A truck driver has a 79% chance of being automated out of a job. That’s according to the nifty website “Will Robots Take my Job.”
AI researchers and academic studies alike conclude that the rise of artificial intelligence will have a great impact on society and especially on the prevalence of certain jobs in fields such as transportation, logistics, and customer service.
If you work in one of those areas, then you may be wondering when the robots are coming for your job. One study from Oxford University suggests that half of all jobs are “at [high] risk of computerization” within a decade or two.
Self-driving cars are already making headlines as companies like Uber and Waymo get closer and closer to the Holy Grail. Truly driverless cars will have a massive impact on the transportation industry. In one fell swoop, the economy could shake off 5 million jobs, all the people who make their money driving taxies, buses or trucks. For context, the economy typically adds around 150,000 – 200,000 jobs in a good month and the total labor force is around 160 million.
It won’t stop there, as artificial intelligence is likely to make its presence felt in other industries. Automation, not even full-blown AI, is already making the average employee more productive, thereby reducing the need for more workers. Surgeons can be replaced by robots with a level of dexterity that far outstrips any human doctor. As researchers solve the artificial-intelligence cognition problem, artificial intelligence software can easily replace administrative assistants. Further advances in automation will allow one employee to exert an even larger sphere of influence. What that all adds up to is a smaller workforce over time.
What jobs will be left?
At the outset, jobs requiring technical skills are probably going to be safe. With the proliferation of AI will come a need for people who can create, maintain, and troubleshoot these software solutions. Expect programming jobs and other highly technical fields to stay put for a while longer.
Jobs that don’t require a lot of technical expertise, nor creative output are definitely at risk. Artificial intelligence may kill 90% of jobs over the next 100 years, but in the near future, it’s unlikely that we will come close to that number. Estimates tell us that by 2021, robots will eliminate around 6% of jobs in the US.
Another job that may not leave us is the entrepreneur. As automation and AI take hold, it causes money to concentrate in the hands of the people who leverage these solutions. A customer service representative job may go away, but the entrepreneur who controls these assets will always be safe. We may see a shift towards doing a job to starting a business.