The AI Threat: 18 Jobs That Might Disappear in Our Lifetime

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Technology and artificial intelligence (AI) can disrupt entire industries. In fact, AI is projected to jeopardize 47% of U.S. jobs within 10 to 20 years, according to Oxford University.

You may have a decent job now, but you can't be sure that AI won't replace you. It can work 24/7, process information faster than humans, and minimize errors. Knowledge is power, so becoming aware of the jobs that might disappear in our lifetime can help you upskill and prepare for your future.

Cashiers

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Self-checkout kiosks and mobile payment systems are already replacing cashiers in many stores. Most cashier interactions—scanning, bagging, and calculating change—are routine and involve a limited understanding of individual customer needs. AI can be trained to handle these basic interactions politely and efficiently without human judgment. Unlike humans, AI doesn't get tired, makes fewer mistakes, and never needs a bathroom break.

Casino Dealers

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Even though AI lacks the social skills and emotional intelligence of human dealers, it can be programmed to operate casino games, deal cards in blackjack and poker, spin the roulette wheel and manage chips in craps. Plus, AI can work around the clock, with no sick days or vacations, even after all-night poker games! Additionally, AI algorithms can calculate odds, eliminate human error, and even monitor games for suspicious activity.

Telemarketers

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AI is slowly replacing telemarketer jobs, employing natural language processing and text-to-speech technology for automated calls, delivering messages, answering questions, and scheduling appointments. That's right; AI can be programmed to talk to people on the phone and sound like an actual human. AI-powered systems are often cheaper than employing human telemarketers, especially for larger companies making a high volume of calls. Plus, machines don't mind being yelled at on the phone and don't require salaries, benefits, or breaks.

Warehouse Stockers

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In the next decade, automation may replace roughly 20% of warehouse jobs, potentially increasing in subsequent years. Robots navigate warehouses accurately, fetching items using barcodes. AI automatically tracks inventory and generates restocking orders, eliminating manual counts and data entry. Unlike human warehouse stockers, they always remember where everything is and don't rely on paper checklists or another stocker's memory.

Data Entry Keyers

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Companies have been increasingly adopting AI-powered data entry, causing a decline in demand for human keyers. This trend is not expected to slow down any time soon. AI handles large data volumes faster and cheaper, ensuring cleaner and more reliable data. It can scan documents, understand handwriting, and extract information without getting bored or making typos. AI also scales up or down to handle any data wave, eliminating the need to hire and train more people.

Dispatchers

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Delivery services, taxi companies, and ride-sharing apps thrive with AI-driven automated dispatching. AI chatbots handle non-emergency calls, potentially reducing dispatcher workload. AI efficiently collects and analyzes data from GPS, traffic databases, weather updates, and schedules. This data optimizes routes, predicts delays, and identifies the best resources for deployment.

Farm Workers

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Although there will always be a need for some human workers in agriculture, the number will likely significantly decline in the coming years. AI functions as an intelligent farmhand, assisting with various tasks once performed by humans.

Advanced sensors on autonomous tractors and drones efficiently plant seeds, apply fertilizers, and harvest crops, optimizing yield and minimizing labor costs. AI-powered sensors and cameras automate animal health monitoring, movement tracking, and disease prediction, streamlining herd management.

Fast Food Workers

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Fast-food chains are already integrating AI, and this trend will most likely continue. Order-taking and simple food prep will become increasingly automated. AI-powered kiosks and voice assistants handle customer orders, eliminating the need for in-person human cashiers.

AI tracks food and ingredient levels, automatically placing orders and optimizing kitchen layout for efficiency, reducing the need for human input. This automation doesn't get hangry or distracted—ideal in the fast food industry.

Librarians

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Libraries embrace self-service tech, like self-checkout kiosks, cutting the need for human interaction in basic tasks. Now, AI is like the library's super-charged assistant. It excels at organizing information and cataloging resources faster and more efficiently.

AI-powered search tools expedite finding information in vast libraries, surpassing traditional methods. The best part is that AI chatbots answer basic questions about resources, hours, and policies, directing users to materials or connecting them with a human librarian for complex inquiries.

Mail Sorters

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Postal services globally employ AI-powered sorting machines, reducing dependence on human labor. Cutting-edge image recognition accurately scans addresses, even handwritten or obscured ones. AI algorithms instantly assign correct sorting bins or delivery routes for all mail types.

These AI machines are expensive upfront but pay off in the long run by cutting labor costs. They work faster, make fewer mistakes, and don't need coffee breaks.

Meter Readers

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Extensive use of smart meters and AI-based reading systems is reshaping utilities, impacting traditional meter readers' jobs. Retrained meter readers now assume installation, maintenance, customer service, or data analysis roles.

AI reads meters 24/7, faster and more efficiently, leading to cost savings and quicker billing cycles. In hazardous or remote locations, AI remotely reads meters, mitigating the risk of accidents for human workers.

Parking Enforcement Workers

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Many cities have implemented camera-based ticketing while fully automated systems are still being developed. AI-powered cameras excel in detecting violations, surpassing human patrols in accuracy and speed. Automated systems then process violations, generating electronic tickets without human intervention.

In addition, AI optimizes towing routes, dispatching tow trucks based on violation severity and location. AI systems can work 24/7 and process information faster than humans, potentially leading to a more efficient and consistent enforcement process.

Proofreaders

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AI aids in proofreading tasks across fields and editing large content volumes like online articles or technical documents. Tools like Grammarly catch errors and typos with a high level of accuracy. AI can also compare text to online databases to identify plagiarism. Ultimately, developing and maintaining AI tools can be more cost-effective than hiring and training human proofreaders.

Referees

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Existing technology already uses AI-powered video analysis to assist referees in reviewing close calls, like offside goals or penalty fouls. Despite human referees' efforts, errors may occur due to limited visibility or the game's pace.

However, AI can analyze video footage from multiple angles, track players' movements with laser accuracy, and even predict potential fouls before they happen. It can make decisions in milliseconds, meaning faster games and less time spent arguing with the ref.

Tax Preparers

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AI has begun replacing tax preparers in some capacity, especially in simple situations. AI-powered tax software can efficiently handle vast tax data while extracting and categorizing relevant information. It also accurately performs complex tax liabilities, deductions, and refund calculations.

Taxi Drivers

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AI can also take the wheel of self-driving cars. Leading companies like Waymo, Cruise, and Baidu are running pilot programs for self-driving taxis in limited areas like San Francisco and Phoenix, Arizona. Autonomous vehicles with advanced AI navigate roads, follow traffic rules, and transport passengers safely without human intervention.

This eliminates the need for a physically present driver. AI also analyzes real-time traffic data, weather patterns, and passenger demand to find efficient routes, reducing delays and saving time.

Translators

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AI is already automating some basic translation tasks, leading to job displacement, and the trend will likely continue. AI excels at translating plain text with common vocabulary and grammar, which applies to simple documents, news articles, or general conversations.

They're fast and cheap, but at the moment, they are not perfect. Translators may shift to post-editing AI output, consulting, or specialized areas where AI is inadequate.

Toll Booth Operators

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AI is transforming toll booths, making them faster, cheaper, and safer. Many countries and regions have shifted to fully automated toll systems—AI reads license plates, tracks tagged vehicles, and processes toll payments automatically.

This eradicates manual transactions and cash handling. AI also analyzes traffic flow, adjusting toll booths in real-time to optimize lane usage and reduce congestion, eliminating human intervention in traffic management.

Author: Hannah Healy

Title: Writer

Bio:

Hannah is the published author of The Ultimate Paleo Cookbook and an avid writer in the health, entertainment, travel, and personal finance spheres. She is also the owner and founder of Healy Eats Real, a health and wellness website providing recipes and wellness information for over ten years. Hannah is the published author of The Ultimate Paleo Cookbook and an avid writer in the health, entertainment, travel, and personal finance spheres. Her work has been featured on Huffington Post, Buzzfeed, Redbook, Fitness, and MSN.