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Historically, technology has already dealt a fatal blow to several trades and positions, such as in factories. But, are robots and artificial intelligence making more jobs at risk than ever before?
Robots Already Run Factories Worldwide
Factories have been reducing their workforces for decades. Despite having fewer workers, these companies have unprecedented growth. By replacing humans — who need safety measures, breaks, health insurance, and vacation days—with robots that require little more than a power source and occasional maintenance, factories became highly productive.
The move to automated workers is now creeping into other fields, such as inventory and warehousing, and even retail.
A.I. Is Making “Thinking Jobs” Vulnerable
The biggest recent encroachment into the human employment areas is seen in the growing field of data analytics. Big data is providing all sorts of insights for businesses to increase efficiency =— translation, make more money. But it’s not a bunch of people crunching those numbers, but programs.
From cybersecurity to financial analysis, artificial intelligence and machine learning are taking over tech jobs. This development is a lot scarier than fast food workers becoming obsolete; it’s almost like no one even paid attention to important lessons of “The Matrix” or “Terminator.”
Jobs Needing Human Touch Are Safe…For Now
Luckily, though, robots are really bad at making people feel safe and comfortable. Teachers, doctors, social workers, police officers — these are all jobs that cannot be possibly be handled by robots, right?
For now, it seems that these positions are safe. But it’s not too far-fetched to envision a robot teaching our kids, or talking us through life’s problems.
There is one other perspective to the increase in automation across most employment fields. If robots can do all of our work, can we envision a society where no one has to work? Proponents of a basic income believe that is the direction we are heading. Just make sure we remember to keep an eye on the robots when they gather to commiserate about doing our dirty work.