at several of its drive-thru restaurants across the US.
They may not be able to match the friendliness of a human, but it feels like it’s only a matter of time before robot waiters are commonplace.
Understandingly, you may be a little hesitant about the idea of a robot cutting your hair.
It’s not something to worry about in the very near future but experts suggest there’s a high possibility AI salons could pop up within the next decade.
DailyAI.com analysis puts the chance of hairdressers and barbers being replaced by androids at 57 per cent.
In fact, Panasonic has been working on a robot which cuts and washes hair for the past 12 years, with similar inventions also in the pipeline.
So while it might not sound appealing right now, if the technology can guarantee a quicker and more precise cut then it could be that a robotic makeover is the way forward.
There have been robots built with the intention of supporting nurses, but thankfully none trying to replace them. At least for now.
And there’s good reason for that, as Professor Frey explains.
‘In a world where AI writes your love letters, and everybody else’s, in-person meetings is what will set people apart,’ he said.
‘That is one reasons why the jobs of nurses, doctors, and CEOs are very unlikely to be replaced.’
Martin Ford, author of Rule of the Robots: How Artificial Intelligence Will Transform Everything, agreed, saying you ‘need a very deep understanding of people’ to be a nurse.
Aeolus Robotics has built an android that is designed to support nurses, disinfect facilities and deliver medical supplies
Talking of interpersonal relationships, that’s why teachers are also relatively safe for now.
‘I think it’ll be a long time before AI has the ability to interact in the kinds of ways that really build relationships,’ Mr Ford told the BBC.
This explains why experts see secondary school teachers and university professors as having only a 20 per cent chance of being impacting by AI, although that doesn’t rule it out happening within the next 20 years.
Even Google’s Bard thinks those in the education sector should remain largely unaffected by artificial intelligence for the next 10 years or more.
‘It is unlikely that AI will completely replace teachers in the near future,’ it replied when asked about the possibility.
Fashion designers and architects
Although some designers are at risk from AI, others are very much not.
The reason, experts say, is because ‘genuinely cutting-edge creativity’ – rather than ‘re-packaging existing ideas’ – is better done by humans.
It means fashion designers and to a large extent architects should be secure in their roles for at least the next couple of decades.
That’s not to say some of the tasks done by architects won’t be automated, but the more original, creative ideas needed for the role mean it will be best done by people for the foreseeable future.
Musk said eventually no one will have to work thanks to the rapid advancements in artificial intelligence. The SpaceX and Tesla founder was speaking to UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak
‘Although we are likely to see the jobs of many copy editors and graphic designers being replaced, the design jobs that require greater levels of creativity are likely to remain safe,’ Professor Frey told MailOnline.
‘AI may be able to produce a letter in the style of Shakespeare, but this is only because Shakespeare’s works already exist, and on which an AI can be trained.’
He added: ‘AI is generally good at tasks which have clear data and a clear goal, such as maximising the score in a video game, or the similarity to the language of Shakespeare.
‘But if you want to create something genuinely new, rather than rehashing existing ideas, for what should you optimise? Answering the question of the true goal is where much human creativity resides.’
To sum up, if your job requires millimetre-level precision of movements it’s right up a robot’s street, but if critical thinking or creative imagination is needed then it’ll probably be a little while before you’re calling AI your boss.