Almost three quarters of British workers fear their jobs might soon be done by robots and a recent report claims that almost 40% of Australian jobs that exist today could disappear in the next 10 to 15 years thanks to advances in digital technology.
Number 1. job to be replaced by robots: Stockroom worker
In several Amazon.com warehouses your packages will be moved from the shelves to the staff not by people, but by robots. Amazon’s new “robot army”—a fleet of short, bright orange robots on wheels—is now working in some of its warehouses to move stocked shelves to workers, who then scan them. This robot army makes Amazon’s operations more efficient: Workers are now expected to be able to scan at least 300 items per hour vs. 100 when the robot army wasn’t in use and will now avoid up to 20 miles of walking each day.
In reality taxi drivers, factory workers and even those working in shops think that their jobs are mostly at risk of being lost due to the advancement of technology.
The Protecting.co.uk, a British business law consultancy, says that even people in highly-trained, highly-skilled roles think that their days are numbered as human ingenuity creates machines that suit virtually every job.
Number 2. job to be replaced by robots: Bartender
On the cruise ship the Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas your cocktail may be served by a dancing robot.
While your local bartender may fumble when you ask him for a Sex on the Beach or a Tight Twister, the Monsieur robot bartender, who knows 300 cocktails and can make them in seconds, won’t.
“In fact, just about the only people who don’t fear for their future are business owners or managers,” says Protecting.co.uk spokesperson Mark Hall, “And that’s mainly because they think they’ll one day be managing a completely mechanised workforce, like some sort of evil overlord.”
Number 3. job to be replaced by robots: Soldier
Robots could replace one-fourth of all U.S. combat soldiers by 2030, according to statements made in January by U.S. Army Gen. Robert Cone. It’s an effort by the U.S. Army to become “a smaller, more lethal, deployable and agile force.” The robots may be able to do everything from dismantling land mines to engaging in front-line combat.
The study asked workers across all kinds of industries and professions, and found the majority feared that their job could be reduced to a computerised process within the next decade.
Some 76% said they thought their job could be done by a robot
56% said they feared their job could be mechanised within the next decade
18% said at least some of their work was already carried out by a machine
Only 24% said that they thought their job was “machine proof” and that they could never be replaced
Number 4. job to be replaced by robots: Pharmacist
At the pharmacy at the University of California, San Francisco, it isn’t a human who fills the prescriptions—it’s a robot. Computers receive the prescriptions and robots package and dispense them. During its first phase-in, the university says, there were no errors in the 350,000 doses the robot filled. What’s more, robots may be able to do a better job than humans at making sure the prescription a human is picking up won’t interact with other medications he or she is taking, says professor Erik Brynjolfsson, director of MIT’s Center for Digital Business.
Ahmad, who’s a taxi driver said: “I’ve seen these driverless cars in America. Just hook them up to a sat-nav and I’m out of a job. Then what?”
Lewis is a journalist at a leading national publication: “We’ve already got machine translation and computers writing copy for major newspapers and news agencies. As an industry, I say we’re pretty much doomed. In fact, I know at least one publication where the horoscopes haven’t been touched by human hand for years.”
Number 5. job to be replaced by robots: Journalist
Robots will likely take some journalists’ jobs in the near future. Business journalists—especially those who focus on numbers-heavy stories like market reports and sports journalists who do a lot of numbers analysis may be most at risk. However, that robots aren’t that great at being creative so fiction writers and long-form creative journalists can rest easy.
A police sergeant, who asked not to be identified said that the human element was important in his job, but: “There’s still a role to play for Robocop in policing. Document checks take up an awful lot of our time, self-service desks with computerised systems would take a lot of pressure off our desk staff.”
Julianne, who works as a shop assistant says: “You can see the way it’s going with self-service checkouts. All you need is a robot filling up the shelves and that’s the end for us shop workers, isn’t it?”
Number 6. job to be replaced by robots: Farmer
Much of farming involves routine tasks that robots can more efficiently do, including surveying the land, driving the tractors, and cutting, pruning and harvesting the crops. Indeed, there are already wine-bots, which prune vines in vineyards, and lettuce-bots, which pull up the weeds near the base of the plant, among many other farming robots.
Civil servant John said: “They’d probably find a way of replacing us all with machines. The way our senior management treats us, it can only be a matter of time before I’m replaced by a robot with a rubber stamp saying ‘Rejected’ on the end of a mechanical arm.”
Some companies could see the benefit of automation taking over work that would otherwise be too repetitive, or too unpleasant for humans. “Employing” robots would make sense these businesses say.
Number 7. job to be replaced by robots: Bomb squad
There are more than 450 bomb squads in America, which respond to thousands of bomb-related incidents each year, according to federal statistics. Already, some of these bomb squads use robots, which often can better dispose of the bombs, while minimizing the risk to human lives. The robots have other law enforcement applications as well—like infiltrating hostage situations—says Colin Angle, iRobot CEO.
Automation has been a reality in many aspects of manufacturing for several decades, and while there were inevitable job losses, workers found themselves in other roles such as CNC operations and quality control.
Protecting.co.uk says that while the latest giant step in the robotisation of society brings uncertainty to the workforce, it doesn’t mean that jobs will be lost on a wholesale basis.
“Think of it this way,” says Mark Hall, “most workplaces still have a staffed canteen where you can get a meal or a cup of tea, even though vending machines are a reality.
Number 8. job to be replaced by robots: Housekeeper
The vacuuming robot has been around for a while, but it’s getting better than ever: The Roomba 880, a newer version of the floor-cleaning robot, has earned stellar reviews, with some testers saying it does a better job than any upright vacuum, especially on pet hair. The company who makes the Roomba, iRobot, also makes the Scooba 450, which scrubs the floors, as well as a sweeping and gutter-cleaning robot. iRobot says it is has sold more than 10 million home robots alone.
Concerns are not much less for Australia’s robot-led future as robots are increasingly stepping into human shoes
Almost 40% of Australian jobs that exist today could disappear in the next 10 to 15 years thanks to advances in digital technology.
A new report by the Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA) has found that automation in the next generation could transform the shape of the Australian workforce.
Number 9. job to be replaced by robots: Paralegals and doc-review-focused attorneys
Clients pay millions for attorneys and paralegals to do some of the work that robots can simply do better—namely the dreaded “doc review,” in which people search hundreds of documents looking for mentions of certain items or concepts. Silicon Valley-based Blackstone Discovery offers that service—it can search both words and concepts—without the need for human hours. Robots, unlike humans, don’t tire of rote tasks such as this, and thus are often better equipped for it, experts say.
Robots and automation could eventually replace everything from some nursing and surgical jobs to meal preparation, driving and washing elderly patients.
In some parts of rural and regional Australia more than 60% of jobs could be lost, said CEDA Chief Executive Professor Stephen Martin.
“The pace of technological advancement in the last 20 years has been unprecedented and that pace is likely to continue for the next 20 years,” said Martin.
Number 10. job to be replaced by robots: Tellers and clerks
The bank branch is expensive to maintain, thanks in part to the cost of bank tellers’ labor—a cost that robots can, and in some cases already do, help eliminate. At least one bank is trying to drastically reduce that cost: At more than a dozen Coastal Federal Credit Union branches, consumers won’t find a single bank teller when they walk into a branch; instead, they’ll find “personal teller machines” that do much of what the teller could. The move resulted in a 40% reduction in teller staff, a spokesperson for the bank said earlier this year. Other banks are experimenting with similar options, says Better ATM Services CEO Todd Nuttall, whose company enables ATMs to dispense prepaid gift cards. The store and mailroom clerk may also find their employment opportunities similarly downsized.