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How susceptible are our jobs to AI robots?

When Google’s artificial intelligence program AlphaGo trumped Go master Lee Se-dol last week, worldwide attention soon turned to concerns that Go players would eventually be replaced by AI robots.

The Korea Employment Information Service unveiled Thursday a list of jobs that could be replaced by AI robots by 2020. It mostly included jobs that involve repetitive tasks or which require less human communication.
Professional Go player Lee Se-dol attends a press conference after completing the five-game match against AlphaGo on March 15. (Yonhap)
Professional Go player Lee Se-dol attends a press conference after completing the five-game match against AlphaGo on March 15. (Yonhap)
According to the KEIS, concrete producer topped the list, followed by butcher, rubber or plastic producer, security guard and tax payment administrator.

Street cleaner and courier were also among the top 10 occupations. In Korea, there are over 40,000 couriers as of 2015, amid soaring popularity of 24/7 free shipping services nationwide.

Occupations that mostly require human emotions, such as artist, sculptor, music composer, conductor and musicians, showed relatively low probabilities of being replaced by AI robots.

Makeup artist, fashion designer, singer and actor are also occupations that are least likely to be replaced.

Park Ga-yeol, a researcher at KEIS said, “Jobs based on human perception, creativity, decision making and social intelligence will likely survive, while jobs of automated tasks may be shared by robots.”

“Robots taking over jobs of repetitive tasks can increase efficiency in our society, but humans should first come up with an institutional strategy on how to efficiently use robots in each occupation,” he added.

The data on the list was collected by the Korea Network for Occupations and Workers, which based it on research from Oxford University’s Frey and Osborne model in 2013.

By Kim Da-sol (ddd@heraldcorp.com)

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