If you’re a working person, you probably already know that you’re not indispensable. There’s always someone coming up behind you on the ladder, with newer skills and lower salary expectations. In the future, however, you might not be competing solely with other humans. Jobs ranging from cleaning person to airline pilot could be taken over by robotics, reports Mashable, citing an Oxford Research prediction that 45 percent of U.S. jobs could be computer-automated by 2033.
(Photo Credit: John Greenaway/Flickr)
Other jobs that could be replaced by robots include nurse, teacher, and sales clerk. Many of occupations already have pilot programs in place to replace them with robots, like the SaviOne hotel concierge at the Aloft Hotel in Cupertino, California, and Pibot, a humanoid robot with arms, legs, and a head developed by South Korea’s Advanced Institute of Science and Technology to fly a plane into dangerous situations.
While a certain amount of automation might have benefits for mankind, including quality control and safer work environments for humans, the downside is a possible increase in the unemployment rate. In their report, Deloitte and the University of Oxford note that 10 million U.K. jobs could disappear, putting millions of people in low-paid, repetitive positions out of work. The occupations most at risk are administration, sales, transportation, and construction jobs. More secure jobs appear to be computer science and engineering, law-related positions, and health care.
A comparable report from Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael Osborne, The Future of Employment: How Susceptible Are Jobs to Computerisation?, estimates that 47 percent of U.S. employment is at risk of automation, so this is in no way solely a European problem. It seems that parents everywhere are likely to continue to advise their kids: “Go to school and become a lawyer or a doctor.”
On a brighter note, robotics has positive applications for humans, such as automated helpers for children with learning and developmental disabilities. It may be under two feet tall, but some say NAO could qualify as a teaching assistant. Aldebaran, the French technology company that created NAO, designed it to be an educational tool and has had success where other teachers have failed at holding the attention of students with disorders such as autism, pervasive developmental, and seizure disorders. Socializing and other human interaction can be a challenge for these students and working with a robot helps them learn.
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