Added: 26.11.2009 14:53
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The Future of Service Work

In the future many service workers could be displaced by artificial intelligence

Self-service technologies are increasingly changing the way how customers define and value the service field. The next big step in the service sector might come along with AI, artificial intelligence, which could make the services more efficient and affordable.

It has been assumed that self-service technology might affect to consumer satisfaction as it reduces personal contact in service. Because of this it doesn’t seem likely that self-service could ever totally replace service workers – customers want personal contact and individualized service. The thing is that artificial intelligence isn’t comparable to the current self-service technology.

Even doctor’s appointment could be organized and taken care of by artificial intelligence. The doctor’s automated telephone system could ask the patient series of questions with friendly voice expressing medical concern. Based on the answers, the doctor’s system guides the patient to the next room for lab tests. The diagnosis is made instantly after the tests, and the system dispenses the appropriate medication. The doctor’s system has been in contact with the insurer during the whole process, and the medication is paid directly by the insurer.

When artificial intelligence becomes common it is likely to be cheaper option for the business than actual workers. If it comes popular enough it could displace many workers from service sector.


Malerich, S. (2009). Artificial intelligence displaces service workers. The Futurist, 43(3), 23.

Opportunity: Growing efficiency

Threat: Inflexible services, growing unemployment

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