Technology has always replaced the jobs that humans don’t want to do, and in the end this makes life easier. Estimates say that by 2025, nearly 25% of the jobs people do now will be replaced by robots or other technology. Keep in mind, this does not mean 25% of the current working world will be out of a job. It means that new kinds of jobs will exist. When a car replaced a horse for transportation, cars provided millions of more jobs. Smart phones led to a tech revolution and millions of new jobs in the tech field.
The following are 9 jobs that will likely be replaced in the future, and done by robots.
Surgery, much like driving, has a human element to the work. A human element that if screwed up has severe life-altering consequences. Fortunately for surgery, the people doing it are the top of the top as far as human ability. Surgeons also provide a high-degree of knowledge and critical quick-thinking that may be difficult for a robot to replace.
It is inevitable that common surgeries will be replaced by robots, and some, such as Lasik eye surgery, have a degree of robotics involved. There are machine based surgeries being performed right now, however much like humans, they have not yet been proven to be fail-safe.
2) Mail Delivery
This is another industry that has begun to take huge steps toward an automated system operated by robots. However, the mail delivery centers around the world can take a brief sigh of relief. The future of mail delivery is likely in drones. It will be much like a Jetsons’ type of future with bubbled-drones flying every which way and delivering mail and packages directly to your doorstep.
UPS made headlines recently by announcing the coming future of UPS delivery. Once all the bugs have been worked out, it is likely that other key players in package delivery such as Amazon, USPS, and Fed-Ex will be quickly on board.
Those bugs by the way, are not necessarily in the technology, but rather the logistics of such a massive project. In addition, with national security issues a hot topic among politicians, the federal approval (FAA, Interstate Commerce, NSA) is likely decades away. I’d guess you’ll be flying your own car before drones are delivering mail.
The military is already working on robotic soldiers who would essentially do the grunt work of our men and women in the field. This is important for many reasons, however outside of protecting our soldiers, a robotic military provides a distinct advantage on the battle ground and in securing our borders, and assisting our allies.
While this would likely mean downsizing our military personnel, that has been a political discussion for decades and would be nothing new. The biggest concern, of course, would be in having the ability to fully control an army of robots that has intuitive technology, or preventing hackers from turning the army against us.
The technologies are already in place for much of the military, as self-guided missiles, fighter jets, drones, and a variety of self-controlled equipment are providing military assistance throughout the world.
Traditionally jobs that deal with humanity, and quick change are felt to be “safe”. That is it is hard to conceive that robots will ever have the ability to think they way humans do and provide the humanly touch we so desire. For many years it was thought journalists would survive the technology plunge. In fact, as technology had improved in the last twenty years there are more writers and journalists than ever.
So, how would robots replace them? Well, you may not know this but many articles you already read are being written by robots. There are a handful of companies who provide software that can take a stack of data and turn it into a readable article. Right now, much of this happens in statistic-laden subjects such as sports and investing. This is also very common in story rewrites, where a program can take 10 stories covering the same event and rewrite that story to make a new one. These systems are still in their infancy; however, it won’t be long before the majority of what you read was written by a software program. This doesn’t mean journalism as we know it is going away, but it does mean that the scope of a journalist’s work will change. You are likely to find a more generic form of writing for covering basic news, while stories requiring a human element will become a larger focus for writers of the future.
5) Taxi Driver
We have been waiting for flying cars for decades, and when we are on the cusp of having them, scientists go and make driverless cars. It is clear that in the near future taxis will be replaced by robots. Driverless cars exist, are on roads and have even stepped through some of the political obstacles and legalese needed to drive on roads.
Admittedly, there are a lot of benefits for driverless taxis. One, is safety. By taking the human element out of driving you invariably take out the recklessness of drivers—drunk drivers, texting, singing and day-dreaming. The second, benefit is likely efficiency. A driverless car and a robust GPS system can get you from point A to point B much quicker than a human driver. The car will not only know where the current traffic jams and accidents are, but will likely be programmed with safe guards and short-cuts.
6) Sports Official
Officiating athletic games is one of the most difficult jobs someone can have. Regardless if you are right or wrong, if you make a call in a critical game or match you will be hated by fans of the losing call.
If you look at sports such as tennis, matches have been officiated with both technology and dozens of line judges and an official. In fact, when a player challenges a call, the chair umpire goes to the robot cam to see exactly if the ball was in or out. Sports with clear guidelines such as tennis and racing will inevitably go to automated officiating. However, contact sports with rules around fouls such as basketball, football and baseball will likely move to a dual-officiating practice. For example, the strike zone may be monitored by a robot, while that slide-tackle into second will be an umpires call.
The entire role of the pharmacist will not be replaced by a robot, however, there are certainly aspects of the job which will be performed by a robot. For example, and this does exist, you enter your prescription into your account. A robot reads that prescription, grabs a bottle, and sends the bottle down a line that precisely fills the order, closes the cap, bags it and delivers it to you at the counter. This is likely the future of picking up a prescription.
It is also likely that touch screen monitors will play a bigger role in providing information to prescription users on side-effects, dosage and other information your pharmacist provides. In addition, over-the-counter information and suggestions will be provided by a database with doctor and consumer reviews.
While walking up to a counter with a pharmacist may eventually be replaced with robots, pharmacists have nothing to worry about, as research and pharmaceuticals will likely be in high demand for a long time.
Many of you reading this have already used, and probably prefer, a self-serve checkout line at the grocery or department store. Once we figured out how to use those finicky scanners, and track down a store employee for help, those lines move fast. This is great for those of us who don’t want to go through the pleasantries of a talkative cashier. Then, of course, the shoplifters figured out that stores are smart enough to not simply let you walk out the door without paying for merchandise. Security monitors those lanes more than any other part of the store.
Self-checkout lines are growing in number, and it won’t be too long before the job of cashier is phased out. Although, what this provides is a store than can manage multiple lines with one cashier to monitor, and plenty of people to keep inventory stocked and clean. It’s a win-win.