When will AI do each job

New worlds of work through AI: How work will change over the next few years

Digitization - a word that enchants many people, but makes others sweat. The world has always been shaped by change, there have been many paradigm shifts and daily life has always seen change. The world of work was never free from change either; sometimes faster, sometimes creeping. With the advancing technologicalization of our society, however, work continues to change. For some people a development full of “opportunities”, others fear that it will be replaced by artificial intelligence. Many factors play a role that you have to consider in order to understand current and future developments and to be prepared for them.

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"Jobs will change, jobs will disappear and new jobs will be created"

Sepp Hochreiter is a luminary in the field of artificial intelligence. He is head of the Institute for Bioinformatics at the Johannes Kepler University (JKU) in Linz. He has headed the AI ​​Lab at the Linz Institute of Technology since 2017. He says: "Jobs will change, jobs will disappear and new jobs will arise." The inventor of LSTM technology, a method for improving the development of artificial intelligence, is already seeing approaches to changing working environments and replacing people with machines, for example with chatbots, automated live tickers at soccer games, tweets in the Trump election campaign or complaint services.

Other areas in which AI will soon find their way include telephone services, sales, marketing, mobility, security, cooking and editing. “Jobs that are easy to automate with AI,” he explains. The bottom line of his assessment is that repetitive jobs will disappear. However, Hochreiter sees no innovation in the work history in this. Because such developments have always existed. “Just think of the farmer who used to have 20 employees. Then came tractors and machines. Nowadays the farmer has one or two employees, ”the expert continues.

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Klaudia Bachinger from WisR, an internet platform that brings companies and retirees together, sees it similarly. “Repetitive processes will be replaced, but not in the service area, as machines cannot provide context and empathy. They lack emotional intelligence, ”she says. In this sense, Hochreiter brings an example from the USA that can be seen as a representative of the problem of AI in the world of work: There, an AI was assigned as an experiment to predict court decisions. A database of old judgments served as the basis for this. “It went well in the beginning, but when a variable, the defendant's skin color, was changed from white to black, the sentence increased too. Similar to the predicted salary for various professions when the gender was changed to female: It fell, ”explains Hochreiter. The AI ​​took over human errors.

Intelligent designer

What Bachinger calls human skills and storytelling in conversation can be compared with Hochreiter's term of the intelligent designer, if you look at the world of work in a few years. Future jobs in areas where people remain essential are all about data and design. Hochreiter's list gives a little insight into which professions will be needed to work side by side with artificial intelligence. He names data evangelist, data scientist, robotics, digital knowledge manager, AI design and robot psychology as essential fields that are emerging.

In addition, there will be other problems that still have to be solved by human hands. Self-driving cars, for example, will sooner or later replace taxi drivers and chauffeurs. But one must clarify, according to Hochreiter, what effects this will have on road traffic. “Today, as a pedestrian, you have eye contact with the driver, who then lets you across the street. The self-driving car must show that it has seen the passers-by. How does it do it? It's all about the interaction between humans and machines, ”says the AI ​​pioneer.

In this context, Bachinger named a lack of emotional intelligence, critical thinking and creativity (according to the World Economic Forum, three of the most important skills in 2030) as sticking points, why humans cannot be completely replaced by AI. Hochreiter goes further and calls it “world knowledge”, which artificial intelligence has to acquire first. "Physical and monotonous mental activities will disappear, but work will be more interesting," thinks the AI ​​expert. "The machine becomes an apprentice."

"Human Robot Interaction"

It would take another 20 years until they stop needing people as “teachers” and there is an AGI (Artificial General Intelligence) that learns independently, according to Clemens Wasner, CEO of Enlite.ai and organizer of the AAIC (Applied Artificial Intelligence Conference), mentioned on this topic: “All expert opinions see this until 2040 at the earliest. None of the current approaches can scale up to an AGI and we are still at the very beginning when it comes to new methods, comparable to the situation of neural networks in the 1980s, ”he says. However, there are already remarkable developments, said Wasner. “In robotics, there are already significant advances in self-learning systems that not only lead to new levels of automation. This is the only way that robots and humans can really work together, so-called 'human-robot interaction'. This will first and foremost become noticeable in production, for example of cars, where previously robots and humans have worked separately. This type of collaboration will also soon be available across the board in Amazon's delivery center, keyword packaging. "

According to the report by the market research and IT analysis company Gartner, by 2020 AI will destroy 1.8 million jobs and create 2.3 million. Wasner thinks that there are always technology losers; the real question is whether society, politics and economy accept this as given by God or actively take steps to cushion the consequences. “The effects will differ greatly from region to region here. Example trade in Austria: According to statistics, around 360,000 people work in retail, many of them women. You don't have to be a clairvoyant to predict a major wave of automation by 2030, especially in this area, ”said Wasner.

Lifelong learning as a credo

While concepts such as digitization, flexible working hours and AI are welcomed with open arms in the start-up sector, the low-wage sector would feel the change drastically.

“The opposite example to retail are classic male professions such as truck drivers in emerging markets. Due to the lack of qualified long-distance drivers, European truck manufacturers are making every effort to produce self-driving trucks as quickly as possible. This has a positive impact for Western Europe, but has a fatal effect on emerging markets, where there are still a very high number of long-distance drivers, ”says Wasner. The general tenor: Those who are not ready to adapt will be left behind. Experts throw in “lifelong learning” as a term, which in turn opens up further aspects when considering the approaching neo-working world: retraining, skilled workers, unconditional basic income and work psychology.

After the list of new jobs that may come up and the framework conditions that a society needs in order to react to digital change, it is clear that reorientation and retraining will be factors without which a regulated transition will not be possible.

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“The new technologies will find their way into all work areas and new things will always be added. Further training will be more necessary in some areas in order to be able to keep up with the new era. Theoretically, the first retraining would have to take place now so that the company will be ready for something new in two or three years ”, says the CEO of the headhunting startup JobRocker, Günther Strenn. “Especially those who are not ready to change will lose and fall by the wayside. As technical advances keep getting faster and faster, lifelong learning and continuing education are not only necessary, they are imperative. There is no longer any guarantee that you will be in the same job until retirement. "

Rethinking migration needed

Another term that is heard again and again when digitization becomes an issue is the shortage of skilled workers. In Germany, for example, there will be a wave of retirement in 2025 that will create another shortage of specialists that can hardly be closed without automation. In Japan, the care and health sectors are severely affected due to restrictive immigration policies.

“In both cases this means - if desired - longer employment in the company with simultaneous efforts towards more automation. In this discussion, Austria often seems a bit awkward, if not to say insincere: complaints are often made in the same breath about the great shortage of skilled workers and excessive immigration, which should be a contradiction in terms for a rich country, ”says Wasner on the subject. “A rethinking of training, attitudes to migration and qualifications is urgently needed here, as our existing system is far too sluggish for the ever-shorter cycles. Only when this rethinking has taken place will important initiatives such as coding training meet with the necessary acceptance. "

Klaudia Bachinger sees a way to counteract this deficiency in getting retirees back into the labor market. "Around 50 percent in the DACH region want to work again," she says. It is based on studies by Leopold Stieger, founder of Seniors4sucess and author of the book "Pension - Lust oder Frust?". It says: While in 2014 around a third of retirees would have wanted to work after retirement, in 2016 this figure would have been around half of the approximately 2.7 million retirees in the country. Two thirds of them see themselves in a voluntary position, a third in paid work. “The reason for this is the appreciation when performing a meaningful job, the social structure that you feel among colleagues, and the mental confirmation that you receive. In addition, work keeps people fit longer - mentally and physically. The Japanese were also able to prove this in a long-term study in their 'Silver Human Resources Center', ”explains Bachinger. The gap created by the shortage of skilled workers can be closed well by women, migrants and retirees, she says.

"Younger faster, older one with an abbreviation"

JobRocker CEO Strenn also sees added value in this idea when he says: “The young are faster, but the old know the abbreviation. The know-how of the older generation is valuable and the aim should be to combine their knowledge with the new technologies. Retirees can be integrated into the labor market, especially in the service sector, where digitization has not yet gained the upper hand. "

According to the WKO, by 2030 there will be around 3.9 million people over 50 years of age in this country, and by 2050 there will be more than 4.4 million people who will have exceeded half a century of life. “The baby boomer generation is retiring. In Germany, for example, around eight million people will be missing from the job market, that is 20 percent of the entire workforce, ”says Bachinger, who knows from experience that older semesters are receptive to project-related work in the sense of the gig economy or to part-time jobs.

Flexible work

While thoughts regarding the shortage of skilled workers revolve around immigration and "demographic aging", the future world of work will also be heavily influenced by the controversial term flexibilization of working hours. The twelve-hour day triggered enormous criticism, but also found supporters. Global competitive pressure is often brought up by entrepreneurs when it comes to having legal freedoms to deploy employees longer as needed.

Bernhard Niesner from the social network for language learning busuu mentions Formula 996 from China as an example of tough competition. “In China, some companies practice what is known as' 996 ',' working 9 a. m. to 9 p. m., 6 days a week ‘. Of course, this is not in the interests of the employees and will certainly have an extremely negative effect on the culture in a company and on efficiency - keyword burnout - in the medium to long term. But unfortunately this is the reality when you are in competition with such highly aggressive companies ", he says and emphasizes clearly that he is not an advocate of a" 100-hour work week ", but a little more flexibility would not hurt in some cases. to enable companies and employees to work more when it is really important and the company's survival is at stake ”.

Strenn also takes a similar line when he says: “If companies want to remain competitive, the flexibility of the company and its employees is required. As assembly line work is being replaced more and more and output-related work is hardly measurable, companies too have to rethink. Technologies enable more efficient work, and work should be thought and worked in a project-related and goal-oriented manner. ”Bachinger also advocates implementing more flexible working hours in consultation with employees. She knows that it is necessary to be flexible in some industries and does not think that employers today - as feared - can afford to take advantage of their employees and thus significantly damage their employer brand. Thanks to the transparency with Kununuu, Glassdoor, LinkedIn and Co., applicants know exactly what the working atmosphere and leadership of a company are like.

Information ≠ knowledge

From a business perspective, there seems to be an agreement that with the global market, digitization, competitive pressure and phases in which more manpower is needed, the introduced flexibility gives companies more leeway to act and react where it is required. From an occupational psychological point of view, other points also play a role, as Mario Schuster, founder of Mental Synergy, mental trainer and consultant on work psychological issues, explains. He works with CEOs and managers of large corporations (including people from the automotive industry) and helps to improve mental skills. “Digitization triggers fears for some and is difficult to grasp. Digitization processes themselves have been around for over 20 years, but now orientation and education are needed, as people can sometimes no longer keep pace with technological developments, ”he says.

Since one has infinite access to information nowadays, an “information overload” takes place, which does not automatically lead to the generation of more knowledge. Schuster calls it the "crackberry phenomenon", which describes that you have the inner compulsion to be available anytime and anywhere and to check your messages.

Similar to an addiction

Schuster also recognizes excessive smartphone use and excessive behavior in the work area that almost amounts to addiction. Referring back to the flexibilization of working hours, the psychologist compares a marathon runner A who runs ten kilometers every day and twelve kilometers on the fourth day, while person B manages the marathon on one day. "In the second case, the individual stress is significantly higher and the necessary recovery phases are disproportionately longer," he says. It is similar when working.

“After seven or eight hours, the risk of an accident increases significantly and exhaustion sets in. With a working time of four twelve hours a week, three days of rest are not enough to relieve the stress of this time, ”continues Schuster. Although humans are not fragile beings and can withstand such a workload over a short period of time, they also need sensible exercise and regeneration cycles in order to avoid performance losses or damage to health. The consequence is that it becomes more and more difficult to switch off after work.


The fact that work and leisure and temporal and spatial dimensions merge - such as working on the train with a laptop - also inhibits recovery processes.Andrea Birbaumer, deputy chairwoman of the Society of Critical Psychologists, Department of A&O Psychology, does not want to blackmail in this regard either, but uses the term "cybertariat" by Ursula Huws, professor at the University of Hertfordshire.

The term is based on the word precariat and describes the new work organization. “People are permanently 'on' and look for work online. The gig economy creates tension, the stress level increases. There is no insurance, ”she says. "From a social and health perspective, it has to be said that not everyone manages to constantly reorient and network in order to get work."

The psychologist also says that there have been tendencies towards digitization for two decades; this is not new, but the constant ability and need to work leads to a number of disadvantages. There is a lack of regeneration phases, which can lead to gastrovascular or cardiovascular complaints.

However, the adjustment is also a generation issue. Young people are more adaptable through their socialization with new technology, but there is still no concrete data. "However, trends show that none of this remains without consequences," says Birbaumer.

The psychologist also thinks that work will also be characterized by a major control aspect in the future because of technological advances. Constantly documenting and entering data could lead to a worst-case scenario if the question arises as to when the actual work will be done. Managers in particular would be challenged in the future. At the same time, they would have to support employees between the guidelines of politics and corporate concepts. “This could increase the quality of the work, for example in terms of transparency and comparison, but it is also heavily dependent on the industry,” says Birbaumer.

Digitization of work, shortage of skilled workers, demographic aging, work psychology, job destruction vs. new jobs, rethinking and retraining - all these terms, which will be key issues in the socio-political process in a few years' time, already indicate that suitable framework conditions will soon be needed.

BGE as "Power"

One point that encompasses all of the factors mentioned and is brought into play again and again is the unconditional basic income (UBI). Critics see it as a social hammock that heralds the end of work. Others want to use it to ease the pressure on workers. Clemens Wasner: “There will be no getting around the UBI. The explanation for this is simple: As the speed at which new technologies and methods spread in everyday working life, it becomes inevitable to give citizens the time to learn them. In this context, I find it strange that the internal training programs and employee leave in Silicon Valley, for example, are widely praised, but at the same time the educational leave, which is a far more progressive instrument, is criticized, ”he says. “Work as a social meaning means experiencing recognition, seeing the meaning in it and being motivated - and working towards a common goal. But if you are only fighting for survival, there is a lack of quality, ”says Birbaumer. There is room for creativity under a BGE, which is not about being able to afford the next villa financed by the state, but about removing the pressure of everyday life. “People would have more energy for commitment. I don't see a hammock in it, but power. ”However, one must differentiate which group it is intended for. And the question of height should also be tapped.

"Innovation through recreation"

Mario Schuster also recognizes a sensitive issue in the UBI. “Activities with lower as well as intermediate qualifications will be eliminated; more specialists will be needed for this. With 300,000 unemployed, this does not mean that they will become 300,000 new IT technicians, ”says Schuster. The industrial psychologist names three basic psychological needs of humans that could point the way on this topic and invalidate the killer argument “lazy skin”: According to the self-determination theory of the researchers Edward L. Deci and Richard M. Ryan (for the first time Presented at the University of Rochester in 1985) Recognition, advancement and autonomy. Her paper also states, "People who are free to decide what they do are much more motivated". This freedom should not be understood as "free from duties and work", but rather as "free from the struggle for survival and pressure", which can also be seen as a relaxation factor in a changed world of work with high demands. Because, according to Schuster, it is like this: "Innovation does not come about through more work, but through relaxation."

This article appeared in print in brutkasten magazine # 7 “The world in 5 years”