Every technological advancement comes with a price. Automation, machine learning technologies, and AI are all steps forward that are causing some people to worry. A good chunk of the working force is worried about AI replacing their jobs.
The reality is this fear does not affect regular blue collar jobs alone because there are other people like system administrators who are worried about this possibility as well. As a system administrator, you are automating all sorts of tasks, so the idea of your job getting automated is not unorthodox.
The truth is this question is a little more complex than you might imagine. Could your task ever be automated? AI continues to improve, so it is definitely possible, but it should also be noted that the technology is simply not there yet.
Automation and You
As a system administrator or a sysadmin, you have probably been exposed to automation. This is perhaps one of the clearest steps towards AI, and most sysadmins have probably used automation countless times.
An obvious example of automated tasks is how most programs nowadays download updates on their own whereas before a system administrator had to do this task him or herself.
All of these tasks required a few system administrators to be completed, but now people can take care of these tasks through automation. This is the reason some fear that their jobs might be in jeopardy, but that is not the case.
What sysadmins have to keep in mind is that automation is still just a tool. For example, a sysadmin could easily use a tool for a network discovery to monitor an entire network of servers through one program without the need of assistance. Automation seems to make you more powerful rather than obsolete.
Looking at Machine Learning
System administrators can find many uses for machine learning; perhaps, the most useful way of applying machine learning to the job is using it to perform log analysis. All systems, even small ones, create logs full of information.
Most of the logs within a report are trivial, but there are a few logs that could be communicating something to you.
The problem is that going through these logs without machine learning is not only going to take up too much time, but you may also miss the signs.
Machine learning can help identify patterns that could be revealing a problem in a system. In a few moments, you were able to point out areas in a system that could be improved, which just makes you a more efficient sysadmin.
AI is Looming
AI is one of those things everyone is a little concerned about. You have probably read at least a few articles talking about how AI might take over all sorts of jobs, or you have probably watched at least one science fiction movie about the dangers of AI.
The combination of media and articles may make some people feel like we are only a few steps away from living in a world where robots take care of everything, but that is not the case.
Sure, AI is quite incredible, but it actually takes years to produce the algorithm a AI program needs to perform a specific task, and this program cannot adapt to other tasks on its own.
In essence, AI simply cannot function without human input just yet, and it cannot switch tasks like human beings can, so we are far away from the AI intelligence that might be seen in a science fiction movie.
You do not really have to worry about your job just yet. At the moment, most of the automation or machine learning programs still require system administrator to be used properly.
You still have to set up these technologies, constantly configure them, maintain them, and even scale them. AI is probably going to come at some point, and it will help remove menial jobs from your list of tasks. It might help you re-invent yourself within the field, which is probably more exciting than anything else.