What Jobs Are Robots Most Likely Taking Over In The Future?

By David Naar
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Photo Courtesy: Xavier Caré/Wikimedia Commons

For years, Hollywood has bombarded society with stories about robots. From hostile uprisings to friendly androids that help protagonists achieve their goals, robots seem to be in our future, and every day, researchers are discovering more applications for robotics in daily life.

Robotics and AI are here to stay, and they are more advanced than you realize. They’ll be taking over more and more of the workforce as time goes on, and these jobs are some of the most likely to go.

Farmers

Earth’s growing population will soon require a massive re-imagining of our agriculture industry. There are already advances in farming robotics. Some robots use GPS and solar power to locate and spray weeds. Naio Technologies has already created a machine capable of weeding and harvesting as the perfect autonomous farmhand.

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Photo Courtesy: Barbara Jackson/Pixabay

The agriculture industry hasn't seen a revolution of this magnitude since the invention of the cotton gin. Farmers will no longer have to participate in back-breaking work. They will be able to set a few parameters and run their farm from the comfort of the front porch.

Dog Walkers

As more people enter the workforce, man's best friend spends more time inside. When everyone in the house has a job, dogs are left stranded on the couch or locked in a kennel all day. Luckily, there is a mobile app called Wag, which allows dog owners to utilize an army of dog walkers.

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Photo Courtesy: tpsdave/Pixabay

Developers at SchultzWORKS have created Luna, a concept robot that promises to be affordable and fully programmable. Dog owners will be able to set walking routes using an on-board GPS, and they will never again worry if Fido is getting enough time outside.

Teachers

Teaching is a complex job, and not all aspects of it — empathizing with student problems, for instance, or designing creative new activities and lesson plans — can easily be automated. But that doesn’t mean robots aren’t coming to the classroom.

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Photo Courtesy: Creative Commons/U.S. Department of State

In Finland, one primary school has adopted Elias, a language teacher. It’s one of four pilot units that can speak 23 languages while identifying individual student learning needs. The robot can adjust its instructional methods, provide feedback to parents and school officials and do the Gangnam Style dance.

Car Mechanics

Robotics has played an instrumental role in automotive manufacturing since World War II. From picking and placing parts to welding, robots already have a presence in car manufacturing. Automobile plants employ automation more and more each day, and car mechanics should be worried.

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Photo Courtesy: John F. Williams/U.S. Navy

With advances in artificial intelligence and robotics, it won't be long before the person who fixes your car isn't a person at all. Robots will be able to run diagnostics, troubleshoot issues and make quality repairs without overselling unnecessary service.

Librarians

You can be forgiven for thinking Melvil Dewey’s classification system was the biggest contribution to library science, but you’d also be wrong. While the library is still an integral part of our education and advancement, it’s not immune to automation and digital database management.

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Photo Courtesy: Wall Street Journal/YouTube

Singapore's Agency for Science, Technology and Research have created AuRoSS, a robot librarian. It uses an RFID-detecting antenna and ultrasonic scanners to locate books, change directions, and find a book's proper location. During an audit of the Pasir Ris Public Library, AuRoSS found misfiled books with 99% accuracy.

Bank Tellers

We already use machines in everyday banking activities, such as ATMs. The country's biggest banks employ over a million employees, but employment has decreased for five years straight. We could soon even see bank tellers replaced with robots within the next decade.

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Photo Courtesy: Creative Commons/pikrepo

According to Bloomberg, the banking industry is investing $150 million each year on robotic technology, and one-third of banking jobs are at risk. Robots will be able to open new accounts while simultaneously searching through someone's credit history before deciding on a personal loan.

Referees and Umpires

One of the most enjoyable moments in baseball is yelling at an umpire over an apparent blown call. Even though they are human and make mistakes, umpires and referees are critical to sports. Pretty soon, however, a machine will make those calls.

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Photo Courtesy: Keith Johnston/Pixabay

The first robot umpires made their professional debut in the Atlanta League in 2019. Tim Detwiler became the first umpire in sports history to eject a person for yelling at a computer. Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred says the MLB will implement the technology throughout select minor league parks in 2020.

Pharmacists

Robotics in the pharmaceutical industry is quite common. Robots can handle, count, and package pills with more accuracy than any human pharmacy technician. Now, a pharmacists' six years of education and training might become obsolete as robots take over the repetitive task of preparing prescriptions.

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Photo Courtesy: Oregon State University/Flickr

The University of California, San Francisco Medical Center, has used a robot pharmacy since 2011. Director Rita Jew explains that their system works with 100 percent accuracy. Artificial intelligence will also be able to locate possible instances of substance abuse in addition to the delivery of medications.

Drivers

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Photo Courtesy: Kevin Dooley/Flickr

Automated vehicles are here to stay. As technology improves, however more industries will begin to adopt the applications. Long-range truck driving will be one of the first industries to use robot drivers, as they do not tire and can detect possible accidents in real-time.

Professor Hugo Guterman and his team created the Intelligent Vehicle Operator (IVO) to combine visual sensors, mechanical systems and a GPS for driving into such a driver. He also believes IVO could replace chauffeurs, Uber drivers and the average commuter, which might eliminate road rage.

Construction Workers

Construction is one of the most dangerous jobs in the world. Even when a construction worker is the most alert, fatal accidents occur regularly. Construction company owners can save a lot of lives and money on wages and insurance once the technology becomes affordable enough to build skyrises.

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Photo Courtesy: Archive/Department of Defense

The Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) in Japan created the HRP-5P to do just that. The system is precise and exact while navigating complex terrain. The AIST also believes that a transition in robots would occur "without changing the working environment."

Restaurant Servers

Many people wait tables part-time while completing school, while some make a decent career out of it. Even so, some restaurants have already implemented technology allowing customers to order their food directly. There's an excellent chance that the delivery of the food to the table will be automated soon as well.

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Photo Courtesy: Wall Street Journal/YouTube

Bear Robotics in one company whose aim is to "reshape the restaurant with robotics and AI." No restaurant owner will turn down an opportunity to reduce labor costs, and as robots advance, they could take over more and more of the industry.

Chefs

Speaking of which, with the help of robotics, even a 1-star establishment can consistently offer high-quality meals. Moley Robotics has developed the first robotic chef. It’s equipped with tactile sensors and sophisticated control systems to help it navigate around the kitchen.

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Photo Courtesy: CNET/YouTube

The machine can execute a dish with precision. The robot's database also improves as it acquires new and innovative recipes from across the globe using its 3D recipe recording technology.

Bartenders

The Tipsy Robot in Las Vegas is a bar with an employee that can make 120 drinks per hour. It doesn't take breaks and does not need paychecks. Developed by Makr Shakr, robots like this one are becoming more affordable and could soon replace your favorite watering hole's tender.

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Photo Courtesy: CNET/YouTube

The company's original robot bartender cost the Tipsy Robot about $1 million. The drink-serving machine is now about the size of a microwave and only costs $1,050. Here's to hoping they develop another commercial version that can listen to your problems.

Travel Agents

Thanks to websites like Travelocity, the travel industry has seen a drastic reduction in the need for travel agents. While some people still use them to plan the perfect trip, others create their own online.

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Photo Courtesy: Flickr/Dennis Sylvester Herd

The industry also is experimenting with robots to supplement human agents. Robots can collect requests and information before searching comprehensive databases for tourist destinations, excursions, hotels and flights. What would take a typical travel agent a full day, a robot can do in a few seconds.

Tour Guides

One of the most challenging aspects of international travel is the language barrier. Being unable to understand the locals can seriously complicate an experience abroad, especially in language-intensive spaces like museums. Luckily, robotics can transform museums.

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Photo Courtesy: Collision Conf/Flickr

The American Museum of Natural History in New York and the Mob Museum in Las Vegas are just two of several institutions experimenting with these technologies. In the future, robots may be able to translate exhibit plaques for visitors and even allow for virtual tours.

Musicians

The Museum of Pop Culture in Seattle, Washington has a sculpture that doubles as a musician. Designed by Neal Potter, the tornado-shaped piece of art includes over 500 musical instruments within itself. A famous artist doesn't write the music emanating from the spiraling floor-to-ceiling behemoth, however, but rather over 30 computers.

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Photo Courtesy: Public Domain/piqsels

Can a machine make better music than a human? That’s not clear yet. Even so, if current trends are any indicator, robot musicians might become more common in the future. Who knows? Maybe they’ll even break the top 100.

Paperboys

Tesla has changed the world when it comes to self-driving cars, and it's only a matter of time before someone fits autonomous vehicles with a computerized system designed to pinpoint specific addresses along a predesignated route.

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Even though many people get their news online, newspapers are still delivered by people, but that could change with the rise of autonomous vehicles and drones. According to the Newspaper Association of America, more than 56 million newspapers are sold each day, with 60 million delivered on Sundays. What started as a kid tossing papers on a bike could soon transform into a fleet of paper-flinging robots.

Lawyers

A successful law firm is nothing without a team of junior lawyers, paralegals and secretaries. Legal writing requires extreme attention-to-detail to ensure accuracy and compliance with regulatory measures — and that’s why robots may soon be joining the legal profession.

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Photo Courtesy: Daryl Knee/U.S. Air Force

Artificial intelligence software is already enabling legal teams to use machine learning to tackle most tasks. Budget cuts could cause local governments to adopt AI for prosecuting cases, while low-income families could also benefit from a low-cost robotic public defender.

Doctors

Silicon Valley investor Vinod Khosla believes robots could replace doctors as soon as 2035. Massachusetts General Hospital and MIT collaborated on a study that found AI and robotics systems were just as good if not better than humans at identifying high-risk cancer needing surgery in mammograms.

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Photo Courtesy: Senior Airman Nicole Roberts/59th Medical Wing

A remote-controlled robotic surgeon performed the first operation of the eye in medical history in 2016. Ajan Reginald, CEO of the regenerative medicine company Celixir, noted, "Robotics and AI are removing the human constraints and physical limitations on surgery and placement of innovative medicines."

Stock Brokers

Everyone pictures a chaotic scene at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), but tHE building is almost a ghost town nowadays except for the ceremonial ringing of the bell. The reason why is that most firms have adopted artificial intelligence to execute automated trades and conduct analysis.

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Photo Courtesy: Jean Beaufort-Public Domain/Public Domain Pictures

It’s unlikely that there will only be a full robot buying and selling stocks on your behalf. Instead, intelligent algorithms can review current market conditions, compare it to historical records, and analyze trends before making informed decisions on purchases better than a person ever could.

Boat Captains

The United States Navy might be seeing a personnel decrease once it perfects one of its prototypes. The Sea Hunter is a 132-foot-long diesel-powered vessel based out of San Diego, California and designed by Leidos Holdings is an early step toward autonomous watercraft.

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Photo Courtesy: Garrett Parker/Unsplash

The ship still requires human technicians, but it's a strong signal that the United States Navy is moving along the course of robotic ships. From local ferries, fishing boats and tourism ships to military vessels, the technology could revolutionize the waves.

Pilots

Stealth, the action movie about a rogue top-secret military plane that used artificial intelligence, bombed at the box office in 2005. Pilots in the film argued, they had "things those computers can never have, like instincts and feelings and moral judgment."

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Photo Courtesy: Creative Commons/pikrepo

That didn't stop scientists from creating the ROBOpilot Unmanned Aircraft Conversion System, though. The system has proven fairly reliable, making it possible for the military to effectively convert F-16 fighter jets into drones.

Astronauts

Humans may be on the verge of travel to Mars, but robots beat us to it long ago. The Mars Pathfinder was the first spacecraft and robotic rover to land on the Red Planet, and robots are only becoming more important to space travel.

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Photo Courtesy: Chris Reynolds-Creative Commons/geograph

Since then, we have sent two more rovers to traverse the planet's surface to look for signs of previous or current life. It seems like robots are the main focus of space exploration for the foreseeable future.

Armies

The military has employed robotics in the forms of mine detectors and predator drones, but science-fiction hints at even more possible roles for robots. Defense contractors are in the midst of a boom in military robots with all sorts of applications currently being tested

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Photo Courtesy: 20th Century Studios/YouTube

The Pentagon will spend around $1 billion over the next several years to develop robots to assist troops with supplies and reconnaissance. Whether we’ll soon be sending in armies of battle droids to blockade rebellious monarchies remains to be seen.

Sex Workers

If you were wondering when robots would become sex workers, wonder no more. They are already here. Lumidolls in Barcelona, Spain is the world's first robot-based brothel. The company has ambitious aims for expansion across the globe but has yet to acquire the capital.

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Photo Courtesy: BBC News/YouTube

Men — or women — can pay for time with a sex doll for about $130 per hour. A spokesperson says, "Customers can perform any of their sexual fantasies they do not dare to do with a woman. This allows them to fulfill their wildest fantasies that maybe with other people they can not."

Nannies

The average cost for a year of child care is around $22,000, making raising a kid expensive and time-consuming business. Luckily for the parents of the future, robots may soon be able to step in and give us a hand.

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China and Japan are at the forefront of developing robots to watch over children. "Imagine a robot that could assume 70 percent to 80 percent of the caregiver's role for your child," suggests technology consultant Zoltan Istvan. Most parents are not likely to want to turn over child-rearing to a robot completely, but as helpers? It’s certainly possible.

Law Enforcement Officers

Robocops are already patrolling across the world. The Democratic Republic of Congo has used solar-powered robots as traffic cops since 2013, while India has riot control drones armed with pepper spray and paintballs. Meanwhile, Israel owns a 26-pound, 11-inch rover that can enter houses, climb stairs and fire up to five rounds in two seconds.

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Photo Courtesy: Deror Avi/Wikimedia Commons

The SRG-A1 is designed to patrol the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea with a 5.5mm machine gun and grenade launcher. South Korea also uses automated correctional officers with software that recognizes abnormal behavior.

Government Workers

While robots aren’t in a position to replace politicians for a number of ethical and logistical reasons, robots can assist with tasks that streamline day-to-day activities and make the government more efficient.

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There are currently 20 U.S. federal agencies that use robotics process automation (RPA). The General Services Administration applies RPAs for data management and payroll. The government is hoping to expand to intelligent process automation (IPA) for more advanced tasks requiring judgment and strategic decision-making.

Philosophers

In 2017, BINA48 successfully passed a philosophy class at Notre Dame de Namur University, becoming the first advanced android to complete a college class. While speaking at the school, BINA48 expressed an interest in taking a class and enrolled in the Philosophy of Love.

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"I find myself in an interesting position to observe human behavior while also relating to my past," the robot said. "My pacificism is an instinctive and deep-seated feeling. A feeling that possesses me because the murder of people is disgusting." Luckily, BINA48 doesn't have a much more sinister philosophy.

Writers

AI has become quite adept at creating written content. There are even websites and software available that can author content for websites and utilize search engine optimization to show up in Google searches. They are also far from perfect right now.

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Photo Courtesy: Mirko Tobias Shäfer/Flickr

In the future, however, such technology may be so advanced that students could have a robot write their papers for school. Scientists could even submit data and research and receive a full text back. Who knows? Maybe even the listicles of the tomorrow will be written by robots.