ROBOTS will steal half of all current jobs in the world within 15 years, a leading artificial intelligence expert warns.
Workers in many fields face a crisis “akin to that faced by farmers during the industrial revolution”, says former Google and Microsoft exec Kai-Fu Lee.
Truckers, salesmen, office clerks, warehouse staff, fast food workers and couriers all risk becoming redundant in the AI age.
Only those jobs focused on person-to-person contact such as nurses and teachers will be safe as computers can’t match human empathy, he says.
Lee, bestselling author of AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley, And The New World Order, says it’s important to “warn people there is displacement coming, and to tell them how they can start retraining.”
He told DailyMail.com in the US: “People aren’t really fully aware of the effect AI will have on their jobs.”
Most at risk are telemarketers and telesales people, he said, pointing by example to Google’s controversial AI bot that can fool humans.
He said: “You’ve probably already received robo-calls, but future calls will be more natural.
“AI can use customer profiles, past purchases, and emotional recognition to find ways to appeal to them – even using a soothing female voice or a persuasive male voice.”
The same goes for customer support staff and call centre operators, he says.
Education will have to change radically to encourage a new way of thinking, making people “more individualistic, and more empathetic”.
Lee said: “Human to human interaction is safe, providing comfort and satisfaction is safe.”
The expert, a former chairman of Google China, says AI cannot be creative or conceptual, do complex strategic planning, or perform tasks that require precise hand-eye coordination.
So authors, artists, strategic managers and doctors will still find work, along with marriage counsellors and social workers.
We will also need plenty of AI researchers and computer scientists to teach the new army of robots what to do.
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Other experts have previously warned of an AI apocalpyse as robots take over the world and treat humans as guinea pigs.
Leading military powers are also developing robot soldiers that could eventually go into battle – making autonomous decisions on who to kill.
The US and Russia recently blocked a UN move to ban such AI weapons.
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