Are robots taking our jobs? Over the last few weeks, I’ve written a few posts around machines and robots and how they’ll be kicking you out of your job as soon as they build one that can, which won’t be very long at all. You can read those here, and here. According to Tech Insider:

A 300-page report released by Merrill Lynch predicts 47% of jobs are at risk for replacement in the next 20 years, with positions in the manufacturing and services industries being at the greatest risk.

It’s not all bad news (well actually it is) but there are some of us who apparently are luckier than others, because you do stuff that robots and machines can’t replace according to much smarter people than me. As an aside, I do wonder when they say ‘machines and robots can’t replace’, whether they actually mean, machines and robots don’t want to replace?

Moving on, here are a couple of those jobs. To be honest, some of them are just terrible jobs, and I’d be really irritated if those who are replaced get put onto welfare and given beach cottages while the ‘lucky few’ have to keep working these jobs because someone wasn’t smart enough to build a robot or machine to replace them!

Gizmodo suggests that these are safe jobs…. (frankly you can keep the ones on this list)

  • Human Advisers — somebody like Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, whose job is to tell Mark Zuckerberg that he’s not going into meetings to show how smart he is, but to cut deals
  • Decision Makers — apparently robots will need these decision-making humans to help them come to the right decision, as they won’t be smart enough to do some of them on their own
  • Quality Assurance — while robots will be really smart at creating only humans will be able to assess and assure whether humans will like what’s been created

Tech Insider suggests three jobs robots aren’t going to be replacing any times soon….

  • Teachers — because robots won’t be able to understand or relate to kids. Who are they kidding? Teachers, parents, adults and even kids don’t understand kids and mostly don’t relate very well to them currently.
  • Police — apparently there aren’t many smart people out there who foresee robots and machines replacing police women and men anytime soon. Perhaps things will be different in South Africa as I’m convinced that even current robot technology could outperform, and certainly outrun many of our police officers. Of course, there are the many exceptions who will still be kept on.
  • Management — The Tech Insider article goes on to say that jobs that entail personnel or motivational leadership have security. Surely not? Of all the jobs they could have chosen to declare secure, I’m certain this can’t be one of them. Um no. There’s been a mistake here. The only rationale I can think of is that Personnel and Motivational leadership managers paid for this study, and the researcher’s invoice hadn’t been paid by the time the report was ready.

And finally, Robotics Trends has a stab at naming 10 jobs that are secure from the clutches of robots and machines…..

  • Computer Systems Analysts
  • Medical Scientist
  • School Psychologist
  • Elementary School Teacher
  • Dietitian and Nutritionist
  • Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon
  • Physician and Surgeon
  • Dentist
  • Occupational Therapist
  • Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Worker

So there you have it. We’re possibly heading to a future in which 47% of jobs are at risk of being replaced in the next 20 years by machines and robots, and the safe ones aren’t terribly interesting. The real question we should be asking is what happens in 20 years? Will there be new industries that pop up with new job opportunities, or will the world be faced with an unemployment crisis like we’ve never imagined?