Will Robots Take My Job? The Future of Robots at Work

Updated on September 30, 2018
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Katy mentors young professionals beginning their careers and financial journeys to make informed decisions.

Will Automation Take My Job?

New technology is rapidly changing the work we do. As tech automates more tasks the concern over losing jobs rises. Most people want to know: will robots take my job? What they are really asking is: will automation take my job?
The future of technology is hard to predict. But by looking at current technologies we can find tasks that robots will take soon. Occupations that use these tasks can expect to change in a big way.

How Will Robots Replace Jobs?

In order for robots to replace a job two things need to happen:

  1. The robot will have to perform all tasks carried out by that job.
  2. The businesses, legislation and market need to allow robots.

Those developing robotics only focus on the first hurdle. But for disrupting tech like self-driving cars or robot teachers it's the second item that stands in the way.

Tasks Automated by Existing Technology

To find jobs at risk of disappearing let's look at tasks automation can handle. What are tasks performed in today's workforce that can be automated?

  • Invoice Matching
  • Speech Recognition
  • Data Processing
  • Repetitive Manufacturing Tasks

Do You Think Your Job Will Be Taken By Robots?

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Jobs Robots Will Take Before 2030

What jobs will robots replace in the next ten years? These are jobs that perform tasks we can already automate.

Accounts Payable

Matching invoices to purchase orders will soon be a thing of the past. Software can scan documents and make connections faster and more reliably than humans.
Does that mean all accountants are out of work? Of course not. This means that their work will shift. Instead of paperwork they will be finding patterns and making decisions. The software will free up their time and give them more data to make better decisions.

Customer Service

Improved speech recognition will mean a change for customer service jobs.
Software is getting better and better at understanding human language. Think about the evolution of voice assistants like Alexa, Cortana and Google Assistant. Technology can already solve our problems by listening to our voices.
Businesses that use computers for representatives will meet customers' needs immediately. Stores and services that continue to use only human reps will fall behind.
The remaining human jobs will be for the outlying cases requiring creativity. IBM predicts 85% of customer service interactions will be handled without humans by 2020 [1]. Technology can't automate the other 15% of interactions yet.

Administration

Automation will handle most administrative tasks. Why have an imperfect person enter data and set up meetings when robots can do it for us? When robots handle boring tasks like writing reports humans can be more effective.

Manufacturing

The manufacturing sectors has been using robotics since the 1970s [2]. Computing power, robotic advances and the Internet of Things (IoT) are changing things even faster. This means robots can replace human tasks even more efficiently than before.There are specific manufacturing tasks robots haven't learned yet. Manufacturing companies bring in "cobots" to help human workers with repetitive or dangerous tasks.

Manufacturing jobs will look very different in the future but might not disappear entirely.
Manufacturing jobs will look very different in the future but might not disappear entirely. | Source

Jobs Robots will Take in the Future

Technology that already exists can replace many of today's occupations. We’re just missing the infrastructure to adopt them. Businesses and society first need to embrace their use. This makes it more difficult to predict when these jobs will start disappearing. But we can expect these jobs to vanish in the near future:

  • Taxi/Uber/Lyft Drivers
  • Receptionists
  • Retail Sales

Car Drivers

When self-driving cars are truly adopted by the public then car drivers will be out of work. The first driving occupation hit by this will be truck drivers. Commercial vehicles have fewer obstacles and more to gain by automation.

Receptionists

Automating admin tasks will at first give receptionists more time for customer service. But the public will become more comfortable interacting with robots for customer service. Businesses may phase out the need for a human face in their reception area.

Retail Sales

We know chat bots will replace humans in most customer service interactions. But people will still want to talk to a human in store when shopping for a while.Brick and mortar stores will look to automation to compete with online stores and a part of that will be smart, and more robotic, sales reps.

Learn More About The Future of Robots in Work

[1] IBM - 10 reasons why AI-powered, automated customer service is the future. 2018. https://www.ibm.com/blogs/watson/2017/10/10-reasons-ai-powered-automated-customer-service-future/

[2] Robotics Business Review - How Manufacturing Automation Is Evolving. 2018. https://www.roboticsbusinessreview.com/manufacturing/how-manufacturing-automation-is-evolving/

Questions & Answers

    © 2018 Katy Medium

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      • SgtCecil profile image

        Cecil Kenmill 

        12 days ago from Osaka, Japan

        The march of progress is the march of profit. It cannot and it will not be stopped. After my discharge from the Army, I got a job in CS. A couple years later, I walked into the office one day and saw my coworkers cleaning out their desks. Only myself and my boss were spared because we wore more than one hat for the company. The rest of our team was replaced by ZenDesk. If a robot doesn't replace your job, SaaS will. Enjoy the rest of your day!

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