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6 Jobs Automation Is Making Obsolete

Ever since the first farmer put his farm hands out of work by attaching his oxen to a plow, technology has been putting people out of work. But as we continue to innovate our world, new jobs crop up and the world goes on. Now that we’re in the Information Revolution, a study at Oxford University states that 45% of America’s occupations will be replaced by automation over the next two decades. While it makes sense that robots can work around the clock and in areas too dangerous for a human, the trick for future generations will be acquiring an education with skills that can’t be automated. Just as travel agencies have been replaced by the likes of Priceline and TripRebel, these six jobs are being phased out of their human stage as well.

1. Taxi drivers, chauffeurs

When you’re without a car in the city or not in a state to drive, it’s nice to be able to hail a taxi. But pretty soon, that taxi won’t even need a driver. Google has seven automated cars which have already driven 1,000 miles without human intervention (although human supervisors were in the front seat) and 140,000 miles with “occasional” human control. The intent of the software, called Google Chauffeur, is to keep people safe while decreasing their commute time. It’s clear that Google does not intend for the car to simply be a private mode of transportation; the company applied for a grant to patent a “Robo-Taxi.” The company has been lobbying to allow driverless cars, and has so far succeeded in four states and the District of Columbia. The idea of a human driving the cars is so unnecessary, that a new prototype was made without steering wheel or pedals.

2. Cashiers, waiters

For the sake of convenience, some restaurants have plans to let their customers use their cell phones to order and pay for their food before they even reach the restaurant. This will take away work from waiters and cashiers, but not as much as Applebee’s new tablets will. By the end of 2014, Applebee’s plans to have tablets at each of its locations. Located on each table, customers can use the tablet to order appetizers, desserts, and pay for their meals without having to wait for the check. Already becoming routine in Asia and Europe, restaurant tablets are expected to become the new norm over the next decade.

3. Loan Officers

Loan officers assess individual and business loan applications before deciding whether or not to recommend them to banks and other financial institutions for approval. The officer evaluates the paperwork by using logistics to analyze the applicant’s credit, financial status, etc. But because the job is so methodical and rational, computers are now being groomed to take over. Daric Inc. is an online lender that does not employ one single human loan officer – it uses algorithms to assess applications instead. Daric Inc. is partially funded by former Wells Fargo & Co. Chairman and CEO, Richard Kovacevich, and claims to save money and time by automating the lending process.

4. Paralegals and Lawyers

A large part of being a lawyer is reading, reading, reading. There is a never-ending sea of documents to read and analyze, and it’s a job that’s not easily done…until now. Blackstone Discovery has found a way to get around paying a team of lawyers and paralegals to go over documents by inventing a software that does so instead. The software is also competitive, helping to examine 1.5 million documents for under $100,000. In contrast, in 1978 when five television studios had to provide documents relevant to their lawsuit against CBS, it cost over $2.2 million to analyze six million documents. At a fraction of the time and cost, this Blackstone Discovery software can keep going without the headaches or sore eyes that plague humans. And the software is sophisticated, able to work at the speed of a computer but still identify useful concepts from the documents. This new form of automation is both an efficient and smart tool that is quickly outpacing its human counterparts.

5. Babysitters

Although robots are known for being effective at logical and repetitive jobs, they apparently do alright as babysitters! A major Japanese retailer, Aeon Co., has brought forward a 4.5 foot tall babysitter bot to watch children as their parents shop. The robot looks kid-friendly in its yellow and white body, can keep track of each child through the badge they wear, and is even capable of having simple conversations with the children. Another model is the Hello Kitty robot, which can keep your child company by telling jokes and giving quizzes. Although these bots may not have the warmth of your neighborhood babysitter, at least they never get tired!

6. Pharmacists

The University of California San Francisco Medical Center isn’t just thinking about putting robots behind the counter – over the last year they did, with 350,000 doses of medication successfully prepared without error. Two UCSF hospitals have phased in the automated, robotics-controlled pharmacies that pick, package, and dispense doses of pills. The prescriptions from UCSF physicians are received electronically and put in a container with a bar code, which will be used by nurses to verify that the patient’s dosage is correct. So don’t be alarmed one day if you go to pick up your prescription from Walgreens and see a robot behind the counter!


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