Two in three young entrepreneurs fear being replaced by robots

Two thirds of young entrepreneurs are concerned that the rise of artificial intelligence in the workplace could impact job prospects, but some of the top jobs in the future may need to take AI as a given.

A new report reveals that despite being the techiest generation yet, two in three young entrepreneurs are concerned that the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) in the workplace could impact job prospects.

The report, entitled Robot Revolution: The impact of artificial intelligence on entrepreneurs and job prospects, includes detailed polling of 200 finalists from the Young Enterprise flagship ‘Company Programme’ from all regions of the UK, shortlisted from 20,000 entrants.

When asked about the impact of AI in the workplace, 76 per cent said they believed fewer jobs would be available due to the use of robots in the workplace. In contrast just 10 per cent said this trend would lead to more jobs and 14 per cent said there would be no noticeable change.

When asked about the role of robots in the workplace, nearly half of respondents said they were ‘concerned’ at the prospect of machines occupying a large percentage of the workforce. 35 per cent said they were neutral, and only 18 per cent felt comfortable.

“The rise of the robots will have a devastating impact on job prospects for young people who have not been equipped with basic work skills. It’s time to wake up and recognise education must extend beyond academia and properly prepare the next generation for the world of work with skills like communication, teamwork and creativity,” said Michael Mercieca, chief executive, Young Enterprise.

Respondents also feel that the rise of the robots will impact the ability of young people to secure jobs, with 59 per cent of respondents saying that they thought it would be harder to get a job that a robot could also do, due to a lack of basic core skills like team work and problem solving.

33 per cent said that they thought the rise of robot workers would encourage students leaving education to get more ready for work, ensuring that they left school with more relevant workplace skills. Only 8 per cent said they anticipated there being no change.

45 per cent even said that they would accept a job working for a robot in the future.

According to a 2016 World Economic Forum report, 65 per cent of children entering primary school today will ultimately end up working in completely new job types that don’t yet exist.

A new careers app for young people, Future Finder, features 430 jobs that don’t yet exist or are in their infancy, to enable students to plan for their futures at a time when the employment landscape is radically changing. 40 ‘high growth jobs of the future’ based on research by the Canadian Scholarship Foundation with their Careers 2030 work and insight from Global Management Consultancy A.T. Kearney include materials scientist, energy engineer, forensic computer analyst, systems architect, and recycling officer; jobs that all heavily influenced by artificial intelligence and robotics.

“Many of today’s most in-demand job roles did not exist a decade ago. It’s a challenge I am keenly aware of, running a leading-edge data science business. And the changes in tomorrow’s world of work are set to be even more profound,”Your Life Chair, Edwina Dunn said.

“The rise of robots, increasing automation and disruptive technologies present many risks to existing jobs, but they will also throw up plentiful new opportunities for school leavers. We hope Future Finder will offer today’s students a unique window onto tomorrow’s workplace.”

Future Finder top 10 jobs of the future

  • Aesthetician – Aestheticians are the beauty therapists of the future when advances in biochemistry will allow people far greater degree of control over their appearance. Aestheticians will help transform people for special occasions through temporary facial feature prosthetics, environmentally-responsive makeup, and other body modifications.
  • Robot counsellor – Robot counsellors will exist to help families and individuals identify what specification of home-based robot they will need – whether the robot will be tasked with housework or caregiving, the robot counsellor will observe how the family interacts and make recommendations to suit each individual environment. The robot counsellor will also be on-hand to help families adjust to their new ‘family member’ and deal with any issues that arise from the placement.
  • Autonomous vehicle engineer – Autonomous vehicle engineers are specialised engineers focused on the smooth running of driverless cars. They will develop and deliver the systems which make up an autonomous vehicle and allow it to function better than a human driver.
  • Simplicity expert – Simplicity experts will become integral in the ever more complex world of business, tasked with looking at how business can simplify and streamline their operations. The simplicity expert is there to reduce fifteen administrative steps to three, or four interviews to one, or three days of work to a half hour. Part designer, part math whiz, and part sociologist, the best simplicity experts need an understanding of how humans work to come up with new and creative methods of working that benefit people throughout an organisation.
  • Gamification designerGamification designers will work with technologists, designers and business people to create game-like experiences out of otherwise boring or difficult activities – tackling anything from giving up bad habits to keeping fit. They will also design games with doctors, therapists, or psychologists that help people bounce back in the face of serious life challenges like injury, illness or depression.
  • Professional microbiome steward – Microbiome stewards will assist us in becoming conscientious “shepherds” of our own microbiota, through feeding, culling, and rebalancing our bodies gut bacteria. Scientific evidence already demonstrates that our bodies’ micro-organismal communities play a role in everything from body weight, to energy levels, to mental health.
  • Nostalgist – Nostalgists will use virtual reality to take people back to a favoured time or place in history, recreating the setting of wherever the client wishes to relive their past.
  • Rewilding strategist – Rewilding strategists will stitch together viable ecosystems in stressed landscapes, using patchworks of flora and fauna from all over the world, reintroducing plants and animals that have been extinct in a region for centuries in order to create resilient and vibrant landscapes.
  • Company culture ambassador – Company culture ambassadors will be part leadership guru, part therapist, part event coordinator with overall responsibility for the wellbeing of the workforce. They will play a significant role in ensuring a positive work culture; routinely checking in with employees, addressing any concerns, developing training programs, and organising perks for the staff, such as free lunches and yoga classes, to boost company morale.
  • Carbon capture technician – Carbon capture technicians will use new technologies to capture greenhouse gases and store them to help slow the effects of climate change. Carbon capture technicians will need to design, build, and maintain these carbon capture systems, delivering a critical role in keeping the atmosphere safe for humans, animals and plants.

Related: Truth may be stranger than science fiction: The ten hottest jobs of 2025

Praseeda Nair

Praseeda Nair

Praseeda was Editor for from 2016 to 2018.

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