With the evolution of automation, it has many people questioning, will robots take my job? AI has already distributed many jobs and has the potential to impact many more. For the most part, these technologies are implemented to make jobs more efficient, not take jobs away. We are at a pivotal point to reallocate our resources and focus on the new opportunities automation brings. How did we get here? (Read about the history of automation here). Some jobs are more susceptible to disruptive innovation than others:

Jobs already automated

Automation has already taken over many jobs; cashiers, customer service representatives, assembly line workers, bank tellers, and many, many more. Even simple tools like natural language processors, like Google Translate, have eliminated the need for translators. Or things software like Quickbooks replaced bookkeepers. 

One of the first careers to be automated was assembly line workers in the early 1900s. Ford implemented automation into their manufacturing processes. The manufacturing industry was automated even before artificial intelligent technology. Currently, more delicate tasks are done by humans, and the majority of repetitive tasks are performed by machines.  

Assembly line workers job replaced by automation in 1900's by Ford
Ford assembly line workers

Automated Teller Machines (ATM) was invented in 1967 and reduced the need for bank tellers. Individuals no longer needed to visit the bank to deposit or withdraw money. Today, ATMs are nearly seen everywhere and banking can be done from mobile devices.

ARM replaces bank teller job
First ATM in 1969, New York

Cashiers at grocery stores and fast food tellers are repetitive tasks that machines automated. Many online stores have chatbots rather than customer service representatives. These bots can gather data and answer questions much faster and more accurately than human customer service representatives. Evidently, there is an extensive list of careers that have already been automated. Repetitive tasks that are easily learned can be automated easily. What does the future of the work force look like? Which jobs will be automated?

Jobs that will be automated

As mentioned previously, based on the nature of the tasks and the available technology, certain careers can be predicted to be automated.

Careers in the insurance industry can be easily performed by machines. Machine learning and artificial intelligence can be used to direct claims in real-time. Using sensors, patterns, and algorithms it can detect accidents. For example, if your home insurance covers flood-related damages, the sensors in your home can detect water leakage and use its database to verify there is inclement weather that would lead to this. It can then begin a claim and save you time and energy. This machine can also serve ten times more people, rather than one person in the job.

Transportation, specifically long-haul trucking, has a limited amount of supply of workers willing to do it. The general public and massive shipping companies would benefit greatly from self-driving transportation trucks. Self-driving cars are already here and companies such as Tesla and Mercedes are making it possible. Automating self-driving cars and automobiles 

The receptionist’s responsibilities are to answer phones, redirect calls, organize schedules, and more. There are automated phones and scheduling systems that can perform the majority of this position for cheaper. Why doesn’t every company implement this? Some companies do not have the budget to implement all the necessary digital tools upfront costs. Many rely on their receptionist and cannot imagine their office without him or her. The reality is that the stereotypical duties of a receptionist are being automated, but the role can also be expanded and look different than ever before. One article explains that receptionists will act as “ brand ambassadors and managers of first impressions.”

Jobs that will never be automated

As automation evolves, more and more jobs will be performed by machines. However, there are few jobs we can predict that will never get automated 

Nurses require a high level of emotional awareness to perform their complex job. To make a machine that replicates a nurse would be extremely difficult. The ‘robot’ would have to be mobile and have the ability to interact with humans in an advanced form. Another job that requires a high level of empathy and compassion is human resource specialists. In saying this, we have not yet found a way to program machines to have the level of emotional awareness as humans do. Any job, like nurses or human resource specialists, that requires this will likely not be automated. (Article on why uses will never be automated here.)

Any job that customers rely on for the social aspect is also most likely to not be automated. Anything from baristas or bartenders require a high level of valued social interaction. Barbers, salons, and more rely on the communication between customers and staff members. Barbers and hairdressers are almost known for listening to people’s problems and allowing the opportunity for customers to vent. 

Teaching is another career that most likely will always be needed. As long as there are kids, there will be teachers. Recently, online education has evolved and led to more technological enhancements, however, we are not at the point for robots to be teaching children.  

Although positions like nurses, baristas, HR specialists, and teachers will most likely not be automated – it does not stop us from trying. As technology evolves, we can try to automate and find technological solutions to current jobs. 

Jobs created from automation

We have discussed the many jobs that will be transformed due to automation, but some of them have been created due to automation. It is a common myth that automation replaces jobs, but as a result of the rise of machines in the workforce, more jobs creating, managing, and fixing those machines are necessary. Computer programmers and cybersecurity specialists are examples of careers that didn’t exist until cybersecurity became mainstream and implemented into human’s daily lives. 

Any job that is repetitive or can be learned easily, will most likely be automated in recent years. The more advanced your work is and the lower the risk of automation.

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