What Jobs Are in Danger of Being Obsolete

Updated on October 6, 2017
jackclee lm profile image

Jack is currently a volunteer at the Westchester County Archives. Jack has worked at IBM for over 28 years.

Recently, I read that a new machine was invented to make dumplings. This is a professional model that will help some restaurant beat the competition. It turns out making dumplings is something of a lost art. Restaurant owners cannot find enough good workers to make dumplings. This got me thinking: what other jobs or professions will be obsolete due to automation and robotics?

- Sept. 2017

Machines Could Replace Whole Workplace Sectors

Robotics and automation have been around for a long time. Many assembly lines are filled with these machines which are very good at making repetitive motions and never make a mistake. The new artificial intelligence software has added a new level of sophistication; machines can perform a complete function that used to be performed by a human being. This is a game changer. This means some group's employment is in jeopardy.

If a machine can replace a whole work force, what will the people do? Can they be re-trained for some other profession? These have economic implications as well as social and psychological impact.

We probably all seen the movie "Robocop", where a future city decided to replace their police force with a robot. These machines are suppose to be better and programmed to uphold the law while protecting the innocent and arrest the criminal elements.

What about the human element? There are many jobs that are not easily programmed. It depends on human interaction. The worker has to be able to interact with customers of all sorts and be able to adapt on the fly to various situations that may arise.

Another recent developmemt is in retail stores where they are replacing checkout personnels with self scanning kiosks. Since all the items are barcoded, it is just as easy for the customer to scan his own items and pay with credit cards all without a cashier.

It is obvious that there can be some savings when a job can be elliminated. There will be one less payroll, and benefits and employee issues to deal with. A machine will work around the clock and never complaint or go on strike.

What Jobs Are Candidates For Replacement?

  • Cashiers at retail stores: replaced by self-scanning kiosk
  • Toll collectors: replaced by EZ-Pass
  • Sweepers: replaced by iRobot vacuums
  • Bank tellers: replaced by ATM machines
  • Delivery people: replaced by drones
  • Garbage collector: replaced by trucks with automated lifts
  • baker: replaced by bread-maker machine

Some Jobs at Riak on the Horizon...

Recent advances in technology have put additional pressure on the human job market. Here are a few innovations that could be game changers.

  • self-driving trucks
  • self-driving cars
  • sexbots
  • robotic doctors
  • robotic pilots

Some Jobs Are Safe

Fortunately for us humans, there are still plenty of jobs that only humans can perform. These involve creativity and artistic input such as writer, cartoonist, painter, musician, artist, photographer, programmer, or chef.

What do these professions have in common? They require creativity that cannot be easily programmed. They also interact with people and respond to requests.

Oddly enough, customer service is another area where a human is better. People still like to interact with other people. When you call up to file a complaint or resolve an issues, you want to talk to a person who may have some sympathy for your troubles.

In sports, a personal trainer or a coach is also very hard to replace. He or she has a personal relationship with the client. Even if a robot could perform all the functions, the person may still prefer another person to talk or share.


Artificial Intelligence is here. We are warned that it will take over the world, including our jobs. I am a skeptic. These projections are ususally too optimistic. The humans have one advantage. They can adapt to any and all situations. Also, more importantly, people needs people.

© 2017 Jack Lee


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Jay C OBrien profile image

      Jay C OBrien 5 months ago from Houston, TX USA

      Not all families are good at home care, it depends upon the family... if there is one.

    • jackclee lm profile image

      Jack Lee 5 months ago from Yorktown NY

      The best home care is provided by family members.

    • profile image

      Tinyrain 5 months ago

      The tender caring touch or voice of a professional nurse that has the passion to provide care, I dont see that profession going anywhere anytime soon, plus no one wants to do this job any more

    • profile image

      Tamara Moore 6 months ago

      Me, too, and it sort of scares me. This is an exceptional article, BTW.

    • jackclee lm profile image

      Jack Lee 6 months ago from Yorktown NY

      No problem... all comments are welcome.

      Personally, I am very suspicious of any jobs being replaced by machines.

    • profile image

      Tamara Moore 6 months ago

      Oops, I am sorry. I saw this on the Feed, and mistakenly thought it was Jay's post due to his comment I saw.

    • profile image

      Tamara Moore 6 months ago

      I am so thankful for Peace Officers. We need all of them we can get! Thank you, Jay, for being a Peace Officer. Peace comes from ones availability within their God-Given heart, thus, they cannot be replaced by robots. Never!

    • Jay C OBrien profile image

      Jay C OBrien 6 months ago from Houston, TX USA

      Wait a minute, I am a retired Peace Officer. You cannot replace me with a robot. Robots are for repetitive or hazardous work. The work of a Peace Officer is largely based on judgment and diplomacy. If the situation gets really hazardous, the officer could call for backup and have a remote control robot take over.

      I do not think a robot could take the place of a doctor, but only assist.

      AI cars, trucks and cabs, I am in favor of... if it can be done safely. There has to be a secondary system in the vehicle to avoid accidents such as radar.

    • jackclee lm profile image

      Jack Lee 6 months ago from Yorktown NY

      breakfastpop, agreed. The key to making good dumplings is making the stuffing...I have bought some store made frozen dumplings...and somehow, they are just not as good.

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 6 months ago

      When I read that there is a shortage of expert dumpling makers, my heart skipped a beat. I adore dumplings, and I want human talented hands making them!

    • Coffeequeeen profile image

      Louise Powles 6 months ago from Norfolk, England

      Yes, technology seems to be taking over these days and making a lot of peoples jobs obsolete. It's a shame, but that's the world we live in now I'm afraid.