One of the pervading fears many people share is that some time in the future, their job will be replaced by a machine. Studies have revealed that this fear is far from unfounded. Researchers from the University of Oxford have predicted that nearly half of all jobs within the US will be taken over by computers by the year 2033. But this isn’t some future problem that people should be preparing for now. In many cases, it has either already happened, or it’s in the process of happening at this very moment. The following are just a few of the jobs that machines have made or are making obsolete.
Perhaps the most well-known example of machines taking over, the vast majority of the populations used to be farmers many decades ago. With the use of mechanization, the need for so many people to farm the land steadily decreased. Now farmers can produce a lot more food per square acre, and less personnel is needed to do it. Advances in technology will only expand upon this revolution.
- Phone Operators
Many companies still utilize call centers, even if they’re located outside of the country. However, many organizations have switched to automated systems that have customers talking to a pre-programmed voice. Many customers aren’t exactly fans of this impersonal approach, but when companies don’t have to pay phone operators, many will focus on the savings.
Many businesses are making the switch from a flesh and blood cashier to a self-service machine. Think of the last time you went to the grocery store and how many self-checkout machines there were. Many customers actually like doing the work themselves, especially when they only have a few items. Self-service machines are spreading, while the number of cashiers are declining.
- Bank Tellers
Related to the problems cashiers are facing, many bank tellers are quickly finding their roles replaced by machines. ATMs are, of course, the most obvious example of this, but the rise in popularity of online banking and mobile apps have made the traditional bank teller a dying breed.
- Travel Agents
Decades ago, when you wanted to book a detailed trip abroad, you’d need to go through a travel agent. With online travel sites like Expedia and Travelocity taking off, suddenly there’s not as much need for travel agents. Travelers can book all their flights, hotels, and special events with relative ease at a lower cost.
At the same time, many customers rarely interact with salespeople these days. This is especially true because many people don’t even step into brick and mortar stores anymore. Online shopping has bypassed the need to talk with salespeople. Even more interesting is that customers can become more informed about certain products and services by doing their own research online.
- Mail Carriers
Blame the widespread use of email for the decline of mail carriers. It’s no secret that the number of mail carrier has diminished rapidly in the last couple of decades, and postal services all over the world have had financial struggles. These services probably won’t go away completely, but most people just use email these days.
This may sound surprising, but it’s true that pharmacists could one day be replaced by robots. The beginning stages are already occurring. The UCSF Medical Center has begun a completely automated pharmacy at two hospitals. With medical orders provided by doctors, medical records saved on software defined storage, and access to other files, robotic pharmacists have prepared hundreds of thousands of doses without a single error.
- Financial and Sports Reporters
Even journalists aren’t saved from the use of machines and robots. Reporters that mainly relay facts, like company earning reports or sporting events are slowly being replaced by automated technology. The Associated Press is already experimenting with the concept, and the reports products have been virtually error-free.
The work of a paralegal can be time-consuming and tedious at times. Thanks to new software, documents can be analyzed and reviewed at a blistering pace, effectively eliminating one of the main tasks paralegals conduct. The software can also work at any hour of the day.
The concern over machines taking people’s jobs will only intensify. With the advances made in big data technologies and debates over tools like Cassandra vs. Hadoop, more jobs will likely become automated. That’s doesn’t mean people should be consumed by fear, though. In most instances, technology opens up new job opportunities and creates new jobs in ways people didn’t realize before.
What you you think about this list? Is it accurate? What other jobs do you think machines could take over? Let us know in the comments.