Will AI Replace You in Five Years?

Artificial intelligence (AI) is transforming industries at an unprecedented rate, raising concerns about its potential to replace many human jobs within the next five years. According to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), the speed of integration of AI into the workplace could pose significant risks, including job displacement in every industry and profession. Workers whose roles are heavily based on repetitive and diagnostic tasks are at high risk of displacement by AI systems, as well as seeing their roles heavily augmented by AI with fewer new employment opportunities.

DOL recently issued a set of principles for employers to consider in an AI-driven world. They encourage employers to implement AI for automating repetitive tasks, allowing human workers to focus on more complex responsibilities. 

In imagining the likely outcomes for the future workforce, DOL and many technologists agree in their predictions. Many workplaces will soon have AI systems that largely manage mundane tasks like data entry, analysis, and basic customer interactions. Human workers will have more time to concentrate on tasks that require critical thinking, creativity, and emotional intelligence – skills that AI currently struggles to replicate. 

The transition, however, will require workers to adapt by acquiring new skills and embracing continuous learning.

Rights & Liability in an AI Workplace

As AI systems are deployed in the workplace, employees will need to understand their rights, as well as any remedies available to them, when AI replaces or augments their role. At the same time, employers will need to review potential liability before making changes, including involuntary separations, pay reductions, demotions, and reassignments based on algorithmic decision making.

AI systems are poised to soon make a significant number of employment decisions. Regardless of whether an AI system or a human makes a decision, the employer is ultimately responsible for the outcome.

Career Skills in an AI-Driven World

In its new AI workplace principles, DOL recommends that workers focus on acquiring skills that complement AI technologies, such as data analysis, program development, and other technical skills, as well as human skills, like leadership and emotional intelligence. 

Workers should look at fields that still require substantial human performance when considering which skills are best for developing.

Litigators offer a good example. Lawyers who litigate cases in courtrooms must appear in court and skillfully present a case to a judge or jury. While lawyers may use AI tools to assist them, they still need the human skills of argument, persuasion, and emotional intelligence to make their case in court. 

Mechanics, plumbers, electricians, and other construction and repair workers have long used computer systems for design and diagnostics. The execution of their job, however, requires them to manually – and skillfully – perform most functions, which makes their time valuable in the changing marketplace. Mechanical skills will continue to increase in value as technologies become ever more complex. 

AI already has had a huge impact on creative roles. The movie industry has utilized AI in scriptwriting, CGI, and plot development. Filmmakers are utilizing AI from idea generation to post-production. 

But what will most protect a creator’s role will be the content they produce. Regardless of whether a creator uses human skills or AI tools, quality content that entertains the audience will make its producer have value in the marketplace. 

Salespeople & Managers

For managers and high-producing salespeople, balancing technological proficiency with interpersonal skills is key to thriving in an AI-driven business world.

These professionals must know how to use AI tools to increase efficiency and productivity. 

Machine learning and AI systems already exist in business and improve performance every day. Managers use these tools for general automation, performance monitoring, resource allocation, decision-making, and workflow, and to measure and report results.

Managers should foster upskilling and reskilling within their teams, emphasizing AI augmentation to increase productivity and revenue. Salespeople should use AI tools that enhance personal connections and deliver solutions that foster genuine engagement.

Government Employees

In government service, AI can automate routine tasks and enhance data analysis, leading to more informed policy decisions and better resource allocation, as well as improvement of public services with faster responses through AI-powered chatbots and streamlined processes for applications and filings. 

AI has already been implemented in fraud detection and regulatory compliance by analyzing patterns and anomalies.

Many government functions, however, involve complex decision-making that requires human judgment, empathy, and ethical considerations. Government workers should prepare by developing digital literacy and understanding AI technologies to work alongside these systems effectively, as the number of roles in federal and state government will likely decrease as more efficient AI systems are deployed.

Federal & State Response to AI Replacing Workers

The Biden Administration has prioritized harnessing AI to drive innovation, create opportunities, and transform various industries, while also safeguarding workers’ interests. 

At the moment, however, federal AI regulation is nearly non-existent.

The majority of AI regulation is occurring at the state and local level, with New York City being the first jurisdiction that mandated bias testing in AI systems that make employment decisions. Colorado has also looked toward the EU regulatory framework and passed the first broad algorithmic discrimination. Other jurisdictions have implemented restrictions on specific activities that could impact AI systems, including Maryland’s limitations on employer use of facial recognition technologies. 

Workers now face a patchwork of regulations that have already proven confusing for employers and workers alike in multi-jurisdictional employment situations, especially in remote work environments where employees are spread out in different cities or states.

In nearly every employment situation related to AI displacement and discrimination, skilled legal counsel is necessary for untangling these jurisdictional and legal issues.

Protect Yourself Now

If your job or skill set has been replaced or threatened by AI, you should first seek legal counsel. Potomac Legal Group has been at the forefront of AI in employment law, and we are here to help you navigate this seismic technological shift. We have experience in assisting employees who have faced technological threats to their careers. 

Employment situations are highly specific and require a specialized response to protect your rights and maximize any outcome. The types of representation that we may provide to clients seeking counsel on AI-related changes to their employment include:

  1. Analyzing Employment Agreements: Our lawyers will review your employment contract to identify any clauses pertaining to job security, redundancy, severance, or hiring, and can assess whether your employer has properly comported itself with agreement, or if any employment law violations have occurred due to the introduction of AI systems, machine learning, or algorithmic decision making.
  2. Negotiating Severance & Separation Packages: In cases of displacement due to AI, we can advise whether you are receiving a fair severance package, including separation pay and benefits, and can negotiate severance packages on your behalf.
  3. Filing Discrimination Claims: If the replacement of your job by AI seems to involve discriminatory practices based on age, race, gender, or other protected characteristics, we can assist in making a demand or pursuing a discrimination complaint.
  4. Advising on Retraining & Reskilling Opportunities: Some jurisdictions are beginning to consider mandates that employers provide retraining or reskilling opportunities for employees affected by technological changes. A lawyer can help you understand your rights and any employer responsibility.
  5. Ensuring Compliance with AI & Technology-Related Regulations: AI implementation often involves extensive personal data usage, and many systems have inherent bias. If your personal or professional data has been misused, or if there has been a breach of privacy laws, a lawyer can help you file complaints and seek remedies under data protection regulations.

Preparing for an AI-Driven Workplace

In preparing for an AI-driven workplace, stay informed of technological changes in your industry and understand how AI might impact your role. Being proactive in understanding your rights and seeking legal advice early can help you navigate transitions more smoothly.

Start to upskill and reskill now. Take advantage of training and development opportunities offered by your employer or seek external programs to enhance your skills. This can make you more adaptable and valuable in an AI-augmented job market.

Consult with an attorney. If you face job displacement, change in pay, or role-reduction due to AI, consult with an attorney at Potomac Legal Group. We can assist in enforcing your rights.

While AI-driven job displacement is a growing concern, understanding your legal rights and working with counsel can provide a path forward. By staying informed and proactive, you may likely better navigate the challenges and opportunities presented by AI in the workplace.

Contact Potomac Legal Group when you need experienced guidance.

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