From telemarketers to English teachers, these jobs are most in danger of being taken over by robots in the AI revolution

Telemarketers and teachers won’t have much job security in the A.I. era. Of all professions, their work is the most likely to be taken over by chatbots that can write detailed essays and provide specific responses to queries about anything and everything—all in milliseconds. 

A paper published earlier this month by researchers from New York University, University of Pennsylvania, and Princeton University identified the industries and occupations that are more exposed to the development of A.I.-powered chatbots such as ChatGPT, which have gained millions of users over the past few months. The study found jobs that are most in danger are telemarketers and teachers of literature, history, law, and languages. 

In terms of the most exposed industries, the researchers cited legal services, financial services, insurance, and credit card banking.

“If you are currently in one of these occupations, you should think proactively about ways that you can use technologies like ChatGPT in your work,” Robert Seamans, a professor at New York University’s Leonard N. Stern School of Business and one of the paper’s authors, told Fortune. “The more familiar you are with these new technologies, the better you will be able to adjust to coming changes, and perhaps even add value for yourself and your employer.”

Occupations or industries at risk may ultimately translate into employees being either replaced or forced to adjust how they work, the paper argues. For instance, chatbots can help telemarketers by analyzing customer feedback to better provide those customers with tailor-made ads. Meanwhile, A.I. chatbots could upend education and related occupations by   creating new and better teaching material. 

The study’s authors also found that white collar workers who earn high wages will be exposed to innovation in chatbots. 

“We anticipate that most employees will remain in their given occupation, but that the nature of work done in that occupation will change as these new technologies get used with more and more frequency,” said Seamans.

Exposed jobs and industries could have a large impact on how workers are trained, skilled, and deployed in coming years as more companies invest in A.I. and chatbot technologies. Microsoft has said it would invest $10 billion in ChatGPT-maker OpenAI, while Google’s Bard chatbot just launched for public use on Tuesday after months of limited testing. Investment bank Morgan Stanley is also working with OpenAI on a chatbot that is supposed to help its financial advisors by finding resources and data for them. 

All of these tools have shown their limitations—Microsoft’s Bing A.I. became “unhinged” with some users, while Bard returned factually inaccurate results to a question during a public demo. Schools have banned ChatGPT, fearing that it would help students cheat on tests and projects, but they have since warmed up to using the tool to educate students and prepare them for a future with A.I.  

Despite its promise, the fear of ChatGPT-like technology threatening jobs has been sounded by experts previously. Oxford University economist Carl Benedikt Frey told Fortune last month that ChatGPT’s disruption could be compared to what Uber did to the taxis by lowering wages and unlocking an entirely new market for cab-hailing. On the bright side, Frey said that the advancement of A.I. tools could pave the way for greater productivity in existing jobs.

“You would expect that human labor will get reallocated towards skills and activities where humans have a comparative advantage over machines,” said Manav Raj, professor at The Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania and the co-author of the paper. “Over generations of tech change, it is natural to be worried about how they may reshape markets and affect labor, but they also have the potential to spur tremendous growth.”

Subscribe to Well Adjusted, our newsletter full of simple strategies to work smarter and live better, from the Fortune Well team. Sign up today.

Latest news
Related news