Are robots going to take over your job?

By Shanaaz Prince
29 January 2016

According to The World Economic Forum, automation and robots will take over 5,1 million jobs by 2020.

Machines now do our laundry, wash our dishes and make us coffee -- with the growth of technology, there's no doubt life has become easier.

Of course, there's a flip-side to this kind of automation. Could technological advances render you irrelevant? Unfortunately, this is no longer just the stuff of sci-fi thrillers.

According to The World Economic Forum (WEF), automation and robots will take over 5,1 million jobs within the next five years.

"We are on the cusp of a Fourth Industrial Revolution," WEF founder Klaus Schwab and managing board member Richard Samans said in  their recently released report, The Future of Jobs.

"To prevent a worst-case scenario," researchers advised, "reskilling and upskilling of today's workers will be critical.

"While much has been said about the need for reform in basic education, it is simply not possible to weather the current technological revolution by waiting for the next generation's workforce to become better prepared."

Women are more at risk, as the fairer sex are more likely to hold jobs in areas such as sales, office and administration, the report found.

They concluded that jobs will be lost in every industry, but energy and financial  and healthcare services could be worst hit.

For example, this year Japanese IT company NTT Dataa will release a small robot called Sota to help elderly people in care homes.

The talking bot will be able to interact with the residents as well as control their lights, check their blood pressure and remind them of when to take their pills -- much like a nurse or carer would do.

In 2013 Oxford University conducted an extensive study into the matter. Researchers looked at nine key skills to perform over 700 job descriptions and calculated the likelihood of a computer taking over that job.

In the resultant report, The Future of Employment: How susceptible are jobs to automation, researchers rated a number of variables for each job, rating them from low to medium and high. The lower the variable, the more likely the job is to be taken over by robots in the future.

In simple terms, a low variable would be the ability to screw in a light bulb, medium would be packing oranges into a crate as quickly as possible and high would involve performing open-heart surgery.

Worried that your job might be at risk? These jobs come out as the most likely to be automated (98 -- 99%)

  • Hosts and Hostesses, Restaurant, Lounge, and Coffee Shop
  • Models
  • Inspectors, Testers, Sorters, Samplers, and Weighers
  • Bookkeeping, Accounting, and Auditing Clerks
  • Legal Secretaries
  • Radio Operators
  • Driver/Sales Workers
  • Claims Adjusters, Examiners, and Investigators
  • Parts Salespersons
  • Credit Analysts
  • Milling and Planing Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders, Metal and Plastic
  • Shipping, Receiving, and Traffic Clerks
  • Procurement Clerks
  • Packaging and Filling Machine Operators and Tenders
  • Etchers and Engravers
  • Tellers
  • Umpires, Referees, and Other Sports Officials
  • Insurance Appraisers, Auto Damage
  • Loan Officers
  • Order Clerks
  • Brokerage Clerks
  • Insurance Claims and Policy Processing Clerks
  • Timing Device Assemblers and Adjusters
  • Data Entry Keyers
  • Library Technicians
  • New Accounts Clerks
  • Photographic Process Workers and Processing Machine Operators
  • Tax Preparers  Cargo and Freight Agents
  • Watch Repairers
  • Insurance Underwriters
  • Mathematical Technicians
  • Sewer workers
  • Title Examiners, Abstractors, and Searchers
  • Telemarketers

Preschool teachers, makeup artists, doctors, dentists and supervisors in many industries were regarded as some of the safer professions.

See the full list here.


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