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What jobs will be replaced by robots in the coming years?


The plots of the Black Mirror series are increasingly familiar to us, especially in relation to robotics and its involvement in our society. Now, a team of scientists from the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne , Switzerland, has revealed which jobs are most and least likely to be filled by robots in the future.

A profound transformation of the entire economic and productive system is taking place, raising questions about the nature of the jobs that will disappear.

“The key challenge for today’s society is how to become resistant to automation,” explains Rafael Lalive, co-author of the paper published in the journal Science Robotics. “Our work provides detailed career advice for workers facing high risks from automation , enabling them to take on safer jobs while reusing many of the skills learned from previous work.”

The researchers developed a tool that reveals the risk of automation of different jobs and how we could reuse our skills.

“There are already different studies that predict the number of jobs that will be robotized in the near future, but they all focus on software robots, such as voice and image recognition, financial advisor robots, dialoguers, etc. Furthermore, these predictions vary greatly depending on the job role, requirements, and software capabilities. Our study considers not only artificial intelligence software, but also actual intelligent robots that perform physical work . We developed a method that systematically compares the human and robotic capabilities required in hundreds of jobs”, clarifies the expert.

To assess the Automation Risk Index (ARI) of each job, the researchers referred to the Occupation Information Network (O*NET), a US market database of 967 job profiles . For each job, O*NET provides a profile made up of a list of required skills, abilities, and knowledge. The researchers selected 87 human capacities and studied the robotic capacities of robots and Artificial Intelligence, in view of their possible current functions or those that they will be able to perform in the near future. This led to a ranking of jobs most likely to be replaced by a robot and those least likely:

Overall, the study finds that physicists are the least likely to be replaced by a robot, while people who work in slaughterhouses are at the highest risk. All those tasks related to the food industry, building and maintenance, construction and mining seem to be the most exposed to robotization.


The jobs most at risk of disappearing

  1. Slaughterhouses and Meat Packers
  2. Presses, Textiles, Garments and Related Materials
  3. Sorting and Sorting Machines, Agricultural Products
  4. Janitors and cleaners, except maids and house cleaners
  5. nurses
  6. Packaging
  7. Dining room and cafeteria assistants and waiters
  8. food preparation workers
  9. Housemaids and cleaning workers
  10. Vehicle and Equipment Cleaners


The jobs that are least at risk of disappearing

  1. physical
  2. Neurologists
  3. Preventive Medicine Physicians
  4. Neuropsychologists and Clinical Neuropsychologists
  5. Pathologists
  6. mathematicians
  7. chief executives
  8. surgeons
  9. Molecular and Cellular Biologists
  10. epidemiologists


Thus, calculations show that jobs that require millimeter-level precision movements are most likely to be performed by robots, which can replicate these movements, and cleaners and builders, for example, face the greatest risk of being replaced by robots. machines . Teachers, lawyers or physicists would be safe.

The method could be used by governments to measure how many workers might face the risk of automation and adjust training policies, both for companies, to assess the costs of increased automation, and for robotics manufacturers, to better tailor their products. to the needs of the market; and for the public, to identify the easiest route to relocate in the labor market.

Referencia: Antonio Paolillo, Fabrizio Colella, Nicola Nosengo, Fabrizio Schiano, William Stewart, Davide Zambrano, Isabelle Chappuis, Rafael Lalive, Dario Floreano. How to compete with robots by assessing job automation risks and resilient alternatives. Science Robotics, 2022; 7 (65) DOI: 10.1126/scirobotics.abg5561

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