Imagine you’re back in the olden days.

A new farming technology has just been released and everyone is raising their eyebrows and muttering skepticisms under their breath.

Fast forward a few more years and a new mechanical sewing contraption has just hit the market (you might know it as a sewing machine, though in its crudest form). Rather than being welcomed with open arms, workers in Elizabethan England were deeply concerned it would mark the end of their careers.

And, if you were alive in the 1920s, the notion of things like MTV or an air traffic controller would have been completely mindboggling.

There’s a trend here. Throughout the tapestry of time, new inventions have caused the general public to metaphorically freak out. They believed that shiny new machines would put them out of work and change the landscape of the human world forever.

Well, they weren’t wrong on the last part. But, rather than putting millions of people out of work, new jobs were created and new innovations hit the planet in ways we never could have imagined in Elizabethan England or any other time in history.

Today, things seem to be moving faster than ever. New technologies mean inventions are being released left, right, and center, leaving people worried that they’re going to be out of a job in the not-too-distant future.

And it’s clear to see that automation and AI are already causing waves in many industries, but they’re also creating new opportunities that are expanding and shifting the boundaries of the working world.

If air traffic controllers were a mindboggling thought a century ago, imagine what possibilities there are for the next hundred years.

For the craftsmen, bakers, farmers, and artisans of the past, there was the ever-present fear that technology would render their skills obsolete. But, unlike their predictions, there wasn’t a decline in jobs. In fact, the transition between manual labor and the introduction of machinery created a whole host of new opportunities for people, like engine mechanics, pilots, and autoworkers.

New Jobs That AI Will Bring with It

Let’s allow our minds to wander for a minute.

A report from MIT believes that AI will easily create as many new jobs as it eliminates. That’s a bold claim, but if we think about the common occupations we have now that weren’t a part of yesteryear, we can see just how endless the possibilities are for the future.

In the report, it lists jobs like “empathy trainer” for AI devices and AI ethics compliance auditors – positions that we can’t even comprehend today but that might become as commonplace as a teacher or a lawyer in the future.

Sounds good, right?

Unless you’re not in the tech industry or tech-minded and then things become slightly more problematic.

Or do they?

The new jobs that AI will create aren’t just for those with technical skills. In fact, the majority of new positions will rely on our ability to be human (which, thankfully, we’re better at than machines).

AI will filter into most industries, but our humanity will continue to pervade through the wacky innovations that are inevitably headed our way. Because if we look back through history, innovation has been the most sustainable way to make society wealthier and better off, and that’s not going to stop becoming a priority any time soon.

Think About All the Opportunities…

Hal Varian, the chief economist at Google, has a really simple method for predicting the future. He claims that we just have to look at how the rich are living to see how everyone else will be living in the future: chauffeurs will soon become driverless cars, while private bankers will soon become robo-bankers for all.

If you’re concerned that these particular future predictions don’t seem to involve any humans, you’re right. But that’s not the case for everything.

Elon Musk’s predictions about spaceflight technologies could mean we’re just a couple of decades away from having a whole new economy in our solar system. As we work towards building communities on the moon, mars, and everywhere in between, jobs will multiply as humans are dispatched to help run the show around the universe.

Then there’s the emerging realm of nanotechnology, a science that deals with the fabric of space and time. Since 2000, this industry has basically been blown wide open and already employs more than a million Americans – a number that continues to grow every day.

This will lead to new branches of technology as it bleeds into things like drug therapeutics, aircraft construction, and even clothing design.

Add to that the ever-growing sharing economy, and you have far more industries to work in now than ever before. Think Uber and AirBnB, both of which have provided a substantial amount of jobs for everyday people.

Source: http://www.dhl.com/en/about_us/logistics_insights/dhl_trend_research/sharing_economy.html#.WujmltTwbct

As you can see, it’s not just the tech world where jobs are opening up. Though there are new branches of older industries emerging with new technology, no industry can survive alone without human input.

Even if AI did take over everything which, let’s face it, is incredibly unlikely, how would it get started in the first place? How would it continue to run without malfunctioning? How would it keep evolving to be better?

For all of those things there has to be human input. Sure, machines are well on their way to becoming as “intelligent” as humans, but it’s humans that are making them that intelligent.

The Elizabethan period, those old farming days, and the 1920s were not the end of history and humankind as many people thought, and today won’t be either. We’ve always had to evolve and innovate to keep society moving forward and stop it from stagnating.

And, whenever controversial machinery and technology has emerged in the past, it’s always led to greater productivity levels. With AI, society can produce more with less, but this doesn’t mean we’ll be out of jobs – far from it, in fact.

We’ll always need human creativity and empathy, and that’s where we’ll thrive once AI starts becoming a commonplace part of every industry.