Politicians behind the tidal wave of minimum wage hikes sweeping the nation from the West Coast to East Coast cities tend to forget one rather important fact: there are workers who, after an upfront financial outlay, will work for nothing. They are automated.
President Obama once blamed ATMs for reducing job opportunities, but we don’t see Rosey the Robot as quite that kind of threat: somebody, you see, will have to build Rosey and keep her in parts. With increased automation, some jobs are lost, while others are created. However, it is something you might want to think about.
Half way for fun, I’ve been playing with a new calculator created by NPR. It claims to predict whether a computer is likely to make your role redundant. According to the NPR calculator, jobs such as being a waiter or waitress in a restaurant or a telemarketer are most likely to be vulnerable to replacement by robots. Waiters and waitresses have a 93.7 percent chance of being automated and retail sales people face a 92.3 percent chance. Retail managers, by contrast, only have a 27.9 percent chance.
Those with social science degrees may have stronger job security than accountants. There’s hope for those with sociology degrees after all! Sociologists have a 5.9 percent chance of being automated. Marriage and family therapists have a 1.4 percent chance of being automated. Clergy even lower at less than 1 percent and clinical counseling and school psychologists have a 0.5 percent chance. No percentage point for bloggers.
Creativity trumps numbers crunching, according to the calculator. Even where numbers are involved adding human servicing in the role makes a difference, so financial managers have a 6.9 percent chance of being automated, as compared with a tax preparers, who have a 98.7 percent chance of being replaced by a robot. The latter is no surprise when we consider the popularity of online tax preparation services such as TurboTax.
On the subject of automation in the workplace, Daily Mail reports:
Researchers examined 702 jobs, picking out skills essential to roles such as creativity and dexterity, to work out whether robots could replace humans.
The calculator also says legal assistants and models are at high risk of losing their jobs, at 94.5 per cent and 97.6 per cent respectively Fast Company reported.
Brands such as Burberry and Forever 21 have already used holographic models on the catwalk to showcase their clothes in a new way.
According to the calculator, waiters and waitresses have a 94 per cent chance of being replaced by robots.
The process is already happening with robotic waitresses serving diners in cafes in China, as well as helping to cook food too.
A restaurant in Jiangsu Province, China, is staffed by 15 droids that carry food to tables, while a hotel that's opening in Japan next month will be staffed by 10 eerily lifelike robots.
A top US general responsible for shaping the military of the future has revealed that robots could make up a quarter of the army within the next few decades.
According to the original study, which was published two years ago, certain factors decrease the likelihood of robots replacing humans at work.
For example, people whose jobs involve helping others, such as occupational therapists, are unlikely to be replaced by computers, at 0.3 per cent.
While the study doesn’t suggest a timeline for a mechanical takeover, it suggests that jobs in production and office administration will be the first to be predominantly done by machines.
Service, sales and construction jobs will probably be taken over next.
While President Obama and his Administration like to tout the falling unemployment rate, the trend in job creation post-recession has been in retail, food services, and hospitality. These are low-skill and low-wage jobs which we see are on the frontlines of being replaced by automation, and companies are likely to speed up the process of automation if government regulation of wages and every other aspect of doing business prices human beings out of the market.