The quick answer is, it depends on what your job is. If you are doing something creative, such as if you are a singer, a musician, a graphic designer, or a visual artist, it seems highly unlikely that a machine could take your place.
The same is true for problem-solvers or troubleshooters, such as a production foreman at a manufacturing plant. Machines may work faster than any human worker but when things go wrong, a robot cannot think of a possible solution.
If you’re a hairdresser, a therapist, a caretaker, a social worker, or a teacher, or your role requires understanding human emotions, your job should be safe from robots for now.
However, if your job involves doing repetitive tasks by hand, then you may have cause to worry because if they haven’t at this point, robots may take over your job.
What Jobs Can Robots Do Better than Humans?
Robots are very good at performing repetitive tasks. And they do so without getting bored or tired nor slowing down with consistent quality. So if your job, for example, is to tighten nuts and bolts on a ship, which you have to do eight hours a day, five days a week, a robot would probably do a better job than you.
Another thing robots are good at is calculating numbers. They’re also great at working with complex calculations. And they do so at lightning speed and amazing accuracy. If your job, for instance, is handling financial data and volumes and volumes of them at that, then you need to realize that robots can do that in the blink of an eye.
Robots are also better than humans in dangerous situations. Examples of these include working deep underwater, amid extremely hot or cold temperatures, or in a hostile environment as in wartorn countries or nations in conflict.
What Jobs Are Robots Already Doing?
Robots are already in our midst. We see them working in manufacturing assembly lines where so-called “collaborative robots or cobots” are employed. Some cobots already tend to farms and livestock. Chatbots, in turn, are keeping customers engaged by chatting with them online. Robots are also operating vehicles, managing warehouses, and even keeping homes clean.
Why Do Companies Replace People with Robots?
Robots cost less to maintain over time, they’re efficient and commit fewer errors than humans, and they never throw a tantrum. These are all valid company considerations (at least from a business perspective), and they always go with what is better for their bottom line.
But Should I Worry about Robots Taking Over My Job?
It’s a natural human reaction to be afraid of losing your livelihood and be thrust into a situation where you are uncertain about your future. But if you can adapt and reinvent yourself and create value in other areas, then you need not worry. You may lose your income source temporarily, but that should never make you feel you lost value. As long as you can provide value in other ways, you will always be gainfully employed.
Also, remember that even though machines and artificial intelligence (AI) are probably going to change people’s jobs, at the end of the day, humans will be provided with more time to focus on creation and strategy rather than repetitive tasks. Plus, robots don’t have empathy. They don’t and probably won’t understand such concepts as customer journey, for example. That means people will still be in charge of creating experiences for customers and understanding and interpreting their needs.
What Can I Do to Make Sure I Don’t Lose My Job to a Robot?
Sit down, take a deep breath, and start thinking about what new skills you can learn so that you can continue to be of value to the job market. A life of continuous learning could be your ticket out of the jobocalypse! Also, to put things in perspective, think about this: In the last 60 years or so, only one job in the U.S. has been taken over by a machine—elevator operation.
Do you still think you need to fret too much about this?
What Are Jobs Robots Can’t Do?
To end this on a good note, here are some jobs robots can’t do.
- Graphic design: While robots are good at identifying objects and copying them, they lack the creativity to develop unique designs that follow the requirements set by clients. Robots can’t be taught to emphasize or inject humor into their designs. As such, graphic design jobs will always require humans.
- Software development: Software developers do more than just coding. They conceptualize the software product being developed and solve problems that may arise during development, among other complex jobs. Robots can write simple codes and fix common bugs, but they still can’t do a software developer’s complicated tasks.
- Creative writing: One of the things that are difficult to teach robots is creativity. While they can form simple sentences or paragraphs and correct common spelling and grammatical mistakes, robots can’t come up with unique storylines.
- Practicing law: Critical thinking and interactive communication skills are crucial abilities that may take lawyers years to master. It’s too difficult to imagine robots effectively defending people during legal proceedings.
- C-suite leadership: People who hold executive-level roles are strategists, and this requires critical thinking, which may be challenging to teach robots. C-suites also have excellent people management skills, which require them to empathize with different types of people.
In general, jobs that require empathy, creativity, and critical thinking are difficult for robots to do. We can give them the mundane parts of these jobs, but the core responsibilities would still require the human element.