Anyone with a job has also probably wondered what it would be like to lose said job. And if you’ve ever worried about being replaced by technology—you know, robots—your fears are pretty justified.
According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, each new robot in the U.S. economy reduces employment by 5.6 percent of workers. It also decreases wages by 0.25 to 0.5 percent per 1,000 workers. Those are pretty startling statistics, considering these robots are replacing all kinds of jobs, including doctors, lawyers, journalists and even airline pilots. That’s not to mention factory workers, which are probably the most obvious.
So which jobs are next? And is yours on this possible-but-probable list?
Technologists Mubashar Iqba and Dimitar Raykov wondered too, so they took research published in 2013 and from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics to get a look at job prospects by category. The result? Willrobotstakemyjob.com, where you can type in your job and get an estimated probability that robots will replace you.
I had to start with myself first, of course, and typed in “journalist.” The categories break down further than that, so I just chose “Reporters and Correspondents.” Not surprising, reporters only have an 11 percent chance of being replaced by a robot. (Also not surprising, the projected growth of journalists is negative 9 percent. So, no robot worries, but plenty of concerns about job security nonetheless.)
Moving on, dentists are marked as “Totally safe”—there’s only a 0.44 percent chance a robot will be checking out our mouths. Slightly more scary than a root-canal-performing robot, however, is the automation risk level of judges. That stands at 40 percent and a “Start worrying” status. Sure, a robot performing a wedding ceremony could be pretty neat, but “may determine liability of defendant in civil cases” sounds a bit too much like a sci-fi movie for my liking.
For factory workers, a 97 percent risk means “You are doomed,” according to the site, and if you’re a cashier, you probably already know self-checkouts are the way of the future. (Cashiers are also a 97 percent.) Even waiters and waitresses are in the “doomed” level, as are bank tellers.
In all this doom and gloom, however, there is one theory that doesn’t seem quite so bleak. (We can’t just leave you depressed!) Computer Weekly says the future of jobs isn’t as scary as some of us believe. They say the largest effect from technology will actually be job transformation, not replacement. Meaning, humans will be working alongside robots—not losing their jobs to them.
Not exactly sure how I feel about having robotic co-workers either, but if they don’t want you to see all their baby photos or buy the leggings they sell on Facebook, I might be able to get behind it.