14 jobs that are quickly being replaced by robots

Published: Thursday, Sept. 26 2013 11:54 p.m. MDT


Industry has a long history of benefiting from technological progress. From the spinning jenny to the personal computer, machines have not only made production and distribution easier, but cheaper, too.

But industry’s love affair with faster and cheaper ways to produce goods has its downsides. Since the earliest days of the industrial revolution, workers in every field have feared a more efficient machine would one day replace their jobs. Machines, after all, don’t ask for raises and can be discarded the moment they cease to be useful.

That fear has once again peaked its head, as is shown in authors David H. Autor and David Dorn’s New York Times article, “How technology wrecks the middle class.”

“Have we mechanized and computerized ourselves into obsolescence?” they ask. Autor and Dorn’s study explores how quickly advancing technology may not threaten everyone’s job, but it does appear to be responsible for increasing wage inequality.

Machines, they argue, typically only replace more menial jobs that require less education and therefore only negatively affect those who either can’t afford — or don’t qualify for — college or other technical training programs.

Oxford University researchers Carl Frey and Michael Osborne, however, believe there is reason to fear that even many jobs that Americans believe are exempt from robot takeovers are in danger of being mechanized.

“Algorithms for big data are now rapidly entering domains reliant upon pattern recognition and can readily substitute for labor in a wide range of non-routine cognitive tasks,” they wrote Tuesday in an article for Quartz.

“Those working in fields such as administration could once feel comfortable that a computer would never be able to do their job,” they continued. “But that will no longer be the case for many.”

Or, as Isaac Asimov wrote in his famous collection of short stories, "I, Robot," “Only the machines, from now on, are inevitable."

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The Rock
Federal Way, WA

As an automation / equipment engineer, I can confirm that many companies that formerly considered it too expensive to automate their production are now considering doing so.


Obama Care.

There You Go Again
Saint George, UT

@the pebble

As an automation/equipment engineer who has the time to make comments during business hours, the owner of your company should seriously consider replacing you with a robot who does not take time at work to read the newspaper and make on-line comments.

one old man
Ogden, UT

The pebble -- love that!

Turn off the radio. Overdosing on the blatherings of Ted Cruz and his poodle, Mike Lee, is dangerous for one's mental health.

Chris from Rose Park
Hartford, CT

@There You Go Again

Why not just assume that The Rock is on a break, taking lunch, or even has not yet gone into work yet? No need to knit-pick the comment.

St.George, UT

I like how you think these things are around the corner. If a computer is autonomous and crashes someone has to pay for the crash, and the accountability of the crash in the courts.How often do machines malfunction?
Machine learning is in it infancy and can't understand context, or even translate a language correctly on google translate. The machine can't compete with many things of the human machine like context, and symbolism, and reasoning, and cultural understanding. Of course some think machines will lead to structured unemployment; I think like globalization it will lead to humans doing jobs they do best.
The Elephant was shot by the man in the park. Who shot who with what software?

Omaha, NE

I once heard that in the future we will only have two jobs. Computer programing and fixing robots. I don't believe it as I know there will always be those will to pay for the best artists and performers. But I certainly wonder about the rest of the jobs.

Teachers, Farmers, Plumbers, all are on the chopping blocks eventually if we chose so.

Salt Lake City, UT

IMO machines will not replace competent people regardless of the "soft ware". Machines will enable people to produce more goods or expand services.

Machines or robots have helped make goods cheaper, more accurately and of higher quality but there is a human behind the machine. Why? Because the machine will encounter a problem that it cannot solve or resolve. And, machines need to be serviced.

It is true that changes in lifestyles and market place will change man's interaction with machines. Robots are machines.

I do not like self check-out as the machine does not know how to rectify an error, albeit human caused, without calling for a human to re-set the machine. The benefit i.e. Obama-Care issue is man-made and is man solvable.

county mom
Monroe, UT

Is anyone else totally horrified by the prospect of machines raising children?

Is it not bad enough that children are being raised immorally, that we need to find a way to raise them amorally?

Actually Hitler tried to do this and all the children died!

Babies, little ones need love, a warm body to hug them and some human contact.

Hours of sitting around with a machine will create even more serial killers and mentally ill mass murders!
Kind of like the last 3 mass murderers who were addicted to video and online violent games!

Pleasant Grove, UT

"...making it easier to imagine a world with less and less people actually behind the wheel."

Where is the journalist robot when we need it? By eighth grade, a competent writer should understand that the phrase here should have been "making it easier to imagine a world with fewer and fewer people actually behind the wheel." Less and fewer are not interchangeable.

george of the jungle
goshen, UT

Sheesh, dream on. When I was in the military in the early 70's, the rummer was, that lazier guns was expected to replace the M16. I have my doubts that I'll see the stuff in my life time.

Salt lake city, UT

Wow. How is this even considered news? Clearly you have no idea how software works, or the fundamental challenges in computer science to make half of your list even remotely possible. Good on ya, deseret news.

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