Don’t worry, marketers. Robots won’t replace you… yet.

When two of the world’s leading AI research firms, Google DeepMind and Open AI, team up to research the “safety challenges” of artificial intelligence, you know the threat is real. While we may not have a sentient Skynet in the next decade, the greatest risk AI poses today is to your job.

Fear of replacement by robots has been a reality for workers in manufacturing for decades, but due to advancements in artificial intelligence, computers are now capable of automating many fundamental “white collar” professions.

In fact, just this year, a Japanese insurance company replaced 34 employees with IBM’s Watson. More recently, a programmer sparked a viral discussion across internet forums over the ethics on automating himself out of his own job.

And that’s only the beginning. An Oxford research study predicts up to 47 percent of US jobs (PDF) will be automated in the next decade. However, there are fields in which automation is unlikely, according to the same researchers.

Jobs like surgeons and lawyers have a 0.42 percent and 3.5 percent chance of automation, respectively. Slim odds compared to accountants’ 94 percent chance. Interestingly, marketing managers, too, appear safe from the oncoming wave of automation, scoring only a 1.4 percent.

What’s saving marketers from automation? Human connection.

A great marketing campaign requires an even greater connection with customers; that’s something only humans are capable of.

That said, refuge from the oncoming robot revolution is no reason to rest. The same breakthroughs in programming that will take jobs from white-collar workers will radically change marketing as well.

Now, more than ever, the role of the marketer is to be both a technologist — an expert in automated technology — and, perhaps more importantly, to be human — to actively connect and empathize with customers at every point of engagement. Otherwise, it’s time to get friendly with our robot overlords.

Software will eat the bottom of the marketing ladder, so get ready to climb

Today, hundreds of marketing automation solutions are already tackling many basic marketing activities, from email blasts to real-time ad purchasing, giving marketers unprecedented reach. Any marketer with an internet connection can now reach millions of prospects across the world with the push of a button.

But our reliance on automated programs has resulted in an industry focused on metrics that don’t move the bottom line — vanity metrics like clicks and views.

[Read the full article on MarTech Today.]